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Subject: ""Lyrics and singing, are music's greatest deal-breakers"" Previous topic | Next topic
imcvspl
Member since Mar 07th 2005
42133 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 10:35 AM

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""Lyrics and singing, are music's greatest deal-breakers""


  

          

Pulled from this article - http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2013/05/29/187168874/the-good-listener-whats-more-important-lyrics-or-music

Agree or disagree?

█▆▇▅▇█▇▆▄▁▃
Big PEMFin H & z's
"I ain't no entertainer, and ain't trying to be one. I am 1 thing, a musician." Miles

"When the music stops he falls back in the abyss."

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
i definitely listen to the music first.
Jun 04th 2013
1
I am a self-proclaimed lyrical nerd...
Jun 04th 2013
2
there's no such thing as a hit lyric.
Jun 04th 2013
3
pretty much
Jun 04th 2013
6
the combination of both is important
Jun 04th 2013
4
I somewhat agree
Jun 04th 2013
5
Hahaha. Pretty much.
Jun 04th 2013
7
Music's more important, otherwise there'd be no instrumentals ever
Jun 04th 2013
8
hmmmmm....
Jun 04th 2013
9
      as such
Jun 04th 2013
11
It depends on the type of music and whether music or lyrics
Jun 04th 2013
10
i feel like, when it comes to lyrics
Jun 04th 2013
12
Anybody else feel like acapellas were overlooked, here?
Jun 04th 2013
13
Didn't "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" reach #1
Jun 04th 2013
14
Yep, it did. Another great example: Don't Worry, Be Happy.
Jun 04th 2013
16
I think you're confusing 'music' and 'instrumentation'
Jun 04th 2013
15
      So break this down for me...
Jun 04th 2013
17
           the whole question is subjective
Jun 04th 2013
19
                Ah I see what you're saying now.
Jun 04th 2013
20
I think people put too much emphasis on the content of lyrics...
Jun 04th 2013
18

shockzilla
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Tue Jun-04-13 11:09 AM

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1. "i definitely listen to the music first."
In response to Reply # 0


          

there are many, many classic songs i know every note to

but not the lyrics.

(which led to some interesting moments singing with the band. just as well i can improvise).


  

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Brew
Member since Nov 23rd 2002
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Tue Jun-04-13 12:07 PM

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2. "I am a self-proclaimed lyrical nerd..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

I read and study lyrics to so many songs I can hardly imagine how many lyrics I have memorized. But that said, when I first buy an album and listen to it, the music is the first thing that sticks out. I feel like that's only natural (though it may not be the same for everyone). Once I've listened a couple of times, I am able to better digest the lyrical content but it never comes across right away. It takes usually several listens before I am able to fully engage myself in the lyrics.

So while I will say I have always been partial to lyrics/singing, the music is always what I hear first. And I am in the camp that if the music isn't any good, the lyrics are kinda pointless and lost within it. A good example of this is Reflection Eternal's 2nd album. Kweli was spitting all over that album, but I couldn't begin to tell you what about because I can't get through the bland ass beats well enough to actually listen to how hard he's spitting. But from the few times I was able to listen to the album all the way thru, I remember being sad that I would never fully appreciate what Kweli did lyrically on that album because the beats sucked so bad.

----------------------------------------

"Fuck aliens." © WarriorPoet415

  

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Joe Corn Mo
Member since Aug 29th 2010
15139 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 12:35 PM

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3. "there's no such thing as a hit lyric. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

if the music doesn't draw me in first,
i'll never get around to analyzing the lyrics.

even folks thy aren't technically gifted singers (like bob dylan)
still have some kind if musical feel to their songs that draw you in.

the music draws you in,
the lyrics keep you.



and as for the singers,
their sound just has to fit well in the track.
janet and britney "can't sing," but they still
make the vocals fit with the song.

so ultimately, it's about the music.

  

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BrooklynWHAT
Member since Jun 15th 2007
80154 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 01:01 PM

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6. "pretty much"
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

the lyrics are like the cherry on top. not vital, but it helps the presentation.

