So reading Christweb I ran across this post talking about a new Paul Anka record doing swing versions of recent rock hits.
Curious, I went looking and found this site where you can sample all the tracks.
It's not as bad as you might think. Some of the cuts are pretty awful, but some are stupendous. My fav? - "True" originally by Spandau Ballet, maybe because even in its pop arrangement it had some swing to it. Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face" holds up remarkably well also. I was really rooting for Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," but the clip never got to the hook so it was hard to tell.
Anyway, that set me to wondering — if a song handles a new arrangmenet well, does that make it a great song? I certainly feel that way about some. My favorite of all time - "Shameless" written by Billy Joel, but rearranged magnificiently by Garth Brooks.
The more I think about it, the more I think this is true. Good lyrics and a strong melody will stand up to just about any arrangement. Cuts that sound fantastic in one genre, but don't hold up are likely too gimmicky — a pleasant collection of sounds perhaps, but not necessarily rising to the level of a song.