Perfection or imperfection?

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Take a song like The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie". I think we can all agree it's got a certain sloppiness to it. It's far from "perfect".

Now take a song that's "perfect" in every way. Lots of songs fit that category, your pick.

Which song *moves* you more?

If I had to pick, I'd go with imperfection.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Take a song like The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie". I think we can all agree it's got a certain sloppiness to it. It's far from "perfect".

Now take a song that's "perfect" in every way. Lots of songs fit that category, your pick.

Which song *moves* you more?

If I had to pick, I'd go with imperfection.
Imperfection sounds more human and all my favorites are very human sounding.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
It's hard for me to choose a side. So many elements contribute to the totality of music that summarizing them along strict lines is a challenge. A "sloppily" executed song has to be good for reasons that support its slushy character, just as a "perfect" performance can't redeem material that's fundamentally lacking. I really need to hear each song and consider all of its traits to make an informed judgement. Still, I tend to recoil from music that has an automated character, so I do prefer an organic (less than precisely calculated) vibe to prevail.
 
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C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
Perfection doesn't exist in nature, why should it exist in music?
Given that we're bound to defective material bodies, I'd label all perceptions of perfection as illusory. If perfection exists in some immaterial realm (and it very well may), we're ill-equipped to address it, or even to recognize it, in our current state. At best, we see shadows of perfection, crude models of true flawlessness, in this chaotic existence. What awaits us remains to be determined.

This concludes my metaphysical musings for the day.
 

C. Dave Run

Silver Member
I refuse to pick. I love both.

I dont like the human vs programmed music debate. They are two different, distinct ways of making music. The types of music created are two different, distinct types of songs.

Programmed songs are just layered sounds. These layers are turned on and off and manipulated. The layers in the songs never actually change. It makes a straightforward platform for a singer or singers to sing over. These songs are what y'all hate.

Human songs are not just layered sounds. They are played on instruments. Instead of choosing sounds, the human manipulates where and how they play their instrument. This for some reason is perceived as better.

I'm a music lover first and foremost. I dont care how it's made. It's the emotion music provides I'm after. Being a musician is secondary.
 

C.M. Jones

Diamond Member
As of late, I've developed a renewed interest in Black Sabbath's early work (for instance, the Paranoid album). The unadulterated, analog nature of it all really inspires me. It shapes an atmosphere infused with "imperfect" energy, a transmission of blood, bone, and muscle only humans can supply. And, man, Tony Iommi was one great guitarist. Bill Ward had some fabulous material to place in his proverbial pocket. What a lucky drummer.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I appreciate both, as someone who's formative years were the 80s I could reel off dozens of songs by the likes of Heaven 17, Scritti Politti, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Propaganda, ABC etc that were polished to studio perfection so qualify for the "perfection" label but are tremendous pieces of music.
And then there's the early AC/DC music were they were in the moment and tuned to each other rather than using tuners.
 

wraub

Gold Member
I embrace imperfection in my own music, because I feel it adds a certain something it lacks when I try for "perfection".

In other's music, I tend to appreciate precision rather than perfection, but I can always appreciate "messy" playing if done precisely without feeling contrived. It's hard to explain but I know it when I hear it.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I think it depends, really, but in general I'd rather hear something that's precise than sloppy. I'm all for a human element as opposed to stiff perfection, but I'm rarely as inspired by sloppy playing as I am when the band nails it.
 

Huw Owens

Active Member
Some definitions are necessary here I feel, because what we mean by “perfect” may not be the same. Context will matter too.

There’s the “perfection” of playing something without errors (which I think is a worthwhile goal)

Then there’s the “perfection” of vocals auto tuned to equal temperament (which I think is sin against god and nature)

Too many variables to make a generalisation, IMHO.

:)
 
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