Popular musicThis question is prompted by an earlier question about classical music vs. popular music.  Can folks recommend any pieces of popular music that they consider really moving, profound,...

Popular music

This question is prompted by an earlier question about classical music vs. popular music.  Can folks recommend any pieces of popular music that they consider really moving, profound, and/or "sublime" (that is, lofty or deeply stirring)?

Expert Answers
e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To suggest a few albums and songs that I have found moving, lofty, or deeply stirring:

  • Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown
  • Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis
  • Joshua Tree & The Unforgettable Fire by U2
  • Exodus & Survival by Bob Marley
  • Some parts of Fight for Your & Pleaure and Pain Mind by Ben Harper
  • "Georgia" by Ray Charles
  • Aretha Franklin's version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  • "Change is Gonna Come" by Otis Redding made me cry the first time I heard it, much like Pachalbel's Cannon did.
  • Some Coldplay (in agreement with posts above), Bjork, James Brown (yes, James Brown!)...


Whether or not any of these will have a profound impact on you, I couldn't say. I do feel that popular music has the potential to be deeply stirring.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So I'm wondering... is the implication here that you find pieces of classical music moving or sublime and don't think popular music can have those traits?

I think it feels easier to be uplifted by classical music because it tends to lack words (or, like Ode To Joy, have words most of us don't understand).  So you can be swept away by the music and not have to think about the lyrics.

For me, there are pieces of popular music that I find uplifting for their music and/or their words.  For example, I love "Moonlight in Vermont" as played and sung by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.  That one is more for the music than the words.  I tend to feel inspired by Bob Marley's song "War."  That one is for the words, not the music.

Now, are those as moving as something like Dvorak's "New World?"  I don't know.  But they do tend to affect me.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"After the suffering of decades of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s mass living habits, introduced as by a calling card by the revolting invasion of commercial advertising, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music."--Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, A World Torn Apart, Commencement Address Delivered at Harvard University, June 8, 1978.

For every good popular song, there must be at least a hundred that are just noise-making for money. I can't go anywhere without hearing the most god-awful yowling on loudspeakers, and they even play a special kind of trashy music on the telephone while they've got you on hold (maybe to force you to hang up?). Peace and quiet are more beautiful than most of the music I hear in public places.




mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My taste in music is very eclectic as  I am an old Janis Joplin fan and her song A Woman Left Lonely, Eva Cassidy especially her Fields of Gold and Tall Trees in Georgia, Etta James  At  Last or Damn Your Eyes,  Amy Winehouse and her portrayal of self in her work Back to Black, Susan Tedeschi's Soul of a Man, Sweet Forgiveness, and the Magnificent Sanctuary Band, and I love Adele with my choice for song as One and Only whose 21 album shows off her voice to perfection.  I find these songs and artists fascinating and similar in the thoughts they provoke about the place or emotions of women.  I'm 43 years happily married, but have so many women friends who grieve the loss of their companion.  These songs  lift me, make me grateful for the music, and fill me with wonder at the creative genius it takes to create such music.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So many to choose from. I find some tracks by Radiohead and also Muse deeply stirring from my point of view. Try "Bliss" or "How to Completely Disappear." In the same way, I think some of Coldplay's music fits into this category. A lot of this is not necessarily related to the lyrics so much as their combination with the music. I accept that some lyrics of songs I like are trite, but the music that accompanies them helps to make the song appealing.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I would probably be embarrassed to try to mention a specific song. I usually don't know the artist and pretty much never know the name of the song. I think that people respond to music that touches them at a certain time in their lives, or at one time. For example, there is a song that I think is called "Sailing" that almost always makes me slightly misty, because it was played at my great grandfather's funeral.
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the Radiohead statement above. I tend to gravitate to certain rock albums as works of art, and their work is always emotionally gripping as well as technically fantastic and imaginative. Classical music is not inherently any better or worse than music from any other age, it ultimately boils down to taste, as modern music can be as imaginative and technically brilliant as any music ever produced.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some popular songs move me like "fields of gold." The Eva Cassidy version is great. Her voice is beautiful and there is something sublime and haunting about it.  Another song that is moving is "dancing in the minefield" by Andrew Peterson. It is a song that chronicles that marriage of two people and the difficulties that they faced. In the end, the song says that it was all worth it.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"It's a Long Time Coming" by the Eagles

"Angel Flying too Close to the Ground" by Willie Nelson

"Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by Simon and Garfunkle

kimpdancer | Student

I absolutely love Adele, or really deeply moving songs like Stronger by Kelly Clarkson or Perfect by Pink. If you wanted a really recent choice of songs

gitarguy918 | Student

Here are some of my favorite songs that match that criteria. Some of the bands you probably haven't heard of (ex. Jordan Ross), some of them you have, just look up the ones you don't. Hope you enjoy.

  1. Careless Whisper-Seether
  2. Broken- Seether (feat Amy Lee)
  3. Yesterday- The Beatles/Paul McCartney
  4. Here Today- Paul McCartney
  5. Something To Believe In- Bon Jovi
  6. Always- Bon Jovi
  7. Waitin' On A Woman- Paul McCartney
  8. 21 Guns- Green Day
  9. Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
  10. Control- Jordan Ross
  11. The Air We Breath- Jordan Ross
  12. Better Year- Jordan Ross
  13. Upright- Jordan Ross
  14. Photograph- Nickleback
  15. Hope- Rush
  16. Subdivisions- Rush
  17. The Boxer- Simon and Garfunkel
sabrina20032006 | Student

to me popular music seems better because you can hear the words and most classical music dosent have any words . i know that it sounds beautiful and what now but popular music in this day makes more sense and actually has meaning to it, where most classical music doesn't :) hope i helped

wanderista | Student

I've got a few popular/modern music that I particularly enjoy;

  • 'Aqua Harp' by Animusic
  • 'Fireflies' by Owl City
  • 'Pipe Dream' by Animusic
  • 'Heaven is a Place on Earth' by Belinda Carisle
  • 'Star Trek: Voyager Theme' by Jerry Goldsmith
  • 'Coming Back Around: Theme from How to Train Your Dragon' by John Powell
loraaa | Student

In my opinion,,, ^_^
 The only thing beautiful in the world today is "classical music".
  Popular music, different meanings between the city and the other, or between states and others...ect.
 But classical music {is the only music "high" in this world}.