There Are No Perfect Songs

Posted on July 28, 2013


caucasian perfectionI have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as the perfect song.  Perfection means you need go no further.  No other work is needed.  Stop now.  The job is done.

There are no songs like that.

Let’s move past the strong objection that nothing could be perfect anyway and just get actual for awhile.

I spent a long time searching out perfect songs.  I made hundreds of tapes, essence of vinyl.  I made hundreds of cds, essence of digital.  I combed time and continent.  I explored every genre I was capable of understanding, careful not to judge too quickly those that left me unimpressed at first hearing.  I bought a flat screen TV at a time when those were exotic and expensive and planted it in the basement so my roommates would leave the stereo alone.

I made a mad search.

And I found that you just get tired of your favourite song all the time.  I found that you just get tired of your favourite mix.  That you sometimes just want your favourite genre to stay in the jewel box and out of your ears for a while.

There isn’t anything that you can’t overdo or overplay.

But what you never get tired of is the music.  Music from your fingers.  Music from your voice-box.  Music from your stereo.  Music drifting across the park.  Whatever.

It’s the totality that’s perfect, and that’s because it isn’t one thing.  Because it isn’t defined or “perfected” yet,

Perfection can never be static.  Perfection can never be a thing, or a single idea, or a single arrangement of ideas.  Perfection arises from the possibility of endless variation.

People change from day to day.  What suits us best changes from day to day as well.

And this principle applies to other aspects of life.  There is no perfect species.  There is no perfect human form.  There is no perfect understanding.

A perfect species?  Can any species stand alone?

A perfect human?  A perfect Adam and Eve would just die out.  The healthiest populations, those most likely to weather stress and change, are those that are the most diverse.  Diversity carries more answers.

A perfect understanding admits that there is no such thing.  How can you achieve perfect understanding of a universe in constant flux, most of which—because of time and immensity and unbreakable physical laws—is beyond anyone’s ability to know?

The claim of perfection, whatever form it takes, a perfect song, a perfect idea, a perfect human race, assumes answers to questions that no one has asked yet.

Sense tells us that that’s just foolish.  Unless the totality of human experience isn’t enough to teach us otherwise.

No one has ever been ready for the unasked questions.

Posted in: music, philosophy