<--- Big Baller World Order

  

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Garhart Poppwell
Member since Nov 28th 2008
17882 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 12:38 PM

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4. "the combination of both is important"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I don't listen to great lyrics with horrible instrumentation, and vice versa
I need a complete package to really enjoy it

__________________________________________
CHOP-THESE-BITCHES!!!!
------------------------------------
Garhart Ivanhoe Poppwell
Un-OK'd moderator for The Lesson and Make The Music (yes, I do's work up in here, and in your asscrease if you run foul of this

  

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cyrus
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Tue Jun-04-13 12:52 PM

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5. "I somewhat agree"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

... but as I write this it becomes pretty circular.

I love plenty of music with terrible displays of vocal skill, like Bob Dylan and Husker Du. I happen to enjoy their songwriting so I can get past it. Individual lyrics don't positively matter to me much though, it's the rhythm, phrasing, melody, and sound of the words used that matter to me more. Lyrics do matter to me negatively though; while they rarely make a song they can easily ruin it for me.

Conversely, I know plenty of people who feel the exact opposite way I do. Shitty singing and obtuse lyrics drive plenty of people away from plenty of great music and towards something easier on the ears.

And, all that being said, if you don't like the music that goes along with it you won't care how pretty/ awful the lyrics/ singing are.

So, I agree, but I don't, but I still kinda do.

  

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Brew
Member since Nov 23rd 2002
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Tue Jun-04-13 01:08 PM

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7. "Hahaha. Pretty much."
In response to Reply # 5


          

>So, I agree, but I don't, but I still kinda do.

----------------------------------------

"Fuck aliens." © WarriorPoet415

  

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lonesome_d
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Tue Jun-04-13 01:18 PM

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8. "Music's more important, otherwise there'd be no instrumentals ever"
In response to Reply # 0


          

ever being an exaggeration, but there have been smash instrumental hits from Dick Dale to The Sound of Philadelphia to Classical Gas to Popcorn.

(speaking of which... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE)

Interesting side post possibilities:
-Name the Smash Hit instrumentals... how many can we come up with?
-When was the last Smash Hit Instrumental, and what has happened to them?

I think the way I look at it is that good lyrics can seal the deal (NOT make a song, just cement it as 'good'), but bad lyrics can kill a song. Most lyrics however just complement the song, don't make or break it.

That said, it's hard for most people to separate lyrics from the vocal melody.

-------
so I'm in a band now:
album ---> http://greenwoodburns.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud ---> http://soundcloud.com/greenwood-burns

my own stuff -->http://soundcloud.com/lonesomedstringband

avy by buckshot_defunct

  

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imcvspl
Member since Mar 07th 2005
42133 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 01:22 PM

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9. "hmmmmm...."
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

>Interesting side post possibilities:
>-Name the Smash Hit instrumentals... how many can we come up
>with?
>-When was the last Smash Hit Instrumental, and what has
>happened to them?

Combine them into one "Instrumental Smash Hits" post asking the second question in the onset.

>I think the way I look at it is that good lyrics can seal the
>deal (NOT make a song, just cement it as 'good'), but bad
>lyrics can kill a song. Most lyrics however just complement
>the song, don't make or break it.

Great summary.


█▆▇▅▇█▇▆▄▁▃
Big PEMFin H & z's
"I ain't no entertainer, and ain't trying to be one. I am 1 thing, a musician." Miles

"When the music stops he falls back in the abyss."

  

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lonesome_d
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30436 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 01:29 PM

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11. "as such"
In response to Reply # 9


          


>>I think the way I look at it is that good lyrics can seal
>the
>>deal (NOT make a song, just cement it as 'good'), but bad
>>lyrics can kill a song. Most lyrics however just complement
>>the song, don't make or break it.
>
>Great summary.

does this mean that writing good lyrics should be more difficult/dangerous?

-------
so I'm in a band now:
album ---> http://greenwoodburns.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud ---> http://soundcloud.com/greenwood-burns

my own stuff -->http://soundcloud.com/lonesomedstringband

avy by buckshot_defunct

  

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Ashley Ayers
Member since Dec 12th 2009
12331 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 01:22 PM

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10. "It depends on the type of music and whether music or lyrics"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

drop first.

