Saint Sava (saint_sava) wrote,
Saint Sava

  • Music:

Perfect notes.

See, crossvector and I both enjoy discussing and trading what we call perfect notes -- well-bookmarked, fleeting moments that stand out in our musical experiences and CD libraries where an inspired instrumental elocution, once heard, changes our lives irrevocably. (Readers at home should know, in the spirit of full disclosure, that crossvector is also a highly talented producer, as well as consumer, of such notes. I inform you of this because I fear that he will not.)

Our name is somewhat of a misnomer, as what we call perfect notes include short, inspired patterns of notes, unexpected or altered patterns of beats, percussion, unclassifiable sounds, and even the absence of a note or voice that a lesser artist would have retained. Even the best-architected songs, in their absence, eventually become common and drained of their original emotional and spiritual impact, but a single perfect note can sustain in perpetuity the power, vitality, and depth of the song that possesses it. As an example, I believe that we would agree that there is one nestled in the chorus in Murray Head's "One night in Bangkok" but it took a considerable amount of trouble and technology for him to actually locate it. One of my favorites is a passage in Peter Gabriel's "Love to be loved" where you only realize after the fact that there's been a key change: like staring at the Pleiades, you can only see them if you don't look directly into them.

So I was delighted to read retroCRUSH's most agreeable 50 Coolest Song Parts. While it focuses a little more on lyrics, riffs, solos, and sustained efforts than the spontaneity and ephemerality that is generally implied by perfect notes, I find that it's a very well-researched compilation and wide enough to include Johnny Cash, the Sex Pistols, and the B-52s. You'll learn something you might not have known about the fretless bass solo in Paul Simon's "You can call me Al" (at, alas, merely #36), Joe Strummer's hopelessly bludgeoned Spanish (#20), and, yes, everybody's favorite Johnny Cash lyric (#5).

Share and enjoy.

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