The Product Is a Result of the Goal

I heard some country song a few weeks ago that revolved around riding on a tractor.

I don’t have anything against country music, other than the fact I generally find it to be extremely boring. When I originally heard the song, my knowledge of pop music lead me to believe that this was all some big metaphor for sex. But the more I listen to the song, I actually think he’s literally attempting to woo some woman take go for a ride with him… on his tractor.

I tried to figure out why I found this song so ridiculous, and how it differs from the music I like:

One of my favorite albums is called Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory from a band called Dream Theater. While most albums are just a collection of independent songs lumped together, Scenes From A Memory tells a story over its 77-minutes. Dream Theater certainly isn’t the first band to do such a thing—Pink Floyd’s The Wall is a very well-known concept album—but Scenes From A Memory is better than most.

It tells the story of a man who keeps having dreams of a girl; he learns that the girl was actually him in a past life. Through the assistance of his hypnotherapist, he learns not only that she died, but the how and the why and that the truth never got out. There is love, betrayal, some drug use. All this is intertwined with lots of complex music and told via multiple narrators. Different people and themes have their own melodies that are repeated. There’s an overture that introduces a lot. Not to mention a surprise ending.

Somebody gets cheated on too, but to my knowledge there was no farm equipment involved at any point.

Now, I understand that the authors of each of these two musical pieces had different goals when they sat down to write (at least I hope they did). Music, like life, can’t be serious all the time.

That being said, one is entertaining, makes the listener contemplate numerous aspects of life, love, family, relationships, mortality, and has a lasting effect, while the other is kind of a catchy tune to sing along to for a minute or so. Hopefully the next time you sit down to create something you shoot for the former.

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