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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.


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:


Another great meody, again from the pop side of things, would be this:


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:


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?


Discuss!
 

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NSLALP
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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.

Pretty popular:

Less popular:


Not nearly as popular:


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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would you put any of those on par, or even close, to Billie Jean?

I'm not talking about what's popular, people will remember Hit Me Baby One More Time too. :lol: MJ's melodies would be amazing even if nobody had ever heard of him.
 

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Bro of Bros, Bro.
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I think what's happened is that things have become so technical and digital, that melodies have lost one of their most important qualities: the human touch.

There's a certain feel you get from musicians that just really have a good sense of beat and groove about them, and they can exaggerate the feel of a note or two to give it a little more depth than if it were just a rudimentary perfect pitch perfectly timed note.
 

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NSLALP
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Would you put any of those on par, or even close, to Billie Jean?

I'm not talking about what's popular, people will remember Hit Me Baby One More Time too. :lol: MJ's melodies would be amazing even if nobody had ever heard of him.
I don't think a melody out of context is amazing. MJ's records were also shockingly well-produced, and the entire band package was just perfect. Puts Britney Spears and Lady Gaga to shame.

I think Through Glass is a phenomenal melody that could be dumped into songs of nearly any genre, and that would probably catch the attention of just about any casual listener. I think if MJ had written that melody into a ballad (with his own vocal style) it would have been a hit. However, Stone Sour is never going to sell 100 million albums, meaning the recognition isn't there.

If you're wondering where the awesome melodies in hard rock are, Corey Taylor's probably one of the leading smiths, but then again I don't think it's a genre that was ever as melody-dependent as pop. Rock was always about rhythm and groove.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Agreed on the latter. And I do like Stone Sour, but that song is nothing special (imo, of course) in the big scheme of things. In that same vein, the title track off of Paradise Lost is a hundred times better.
 

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Very interesting thread.

I think MJ is just in a league of his own. It's hard finding something to compare him with since he's all alone up there, melody-wise. I don't think no one has been / will be as much on "the top of the world" as he was during the Thriller years.

All of the others I thought of, Chris posted them in his first post.
 

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Dont you love balls?
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Cool, discussion. I've actually been thinking about this the past couple weeks.

I was listening to Frank Zappa, and realized how many awesome, catchy melodies he created. It really made to start to analyze the melody of music more then I had before. Especially because it seems good, creative melodies are missing from modern music.

The particular song was Son of Mr. Green Genes. The song is just a mine of melody!

 

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Dream Crusher
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Boston. Not as "universal" as a lot of the MJ tracks you'll get these days, but damn does Scholz know how to write a melodic riff!



Journey?


Not much today in the way of melodies that people who like all kinds of music seem to really dig. I think the closest I've heard recently would be this, as I hear it in everything from dance clubs to karaoke bars to indie coffehouses:

 
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