The other day I ran across a Rick Beato video entitled “The most complex pop song of all time.”
I thought the song would be something by a cerebral group like Rush, but instead it’s “Never Gonna Let You Go” by Sérgio Mendes. The song made it to #4 on the weekly pop charts in 1983 and came in at #16 for the year. I knew the song, but I would not have thought it was especially simple or complex.
The song works because the melody is simple enough but the harmony is complex. The complexity isn’t gratuitous, but serves the song. Millions of people thought the song was enjoyable, not impressive; you have to listen closely to be impressed.
I was reminded, as I often am, of the line from Feynman that nearly everything is really interesting if you look into it deeply enough. I wonder what other pop songs I’ve dismissed that have a lot going on if you listen more closely. And I wonder more generally what else around me is more interesting than I realize.