Review 3559

The “Beautiful Song of the Week” blog: a simple idea perfectly executed, which addresses a need that so many music lovers have today.

With instant access to every song ever made, the question becomes how in the world to choose from the titles presented to us by iTunes, Internet radio stations, and other “selection aggregators”, which for commercial reasons are interested in giving us the widest range of choices in music that they possibly can. Naturally these sources will include listeners’ brief opinions of songs and interesting suggestion technologies that feed us musical choices based on our previous purchases or what our friends like.

These automated solutions for finding new music have always seemed inadequate to me, and the song remarks are usually too brief to be considered reviews. And does a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ really give you a basis for listening to a song?

I sense that the creator of the “Beautiful Song of the Week” blog feels the same way. The solution at which he has arrived turns the presentation process completely around. Rather than trying to give a comprehensive view of the entire musical universe, this website gives a heartfelt review of one piece of music per week. The selections are unconstrained by period or style, and this is a major strength of the site. The musical tastes of the blog’s writer are diverse and in this way one can be sure of broadening one’s exposure to music generally by visiting the site frequently. One visit had me listening to songs by Nina Simone and Blur that I’d never heard before.

The tagline under the title on the blog’s homepage says “Uncovering the world’s loveliest music”, as opposed to uncovering what the cool kids are listening to, or what a record company has decided to crate a marketing campaign around. The “Beautiful Song of the Week” blog is clearly a labor of love, a celebration of music generally. Since each song has favorably impressed the writer he makes no effort to be ‘fair and balanced’; he instead conveys his enthusiasm for each title via the heading “What makes this a beautiful song”. Is it subjective? Absolutely. Will his clear passion for each of these musical gems compel you to give them a listen? I bet it will, and he has embedded a music player as well as a ‘buy it now’ button in each of the song reviews to make it simple. There’s even a fun “Recommended listening activity” heading, to further convey the mood of the piece.

For the writer of the “Beautiful Song of the Week” blog the site is clearly an outlet for him to write passionately about the music he loves; for us it can be a new, better music discovery tool, and maybe even something more. A lot of smart people talk about the need for ‘curation’ of the almost overwhelming and unmanageable flow of information on the Internet today. The personal touch of someone whose judgement we trust will increasingly be the means we use to arrive at ‘the good stuff’ in the realm of creativity, in every medium. The “Beautiful Song of the Week” blog is an excellent example of this much-needed new function of the Internet. It’s in my RSS feed reader now, and it might just belong in yours too. NULL