By "type" I don't mean genre tho...

Let me give 3 examples, using 3 songs from the same genre to help
the point.

Exhibit A:
Take "We're All Killaz" by Shock G http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi1AVy49eyA
The music itself doesn't do much for me. The song is even set up
in such a way that his lyrics are what grab your attention before
the music really drops anyway. The lyrics are humorous and thoughtful.
The music is kinda goofy and serves to facilitate that, and it totally works. It's one of my favorite songs. Had the music dropped first
without any lyrics, I might have skipped it or not listened until way later.

Exhibit B:
A song that was just released... "Oil Money Gang" by Rick Ross. https://soundcloud.com/maymaybachmusic/rick-ross-ft-jadakiss-oil
The music drops first and it's already sick as fuck. Ross and Jada's
job is simply to not fuck that up. I'll listen to it just because the
music is that good and the rhymes aren't terrible.

Exhibit C:
"Troy" by Pete Rock & CL Smooth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wEw05-Ef5Q
This begins with a simple horn loop, then some bass, but CL starts
rapping as soon at the beat drops. His lyrics are immediately
introspective and engaging. I remember hearing this when I was
younger and being just as lost in the story as I was in the music.
This is back when I was much more musically focused than lyrically,
so that was quite a feat.

  

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Kosa12
Member since Jul 19th 2006
4965 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 01:42 PM

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12. "i feel like, when it comes to lyrics"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue Jun-04-13 01:43 PM by Kosa12

  

          

my scale is different in rap than it is other genres

mainly because for me it is the genre that focuses(ed?) most on lyrics. And maybe when I say "lyrics" here, I'm probably reffering more to rhyming. like if a rapper cant put words together well i.e gucci mane, wacka flocka, chief keef or some shit like that i really cant listen to them. even if i like thier voice/flow

im probably a "lyrical nerd" or w/e, in ALL genres( i mean, fuck, i wrote my thesis on argentine rock lyrics), but rap more than anything, probably because rap got me into music in general. I love trying to find out what lyrics mean/interpreting them

yes the beat is what draws me in first, but i normally can't fuck with rappers i see as "horrible"

wheras in other genres, if i like the singer and i like the instrumentation, even if the lyrics are weird/i dont understand their meaning......i can still rock with it(probably). I'm not saying I'm not extremely picky with music that isn't rap though (I AM. BELIEVE ME). And there is also the "bob dylan effect" that people that are describing here, I rock with that too.

but obviously at the end of the day, if i hate the music, i wont get to the lyrics in the first place. thats a given

i don't know if i am making sense....but yeah....

----------
https://93millionmilesabove.blogspot.com/
https://rateyourmusic.com/~Kosa12

  

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Ashley Ayers
Member since Dec 12th 2009
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Tue Jun-04-13 01:48 PM

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13. "Anybody else feel like acapellas were overlooked, here? "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

"Music without lyrics is still music, but lyrics without music are poetry. "

That's not true.

Songs like "Untitled" by Terence Trent D'arby
or "Me And A Gun" by Tori Amos
are both great songs with no music at all.

  

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imcvspl
Member since Mar 07th 2005
42133 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 01:50 PM

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14. "Didn't "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye" reach #1"
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

I was thinking about this too.

█▆▇▅▇█▇▆▄▁▃
Big PEMFin H & z's
"I ain't no entertainer, and ain't trying to be one. I am 1 thing, a musician." Miles

"When the music stops he falls back in the abyss."

  

Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
Ashley Ayers
Member since Dec 12th 2009
12331 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 02:04 PM

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16. "Yep, it did. Another great example: Don't Worry, Be Happy."
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

I was wondering if it should be considered music by virtue of the fact
that the person is singing... or at the very least, the background
vocals considered music? I guess is matters whether or not we
consider the voice an instrument.

That could lead to the argument of whether or not even rap becomes
poetry without music, because Lodi Dodi is all voices.

