I was driving home today and this tune came up on shuffle, and I thought it might be a cool topic of discussion. This, imo, is one of the single best melodies ever written in all of music. I watched an MJ bio where he talks about it and he just mouths the drum/bassline, and even listening to him explain it, it sounded fucking awesome. Say what you will about MJ's personal life, the dude could write some seriously awesome, awesome melodies.
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi_XLOBDo_Y]YouTube - Michael Jackson - Billie Jean[/VIDEO]
I started thinking, and actually had a tough time coming up with other songs like this - immediately recognizable, great melodies that make a song and at the same time aren't just memorable because they're repetitive or obnoxious. (An example of the latter would be We Will Rock You".
However, since we're on the topic of Queen now, I give you (imo) another one of the most brilliant musical lines. Everyone may have heard it a million times, but it doesn't make it any less great:
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY0WxgSXdEE]YouTube - Queen - 'Another One Bites the Dust'[/VIDEO]
Another great meody, again from the pop side of things, would be this:
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucZRore0-EE]YouTube - Prince - When Doves Cry[/VIDEO]
I tried to think of some metal/harder rock songs that have the same vibe, and honestly had a hard time coming up with anything. In the "rock" category, there is, of course, this:
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sio3ZWMeQIM]YouTube - Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall[/VIDEO]
Which begs the question - in this age of music, with all of the great gear, recordings, multimillion dollar producations and teams of paid songwriters - where are the songs like these? For example, Pull Me Under is a fantastic song, but over time, you have to admit it pales in comparison to something like Billie Jean. EVERYONE likes that melody, regardless if you're a metalhead or a country western fan. That's because it is awesome, beyond awesome - it's just brilliant.
Heavy metal gave us this, of course:
In the modern rock era, the only thing that comes to mind (despite being incredibly sick of it to this day) would be Enter Sandman. Or, going back a bit before the modern bits again, this - perhaps one of the last really outstanding melodies in music?
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVVP-EzXddg]YouTube - Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers[/VIDEO]
A great melody is instantly recognizable and conjures memories. It's also generally simple. "Paint it Black" requires that you only hum out a few notes and everybody in the room goes FUCK YEAH.
There are some modern examples, but great melody writing is either something of a lost art or is just out of fashion. Rap music and its related genres is largely devoid of melodies (usually just keyboard parts), and that's unfortunately what a LOT of the yutes today are into. There's also screamo metal bullshit dominating the metal scene, which at best has guitar melodies. These generally don't qualify.
Pop music will always be the genre most rife with awesome melodies. Part of the recognition factor does ultimately have to do with popularity, so even a great melody, if not heard, will never be legendary.
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cQh1ccqu8M]YouTube - Nickelback - How You Remind Me (Video)[/VIDEO]
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIzDsGyxsQM]YouTube - Stone Sour - Through Glass[/VIDEO]
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP5PqJpk5lQ&feature=channel]YouTube - Slipknot - Dead Memories[/VIDEO]
Not nearly as popular:
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SSUQxGjZZ4&feature=related]YouTube - Godsmack - Voodoo[/VIDEO]
[VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkhfL0pnMPQ]YouTube - Disturbed - Down With The Sickness (Video) (Explicit)[/VIDEO]
These all contain some great and catchy melodies, but the first one will be remembered, repeated and ripped off for a long time to come. The others, not as much.