It can’t get more subjective than this. Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin is NOT a perfect song. It’s too long. Its lyrics are bonkers and sort of contradictory. It’s self indulgent… but it does rock out at the end.
Don Henley’s Boys of Summer has been called a perfect song by others, and I can’t find fault with that.
I find Poe’s Haunted to be a perfect song that sends chills down my spine at the climax every single time. What more of a litmus test can there be?
A perfect song is introspective and revelatory. Sly and coded, the subject is human vulnerability.
Similarly, Patty Griffith’s Little God blows my little mind. This is about content, about structure, about range and about purpose. These songs stand as works of art beyond the boundaries of fleeting pop culture.
I wrote about Bowie’s final masterpiece Lazarus.
Bowie was, of course, a master songwriter who touched the entire planet.
Freddy Mercury was too, and put them together and lets’ hope that future generations don’t relate to the greatest song about inequality and homelessness ever written by way of fucking Coca Cola ads…
Speaking of the vicissitudes of pressure:
Perhaps it’s my own personal fantasy about beautiful singers like Tina Dico, but Euphoria’s Blue makes the list, as does Zero Seven’s Home.
To stay honest, I’d have to mention several from Thievery Corporation, starting with Lebanese Blonde.
And Alison Goldfrapp would need several spots, if we’re talking original songwriting. Several of her songs work wonders tunneling through tcorners of the mind.
Sarah McLachlin would score several too.
Peter Gabriel would snatch half a dozen spots.
As would Massive Attack.
I feel I’ve only just begun the counterattack. With the barrage of vapid dance/pop/hip hop/corporate metal idiocy pumped at me at my local gym these days, the above list may just be enough to save a few souls.