  

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lonesome_d
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Tue Jun-04-13 01:59 PM

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15. "I think you're confusing 'music' and 'instrumentation'"
In response to Reply # 13
Tue Jun-04-13 02:01 PM by lonesome_d

          

an acapella song has a melody, which is music. To have 'no music' it would have to be spoken word, and even then arguments could be made that it would qualify as 'music' due to the rhythm and 'implied melody' (c) the Damaja in the spoken delivery.

the real test here is: Would those songs still be good w/o words?

for an example, try the first part of this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoek1e8t2K4 up through 1:15.

-------
so I'm in a band now:
album ---> http://greenwoodburns.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud ---> http://soundcloud.com/greenwood-burns

my own stuff -->http://soundcloud.com/lonesomedstringband

avy by buckshot_defunct

  

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Ashley Ayers
Member since Dec 12th 2009
12331 posts
Tue Jun-04-13 02:14 PM

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17. "So break this down for me..."
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

>an acapella song has a melody, which is music.

so I got melody = music


>To have 'no
>music' it would have to be spoken word, and even then
>arguments could be made that it would qualify as 'music' due
>to the rhythm and 'implied melody' (c) the Damaja in the
>spoken delivery.

Would you say this is like Lodi Dodi without beatboxing or the
rhymes girls used to say on the playground, etc.?
The only way to remove melody seems to be to just talk, which
not even rap music does.. well, most of it.



>the real test here is: Would those songs still be good w/o
>words?


What are we testing? Whether they're music or not?
What do you mean by "good"? Seems that would be subjective.

  

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lonesome_d
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Tue Jun-04-13 03:10 PM

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19. "the whole question is subjective"
In response to Reply # 17


          

'which is more important to you: the words or the music?'

as I said in my response, a lot of people have trouble maintaining any sort of separation between the words to a song and the melody of that song.

If the words were more important, it seems to me that you'd spend more time reading the lyrics on the inner sleeve (where they exist virtually independent of the music) rather than listening to the record it holds. but that's not what you're asking.

>Would you say this is like Lodi Dodi without beatboxing or
>the
>rhymes girls used to say on the playground, etc.?

No, I generally consider that music too. In fact one of my favorite recordings I've discovered recently IS actually a playground chant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_6IyLSdDYM

>The only way to remove melody seems to be to just talk, which
>not even rap music does.. well, most of it.

>>the real test here is:

>What are we testing?

we're testing whether the words, independent of the music, are as important as or more important than the music. Simply listening to an a capella doesn't create the necessary division between the two to help advance one's thoughts on the matter.

So, sing one of those songs you mentioned, but vocalize sounds not words. Is it still good? Catchy? Does it lose that magic something?

Or, recite the words, or read them on the paper. Do they charge you as much as listening to them in song form does?

-------
so I'm in a band now:
album ---> http://greenwoodburns.bandcamp.com/releases
Soundcloud ---> http://soundcloud.com/greenwood-burns

my own stuff -->http://soundcloud.com/lonesomedstringband

avy by buckshot_defunct

  

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Ashley Ayers
Member since Dec 12th 2009
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Tue Jun-04-13 03:37 PM

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20. "Ah I see what you're saying now."
In response to Reply # 19


  

          

It helped clear up some stuff I was asking in 16 as well.
Your approach to this topic was much more precise than mine, lol.
All good points.

  

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Jakob Hellberg
Member since Apr 18th 2005
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Tue Jun-04-13 03:07 PM

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18. "I think people put too much emphasis on the content of lyrics..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

Words have a ''sound''-an "a" sounds different from an ''o''. I'm fairly sure several big hits would have been lesser hits with different lyrics even if they have the same melody without even taking the content/meaning into consideration even if it's hard to prove (and no, I'm not counting songs in different languages that gets translated).

Also, there's a rhythmic quality to words that go beyond the ''sound''; certain melodies will sound rhythmically awkward with certain words; the singer will have to ''bend'' the words to fit the melody rhythmically which can work but it can also sound shit and then there's also the way a singer enunciate a word vs the way another singer do it.

TONS of factors basically and I'm not sure they are major but they are definitely not irrelevant...

  

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