The biggest disadvantage we musicians have is that we are unable to hear music as non-musicians, which is 90% of the actively listening world.
Vultures - John Mayer:
Few songs have ever schooled me in the way "Vultures" did in 2006. I used to skip this track repeatedly when I first bought Mayer's Continuum album.
I thought it was bland, not dynamic, and generally uninteresting.
Then one day this song hit me like ten thousand fucking pounds of brick. I felt so stupid when I realized how good it is. I thought to myself countless times, "How could I have skipped this?"
It remains my favorite Mayer track in his career yet.
Have you ever met someone who's so damn interesting? Interesting to the point where you think about them for days after meeting them? You wonder, "What's up their sleeve? What's their deal? Why am I thinking about them?"
"Vultures" is like that. It says so much by saying so little. It's an exhibit of restraint, control, and groove substance over style.
With only three chords, this song is a blank canvas for anyone to solo over. You could do some insane shit over F#min, A, and B. You could go crazy vocally. You could play with 4ths all over the map. You could get away with murder over those changes.
And it's what isn't done in "Vultures" that makes it so compelling. Absolutely one of the biggest statements in pop music, certainly in my lifetime yet, and it begs to be heard by anyone who says Mayer is a talentless hack.
Did I mention this guy still makes albums? You know, that archaic art form that demands listening from beginning to end to understand the artist?
Challenge: Write a song with only three chords and make it compelling for four minutes. I fucking dare you.