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Who doesn't listen to lyrics?

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    All my life I have been a purely "instrumental" person. I never ever listen to what the person is saying in a song. But recently I have noticed that when most people listen to music what the singer is saying is all they seem to care about :confused: I just don't understand that way of listening to music. Surely concentrating on the lexical content of the singer's monologue will detract from concentrating on the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic content of the song as a whole? And what if you are listening to a song from another language? I personally listen to vocals as if it was another instrument so the only difference singing in another language would make to me is that it becomes a "differently tuned vocal instrument" . Maybe this is because I listen to Jazz where a large proportion of the singing is meant to be total nonsense that just sounds good. I find modern popular music (that is based around vocals) to be dull as all I hear is basically just a person talking with feeble instrumental backup i.e. some guy behind the singer just banging out a couple simple chords on the keyboard or guitar, then everyone is like "omg amazing such deep lyrics", but to me it's nothing more than a glorified poetry recital.
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    listen to some rap like nas and you will see the power of lyrics.
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    I'm the same. When I like a particular song, it'll usually be to do with the melody and the music itself. I rarely pay attention to the lyrics. Even if I'm singing along to a song I'm not really paying attention to the words, I'm far more interested in the sound For example, I absolutely love music by Muse, but I don't really know the words to a lot of their songs and the song meanings. Rather, I just love the musical talents of Matt Bellamy and the amazing sounds that Muse creates
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    I'm with you, brother.

    **** your words!
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    (Original post by ugk4life)
    listen to some rap like nas and you will see the power of lyrics.
    Rap now is a weird one because sometimes the beat is great and I love the song but everyone else will say that the song is rubbish because the lyrics are. I showed a friend this rap song once (Big L) and while I was there with him chilling out to the beat he said "I don't like it because the guy is chatting ****" I was like FUUUUUUUUUUUU!!! WHO CARES??? MOST RAPPERS CHAT **** ABOUT ROBBING, KILLING AND ****ING BITCHES ANYWAY. At least this one was good enough to sample some old skool beats
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    (Original post by sexbo)
    All my life I have been a purely "instrumental" person. I never ever listen to what the person is saying in a song. But recently I have noticed that when most people listen to music what the singer is saying is all they seem to care about :confused: I just don't understand that way of listening to music. Surely concentrating on the lexical content of the singer's monologue will detract from concentrating on the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic content of the song as a whole? And what if you are listening to a song from another language? I personally listen to vocals as if it was another instrument so the only difference singing in another language would make to me is that it becomes a "differently tuned vocal instrument" . Maybe this is because I listen to Jazz where a large proportion of the singing is meant to be total nonsense that just sounds good. I find modern popular music (that is based around vocals) to be dull as all I hear is basically just a person talking with feeble instrumental backup i.e. some guy behind the singer just banging out a couple simple chords on the keyboard or guitar, then everyone is like "omg amazing such deep lyrics", but to me it's nothing more than a glorified poetry recital.
    Can you not do both? This is why I listen to songs over and over again, because of the layering of meaning, both in pure sound and word.
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    me! i dont listen to lyrics ever, everyone always thinks im weird... only time lyrics really start to make sense is in musicals and even then i have to listen very hard.
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    (Original post by sexbo)
    Rap now is a weird one because sometimes the beat is great and I love the song but everyone else will say that the song is rubbish because the lyrics are. I showed a friend this rap song once (Big L) and while I was there with him chilling out to the beat he said "I don't like it because the guy is chatting ****" I was like FUUUUUUUUUUUU!!! WHO CARES??? MOST RAPPERS CHAT **** ABOUT ROBBING, KILLING AND ****ING BITCHES ANYWAY. At least this one was good enough to sample some old skool beats
    yeah depends on the rapper and the city he's from usually whether the lyrics are better or the beat.

    whoever says big l chats **** needs a slap tbh he is one of the best mc of all time.


    listen to nas - I gave you power. a lyrical master piece.
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    (Original post by Nice Marmite)
    Can you not do both? This is why I listen to songs over and over again, because of the layering of meaning, both in pure sound and word.
    yeah I agree its better to appreciate both.
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    I'm pretty much the same - I always listen for the tune/ melody and rarely take any notice of the lyrics. I think it's because I used to pretty much only listen to classical orchestral music, and so when I started taking note of more popular music, I always automatically liked the ones where I loved the melody - but I couldn't have quoted any of the lyrics. Of course, after many repeated playings of the songs I started to know some of the words, but I'd never be able to quote all of them, only snatches. This resulted in me knowing that I liked certain songs, but I wouldn't know who they were by or what they were called. There are many cases of songs where I only found out the name of the song and singer years after I first heard and loved them at clubs at uni or on the radio at work.

