Why do we like music? I don't mean music in general, but specific pieces, bands, and songs. Why do the Beatles remain insanely popular and yet similar sounding acts live entirely in obscurity? Why does wonky jazz only get listened to by a small subculture? Or death metal? Etc. Etc. Etc. Why do I (or you) specifically like a particular song? Can you break down music into parts and explain exactly why you like it? Does it even matter?
This is the kind of stuff that plagues my brain when I write these articles. Why is it that some songs are instant turn-offs, I can hardly hit the skip button fast enough, and yet others, like "1989" keep me listening, and listening, and listening over and over again? Part of that is easy, I don't like heavy metal, or rap, or anything with auto-tune, so when I hear those sounds I give up fast and move to the next track. But I'm not sure I could adequately explain why I don't like those things other than to say I just don't. In the same way I do like acoustic music, folk and bluegrass, alternative country, and Beatles-esque pop structures. But again I can't exactly say why.
So why do I like "1989?" There's a familiarity to the sound, like something nostalgic. The opening sounds a bit like the Cranberries and there's a bit of Dream Academy going on. But then its also modern and unique. It periodically transitions into this speedy dance bop before slowing down again, back and forth in a way that makes me goofily happy.
So, no, I don't know why I like the song. I can't really explain it in words. I can describe things about it - its not too heavy, it has a late '80s sound, its deliciously dance-pop oriented, etc, but that only gives you the slightest idea of what it really is. What I can say is that I really dig it, and that you can download it for free, right here, and decide for yourself.
Fan-Tan formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina but quickly moved to New York City where they developed their current sound. Thus far they've released two EPs and their first full-length album comes out this fall. You can learn and hear more on the Myspace page, Facebook page, and official site.