What makes a good song? I've been thinking about that question as I listen to the video of Tinashe playing mbira and singing Zambezi that is posted below.
I love the song - especially in this simple, stripped down version (he also has a full production version on Youtube). It begins like a simple love song... two people under a mango tree, enjoying one another and full of life. The musical tone doesn't change at all but the lyrics then carry us into a very different place as the soldiers come and the singer urges the beloved just to live. This gentle little song holds all of the joy and fear of life in three minutes.
So what makes a good song? It opens the heart in unexpected ways. It distills the important things of life into a few minutes. As a listener, I experience life in new ways. I may cry. I may be filled with joy. I will be a little richer and more whole because I have had a good song find its way into my life.