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The music, or the lyrics?
Old 01-09-2011, 06:43 PM   #1
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Default The music, or the lyrics?

When I listen to a song, for me, the most important thing is the music itself.

I can listen to and really enjoy a song that has crap for lyrics if the music is good.

But if there was a song that had the best lyrics in the world but the music was crap, I just can't listen to it.

What's your stance on this?
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:13 PM   #2
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I'd have to agree. I'm sure I could think of an instance where one or the other doesn't hold true, but overall... yeah, it's the music that matters. Of course, what one person says is good music may differ wildly from what another person says is good, but I imagine the same tenet would still hold true for either of them.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:47 PM   #3
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I grew up liking classical music. For all the posturing about how great and virtuosic and refined classical music is, the lyrics (or libretto, or whatever) can be pretty crappy. Once I got into rock (in the mid 70's) it was progressive rock, and those lyrics could be pretty good to a young geek at the time, more about fantasy and science fiction and mythology than about all the slobbery love stuff or the party all night stuff. But those lyrics in retrospect are pretty naive and some are downright nonsensical, but the music is still phenomenal!

Along came the 80's with the back to basics movements of punk and new wave. But some bands were still about the music. The Cocteau Twins nearly invented the shoegazer style, brimming with synthy guitar effects and bizarre atmosphere. Their incredible singer Elizabeth Frazier didn't even sing in any language exactly, though it was sort of English -- sometimes. Mostly it was evocative syllables in a semi-English language perhaps even she didn't understand. So again the music was great -- the lyrics, not so much.

So I've always been more interested in the music. If the lyrics are great too, so much the better. (Examples of this would Jethro Tull, though that is way unfashionable these days. I don't particularly care.) Bob Dylan is said to have written great genius songs, but I never had and never will have a Bob Dylan album. May as well read poetry as to have to listen to that. Also you won't find me listening to all these indy song writers with their acoustic guitars, skinny ties, and angsty empathy, who all sound alike, as if they bore even themselves. I don't care how poignant their lyrics if the music doesn't express it.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:41 PM   #4
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Well I love Bob Dylan but I love his music, too.

It's always music first, I think, it's what captures your attention before you even hear the lyrics or pay attention to what they are singing. And probably half of my favorite music is either purely instrumental or the lyrics are meaningless. Probably more than half when you think about how many are made up of rather shallow lyrics.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:45 PM   #5
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This really says it all.

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Old 01-10-2011, 12:06 AM   #6
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Half the time when I'm singing a song I have no clue what the lyrics are anyway.
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:44 AM   #7
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Proof positive that lots of people misunderstand lyrics...

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Old 01-10-2011, 01:05 AM   #8
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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For me it's equally both. If a song has lyrics, doesn't matter how good the music is, if I don't like the lyrics that kills the song for me. If the lyrics are great but the music sounds dischordant to me, I don't like it.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:32 AM   #10
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I agree (with Fmeh)... to an extent. Bad lyrics are one thing, but extremely bad lyrics make me embarrassed to listen to good music even when alone. If the words are too clear I'm continually facepalming and have to turn it off.
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