    There's one notable exception to the rule here - a song where I noticed the lyrics almost first time, and found that the words and the effects they had on me were as great as the tune that plays between lyrics; 'Insomnia' by Faithless.
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    I listen to instrumental music about 95% of the time... but I do appreciate some well-written lyrics. Lamb of God (surprisingly) have some of the most intelligent and well-written lyrics out there today.
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    Quote " light is provided through sparks of energy from the mind that travels in rhyme form, giving sight to the blind, the dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum, death only one can save self from " Wu Tang Triumph.

    Lyrical content in Rap is a big necessity for me.
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    (Original post by Nice Marmite)
    Can you not do both? This is why I listen to songs over and over again, because of the layering of meaning, both in pure sound and word.
    This. I listen to the beat and melodies, but I also listen to the lyrics. The OP is worded as if you must chose between one or the other :confused:
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    None of you have listened to Bon Jovi
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    (Original post by SubAtomic)
    Quote " light is provided through sparks of energy from the mind that travels in rhyme form, giving sight to the blind, the dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum, death only one can save self from " Wu Tang Triumph.

    Lyrical content in Rap is a big necessity for me.
    the RZA!!
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    (Original post by sexbo)
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    (Original post by Nice Marmite)
    Can you not do both? This is why I listen to songs over and over again, because of the layering of meaning, both in pure sound and word.
    I agree! I love listening to lyrics, whether they have a deep meaning or just tell an interesting story. I also love viewing the voice as an instrument (Regina Spektor!) and like music without lyrics but lyrics themselves add loads to a lot of songs. They do allow you to connect to the artist and help you read different meanings in to the music... they present what the writer meant with the music which is always a good thing to hear. I love it when I hear what someone's singing and I hear the sound of the music and they fit so perfectly with each other- it amazes me that people can express those feelings so perfectly with music. And as Nice Marmite said there is layering. People can portray multiple things at once using lyrics AND music. Plus it allows me to sing along ^^

    You mention it's just like poetry... this implies you don't like poetry. Obviously though lots of people do, and they like lyrics for similar reasons.

    xxx
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    (Original post by sexbo)
    Surely concentrating on the lexical content of the singer's monologue will detract from concentrating on the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic content of the song as a whole?.
    Why? I don't think that is the case at all.
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    (Original post by kpwxx)
    I agree! I love listening to lyrics, whether they have a deep meaning or just tell an interesting story. I also love viewing the voice as an instrument (Regina Spektor!) and like music without lyrics but lyrics themselves add loads to a lot of songs. They do allow you to connect to the artist and help you read different meanings in to the music... they present what the writer meant with the music which is always a good thing to hear. I love it when I hear what someone's singing and I hear the sound of the music and they fit so perfectly with each other- it amazes me that people can express those feelings so perfectly with music. And as Nice Marmite said there is layering. People can portray multiple things at once using lyrics AND music. Plus it allows me to sing along ^^

    You mention it's just like poetry... this implies you don't like poetry. Obviously though lots of people do, and they like lyrics for similar reasons.

    xxx
    Great response, totally agree with everything here. An interesting musical example to throw in here would be Bjork - Dark Matter. It has incomprehensible lyrics and religious chanting style vocals that come to represent an ancient and incomprehensible force that exists within our universe - dark matter. The use of lyrics here is to take the assumption that one will have some and then use that for the opposite effect.
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    (Original post by MarcD)
    ...For example, I absolutely love music by Muse, but I don't really know the words to a lot of their songs and the song meanings. Rather, I just love the musical talents of Matt Bellamy and the amazing sounds that Muse creates
    I totally agree, especially in the case of Muse. Sometimes its just so nice not to think about the words and just let go. The instrumental for Blackout is fantastic so here it is:

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    I was talking to my mum about this the other week. I discovered she doesn't listen to a song's lyrical content, just the way it sounds. I am the complete opposite. The lyrics provide the sentiment of the song so my favourite ones aren't necessarily the best-sounding, it's the song as a whole.

    'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' by Bob Dylan is one of my favourite songs, not because Dylan is the best singer in the world, but because the lyrics make the song so beautiful and melancholic.

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Updated: April 9, 2012
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