Music V. Lyrics

Discussion in 'General Music and Vinyl' started by Jake!, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. nolady

    nolady Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2015
    New Orleans suburbs
    I LOVE the giant lyric sheets in albums. My old eyes need the big print.
    Seriously, this is me on a good day:
  2. Phillip J Phry

    Phillip J Phry Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2015
    That's usually a good indicator for me as well.
  3. GritNGlitter

    GritNGlitter Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2015
    Portland, OR
    I'm most attracted to vocals--as an instrument first, then the lyrics. Sometimes a great line or two will grab me on an early listen, but it usually takes a while for me to be able to fully catch the lyrics and decide if I like them. Bad lyrics can change my opinion of a song I think I might dig, and great lyrics can elevate it, but my general focus is on how the vocals sound: the melody, the harmonies, the voice itself, the feeling. I am a total lyrics person, but I can fall in love with a vocal line without knowing them. I am much less likely to be into the instrumentation in general. I mean, not that I don't care about the music, but it's more likely to be the canvas on which the vox are painted for me, so to speak.
  4. ericj32

    ericj32 Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2018
    Washington, DC
    I know I'm a few years late on this, but I'm really excited to find other people thinking these thoughts on the internet. I'm definitely a music, rather than lyrics, person, almost to the point of being anti-lyrics. I definitely struggle to appreciate artists who write exquisitely crafted poems and then set them to music that all sounds mostly the same.

    My justifications/excuses:
    • I'm a very analytical person, and I spend all day reading e-mails, contracts, reports and I get burnt out - I go to music for the sounds, vibrations, beats, harmonies, and melodies - not to have more words to interpret. (I know, I'm terrible.) I rarely spend time with the lyrics sheets in the liner notes. I'd really only look at them if there's a song I really like with a really bizarre sounding word that bugs me and I want to know what they're actually saying.
    • A lot of the music I enjoy doesn't have lyrics, or it has nonsense lyrics, or it's really hard to hear what they're actually saying, or you can tell that the artist doesn't really care about lyrics so they're kind of bad or cliché because they're more focused on rhyming the words and producing certain sounds.
    • I like to listen to A LOT of music, and am constantly looking for music that's new to me. It takes work to hear/process lyrics, whereas I can instantly process melody, harmony, chord progression, instrumentation, tone, rhythm, etc. It's that instant feeling of recognition that is gratifying. It's cool when you can hear an artist express new musical ideas and phrases and invent their own musical vocabulary or motifs - it's something that I can appreciate organically without feeling like I need to stop and study what they're doing (whereas figuring out lyrics feels like a homework assignment).
    • I'm very bad at actually hearing lyrics. I'm not sure how much of this is laziness, actively tuning them out, or just faulty ear/brain wiring.
    • I tend to be multi-tasking when I'm listening to music.
    I agree with everyone who said that they hear the music first, but the lyrics become more meaningful and important to them over time. Like I love Eleanor Rigby and Yesterday and Let it Be, but it's impossible at this point to focus only on the musicality. But even with those songs, I feel like my brain only processes the meaning of certain phrases without really trying to adding them up to a conceptual whole - it takes dozens of listens for me to work my way up to thinking that much about what the lyrics are trying to say.

    Re hip hop - I think it depends on the type of hip hop. I'm not listening to Danny Brown, Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, or Dr. Dre for the lyrics, but I find that paying attention to the lyrics adds a lot of value when I'm listening to Kendrick Lamar or Run the Jewels.

    I think it's cool to see how artists, like listeners, seem to gravitate one way or the other, but there are some who straddle both well.
    GelloJive and lee newman like this.

    SKOT_FREE Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2018
    Newnan Ga
    I’m into the combo of both music and Lyrics. Being into Rap music I’ve of course focus on both but this translated into all the other Genres of music I listen to such as rock, Jazz, Reggae etc. I know some people are into just the music or beat of a song and even if the song was about the most outrageous subject, I’d the beat is banging they’ll like the song. I think for me when an artist constructs a song and all the parts of the song work it’s a great thing. It’s like ordering a meal but only focusing on one portion of it. If I order a steak dinner, I expect the entire meal to be good, not just the steak.
    lee newman and ThePakoBuelna like this.
  6. Kaye

    Kaye Active Member

    May 17, 2016
    Combo too. I love witty lyrics (Matt Berninger, Will Toledo, Vampire Weekend, The Beatles) and music with tons of layers (The National, Radiohead). I'm into hip-hop too and I love lyrics that has a story. Used to be obsessed with lyrics. I just have to know the correct words, maybe that's why I'm not into screamo. My ears perk up when I hear an interesting line.
    lee newman likes this.
  7. dbarila

    dbarila Well-Known Member

    Jul 20, 2016
    I'd say that what i listen for is 80% the music, 20% the lyrics. Usually the music is what makes it for me and it takes me a while to get into the lyrics. The only time I notice the lyrics right away is if they are so bad that it distracts from the song.

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