Re: Do you analyze other people's songs?
It's impossible for me to listen to music and not break it down. Maybe the very first time I can just enjoy it, but on repeated listens I'm always analyzing.
Things I analyze:
Chord Progression - Music school has given me the ability to hear what relation each chord has to each other, aka Relative pitch. Though, I do not have perfect pitch, I can hear what a progression is: i VI ii V and such.
Maintaining Interest - Most music I like has very little actual musical material. It's repetitive but doesn't seem like it is. It's amazing how much just changing one thing can hold a listeners attention. It's not about "coming up" with something amazing, it's about making someone want to keep listening to your music.
Production - I've taken a few production classes, but am still a beginner. I've just begun to listen for different production techniques such as panning, creating spectral space for each instrument, compression as well as production being used for aesthetic purposes rather than utility.
A Unique Quality - That's what makes good music. There's a shit ton of great stuff out there that I don't like. It just means it doesn't communicate with me on a personal level. But, I can still tell if the expression is truly original or just trying to prescribe to a "successful" formula.