I Disagree: The Importance Of Lyrics

9 Responses

  1. Guante says:

    NEITHER OF THESE PIECES ARE INFLAMMATORY ENOUGH SO I THINK EVERY COMMENT SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS.

  2. DJ PETE says:

    I DIDN’T EVEN READ THIS BUT I’LL COMMENT IN ALL CAPS.

  3. AMY KUE says:

    “Music with bad lyrics is like a one-night stand: it can still be a lot of fun, but it’s not anything close to true love.”

    I WANTED TO RETYPE THAT IN ALL CAPS BUT I’M TOO LAZY AND IT’S EASIER TO CUT AND PASTE. BUT I DID WANT TO SAY THAT I LIKED THAT STATEMENT. AND THE KIND OF LIKE YOU CAN LIKE ON FACEBOOK. AND THE KIND OF LIKE THAT MAKES THAT A NON-ONE-NIGHT STAND TYPE OF STATEMENT.

    THESE WORDS IN CAPS ARE SCARY.

  4. I guess I feel like lyrics (in songs that contain them) cannot and should not be divorced from the music of a song. Lyrics are are neither an additional instrument, nor simple text that gets paired with a piece of music (though it has certain properties in common with both these things), but rather they are intricately woven into the fabric of a song and help to define it.

    And it’s a two-way street. Lyrics do not stand on their own separate from delivery, tone, melody, the notes they are being played over, rhythm, or anything else. A change in any of these factors can reshape the entire meaning or context of a song. (For that matter, so can the title, the time period it was written or is being listened to in, the content and style of other songs on the album, and a host of other things that are beyond the scope of this discussion)

    Frankly, some of the best lyrics in my opinion are ones that would hardly mean anything at all if you just read them from a page, but which come to full life and clear meaningfulnes only when they are infused with the music meant to accompany them. Or–again at its best–lyrical music can express emotions and ideas that have no expression in straightforward grammar and written or spoken language. A sort of expressionistic or impressionistic soulfulness. In fact this is the essence of the very best soul & R&B music.

    Van Morrison is a master at this, and for that reason is one of my favorite artists and performers. His 1974 live double-album “It’s Too Late to Stop Now” is perhaps the greatest testament to this lyrical approach, and it’s very fitting that it’s a live album because the band (the 11-piece Caledonia Soul Orchestra) really responds and enhances the lyrics in a living way, and they are delivered in a living way that brings out the essence of the songs.

    Never underestimate the ability of a well-placed, horn-punctuated “Good God!” or “Mama!” to outstrip the most unique, heartfelt, and verbose confession of sentiment in terms of depth, meaning, and effect when executed in the right context.

  5. DREW says:

    THE ONLY THING THAT I DIDN’T LIKE WAS JON’S DISS OF KANYE WEST, ON THE BASIS THAT HIS LYRICS WERE LACKING, WHILE IN THE VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH HE PROCEEDS TO TALK ABOUT SOME GUY NAMED ODB THAT HE ABSOLUTELY LOVES AND APPARENTLY HAS TERRIBLE LYRICS. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE?

    MUSIC CAN BE BROKEN INTO MANY CATEGORIES. CATCHINESS, TONE, MUSICIANSHIP, LYRICISM, HARMONY, RHYTHM, THE LIST IS ENDLESS. AND I FEEL AS IF THEIR WEIGHTS SHOULD BE DISTRIBUTED DEPENDING ON THE GENRE, AS GUANTE ARGUES. YOU CAN’T HAVE A CHORAL ARRANGEMENT THAT ALWAYS USES THE AMEN BREAK, AND YOU CAN’T HAVE A ROCK BAND SHOW UP ONSTAGE WITH A CD PLAYER.

    THE BIG THING IS, I DON’T SEE HOW ANYTHING BUT LYRICISM WOULD BE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST FOR HIP-HOP. I JUST DON’T. HIP-HOP HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE, AND LYRICISM IS ITS DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC. YOU CAN TAKE AWAY TURNTABLES, TAKE AWAY INSTRUMENTS, AND JUST BRING IT ALL DOWN TO A BORING-ASS FOUR-TO-THE-FLOOR DRUM MACHINE, AND YOU STILL CAN HAVE GOOD HIP-HOP WHEN YOU INTRODUCE GOOD LYRICS. THAT’S NOT TO SAY THAT ALL OTHER FACETS ARE UNNECESSARY, BUT THEY JUST AREN’T AS IMPORTANT.

  6. Your view is kinda cool. Never looked at it that way.

  7. Doe says:

    Lyrics can and do stand on their own.

    If people want you to be dumb, you better wise up and wonder why that is.

  1. August 28, 2012

    […] it is said in the ‘Reviler: I disagree: The Importance Of Lyrics post’: “MCs are constantly pushing themselves: write more songs, come up with more complex rhyme […]

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