Two Scheids to the Story: “Good Music”


Eddie Scheidler

“Two Scheids to the Story” is a column co-written by siblings Eddie and Grace Scheidler. As siblings often do, these siblings have different perspectives and opinions regarding issues and ideas prevalent in high school.

“Good Music”

Two Scheids to the Story: "Good" MusicEddie Scheidler, junior. 

Some may say alternative. Others may argue the classics. Many, for some odd reason, will even bring country into discussion. So, whether you’re a big R&B fan or just simply love to vibe out to throwback songs of decades past, there is no specific genre that sticks out above the rest and can be determined “better” than the others. It’s just not how music works. However, though designating one style of music above another is seemly impossible, labeling a genre–or an individual song by itself–as “good music” is a valid subject that can be put up for debate. The way I see it, music can be considered “good” through one straightforward yet eye-opening lens.

Before I begin, I am far from a credible source when it comes to music. I couldn’t tell you what each of the individual notes are or the various rhythmic schemes incorporated into making of a song. To be completely honest with you, playing the recorder–or at least trying to produce what resembled a song with my glorified whistle of an instrument in the 7th grade–is the extent of my musical background. Learning to play numerous instruments and understanding the technical terms behind a song was just never really my forte.

Though I’m no musical genius, I feel the most promising component in evaluating a song is the emotion it evokes. And when I say that I don’t just mean, “Oh, it’s Taylor Swift so it’s another sad love song,” but rather the emotion the song conveys to the individual listener themselves. Part of the reason we find ourselves listening to the same few songs over and over again is for one of two reasons: either the song is incredibly catchy and stuck in your head, or it is because of the personal message and emotion the song brings about in the listener.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much power a two-and-a-half minute song possesses. Whether it reminds you of that one summer night when you were driving around aimlessly with your best buds, or it brings you back to the song blasting in the background of the concert that your phone was stolen at, each song alone can evoke a variety of different emotions.

So when my dad jokingly tells me that today’s new trend of rap doesn’t even count as music, I can simply respond that it, in fact, is actually pretty good music. Sure, it may be extremely opinion-based, but that’s the whole point. To be labeled “good,” a song should make the listener feel something that they’ve never felt before, or elicit the listener to recall a special moment or memory from the past. And above all, if your music sounds anything like my 7th grade recorder playing, I’ll be the first to tell you that whatever it is you’re listening to is not even close to good music. Maybe not even worthy to be titled music at all.

Two Scheids to the Story: "Good" Music 1Grace Scheidler, senior. 

With music, as with anything, there’s a difference between what counts as “good” music in your eyes–i.e., your personal tastes–versus what qualifies as good music in general. It’s similar to how even though you might not choose Macbeth or Hamlet as your favorite book, you have to appreciate the cleverness and the amount of thought put into the plays. And, at the same time, it’s also widely accepted that Twilight does not count as good literature.

If you take a look at the radio presets in my car (sadly, there is no AUX input), you can get a pretty good sense of what I consider to be good music. I think Top 40 country is is good for driving home from school, and the ‘80s throwback station is a great way to start my day; there really is nothing quite like blaring “Safety Dance” down Green Bay road at 7:45 on a Tuesday morning.

However, most wouldn’t consider Kenny Chesney, or even Men Without Hats, to be producers of “good” music,. For me, regardless of whether I’d throw it on my playlist, a song is “good” if it’s original and not just the same three lines repeated for two and a half minutes, and the lyrics have some thought put into them and aren’t outright offensive.

No matter what I personally believe, though, isn’t that all irrelevant? Music tastes are always changing. 300, 400 years ago, people would have been debating the merits of Beethoven versus Mozart, the value in certain symphonies or sonatas (which they still do today, but I digress). Rock and roll was revolutionary for one generation and then considered outdated by the next. Synthesizers were all the rage in our parents day and age, but now they’re the butt of any musical jokes (“Safety Dance” aside, of course).

In the end, all a song needs to be truly considered good music is the ability to evoke an emotion, to make the listener feel something. That basically negates whatever I said earlier about the technical definition of good music. If Nine Inch Nails brings you back to your glory days, then by all means, blare it at top volume. Maybe Dirt Road Anthem is a song that got you through a rough patch in your life, and holds much more meaning than the lyrics “So if you really wanna know how it feels/To get off the road with a truck and four wheel” suggest.

In short, as long as humanity continues to evolve and change, so will our opinion on music. Make what you want of my definition of what qualifies as good music, or take it with a grain of salt. The choice is yours.