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Posts Tagged ‘songs’

This is the third post in a series wherein examples of perfect pop songs are posted for your appreciation and enjoyment. Some of them are classics, some of them obscure, all of them perfectly awesome.

#3: Breakin’ Up
by Rilo Kiley

Forget all those sappy sad songs about heartbreak and pain; sometimes breaking up feels good. REALLY good. Be they significant others, toxic friends, evil coworkers, or inanimate objects, the act of separating yourself from someone can actually feel quite liberating. Like, an awesome sing-songy let-freedom-ring kind of orgasmic liberation. Rilo Kiley nails this oft forgotten fact:

Next time you quit a job, play this song with the windows down at top volume as you drive off the lot. You’ll never feel better.

Perfect pop songs are effing awesome.


This is the first post in a series wherein examples of perfect pop songs are posted for your appreciation and enjoyment. Some of them are classics, some of them obscure, all of them perfectly awesome.

#1: The Fall of the World’s Own Optimist
by Aimee Mann

Two of the greatest pop songwriters of all time, Aimee Mann and Elvis Costello, joined forces to create of the most satisfying pop songs of all time.

Supporting evidence of its perfection:
1. The hookiest extended chorus you’ve ever heard
2. The clever lyrical rhyming:
cause the eggshells I’ve been treading,
couldn’t spare me a beheading,
and I’ll know I had it coming,
from a Caesar who was only slumming

3. Its non-specific theme which could apply to anyone
4. Its efficient length

Now it’s time to decide for yourself:

Ain’t nothing more satisfying than a perfect pop song. Perfect pop songs are effing awesome.


There are only so many musical notes in the diatonic scale. You’d think at some point people would run out of ways to arrange them. How many variations are even possible? Especially when you boil the melody down to a single guitar riff that might only last around eight seconds. So you got around twelve notes to play in eight seconds… now give your fans something they haven’t heard before.

Sounds like a daunting task, and yet Jack White of The White Stripes seems to be able to do it twelve times an album.

All it takes is some scientific curiosity and a little google-fu to find a mathematical answer to the question: Will we ever run out of melodies? Will Jack White ever run out of riffs?

…we can estimate the number of all possible “melodies” that can be played within a given time frame. Known limitations of human hearing can provide an estimate on this number. Humans can distinguish about 200 notes per octave and are able to distinguish about 50 notes per second. Within the frequency range humans can hear, the number of all possible “melodies” we can play during one second is about 7 x 10^100, a seven followed by 100 zeros… this number is grossly overestimated… [because] the constraints musical structures put on the sound space are very tight.

It’s doubtful that most people could actually distinguish 200 notes per octave, and 50 notes per second seems rather ambitious, but at least we have an upper-end estimate to work with:

Jack White should be able to think up 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
guitar riffs before repeating himself.

But there ain’t nothing like the awesome simplicity of a good guitar riff, and a simple riff can almost seem more awesome than a complicated one, which begs the question: how many simple riffs could possibly exist? We know they aren’t all used up yet, but that math is too hard, so we’ll just sit back and assume that there are many more good riffs where those came from.

Jack White’s guitar riffs are effing awesome.


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