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  1. Lyrics vs. Music

    #829202014-09-25 12:30:10 *Ecstasy said:

    What is more important: lyrics or music?

    Now, I know the popular opinion is that music is more important. It just seems way more cool to be able to pass your feeling or emotion thorough some sounds, without saying a word. And besides, many people think that it's easier to write lyrics than compose music. And also there is classical music, which rarely uses any words. Music just seems to be... more spectacular.

    For a long time I agreed with this. But the more I think about it, the more my opinion changes. Being able to write good lyrics (and not just any lyrics) is more work than it seems. It takes practice, just like playing an instrument. And professional singing requires just as much talent and work. From my perspective, you could even call your voice an instrument.

    When we look at lyrics together with singing, it becomes very similar to music. It's composed of sounds and it has a message and it has its rhythm. Music is supposed to compliment the voice in many songs, like a supportive element, it's supposed to create the best atmosphere for comprehending the lyrics.

    But what I mean here are, of course, good songs with actual meaning. Some catchy pop-stuff doesn't really have to have any sort of a system, it just has to be catchy. But it still requires some knowledge and work to make such a song. And in the end it's the catchy lyrics which gets in your head. It starts to spin there over and over and it doesn't even matter if you like the song or not.

    There are even two ways of writing a song. Some people start with lyrics and some people start with music. And then there is a whole genre where lyrics is really dominant (though, I'm not a big fan of it, but rap does exist).

    There are many more details about the whole thing, but the more I think about it, the more it seems to me that it's just impossible to decide which one is more important. I guess because they are supposed to work together, but let me know what you think.

  2. #829212014-09-25 12:36:37 *Lieutenant said:

    Usually people would say that lyrics and music should balanced each other out, which yeah pretty much. But in my opinion, people would usually listen to the music first before reading the lyrics. There are good songs with shitty lyrics, and vice versa.

    While there are a lot of good songs, it's not that easy finding a good lyrics, especially in the time we're living in (if you even bother to listen to contemporary music nowadays), even a lot of good songs have only a common/normal types of lyrics. As for me, I like the lyrics to be understood directly, poems are okay but I don't really like those really hard ones I can't understand.

    Sometimes, when we consider a song sounds good, the lyrics would automatically sounds good too. Well of course different people have different opinion. It's kind of funny there are also songs that don't actually go well with the lyrics but hey people do what they like.

    People also tend to have this habit of finding a good song and listen to them until they're bored of it. Until one time where he/she decides to read lyrics of each musics. Yes they will pay attention to the lyrics depending on their mood, whether they want to share with people, or usually when they're really in the negative or positive state, rarely when they're in neutral mode where they just want to enjoy the music instead of the lyrics.

  3. #829222014-09-25 12:47:18Kirn said:

    Well, I mostly pick music for... lyrics. The reason for me is pretty simple - I tend to learn the songs I like, and I tend to sing them when I walk somewhere. (Yeah, if you are in my city, and there's some guy on the street, looking like he is going somewhere to do proper work, singling 'Still Alive' - that's me) But then again, just lyrics without music are no good either. Song is tied to the music, music is tied to the song. And then there's the fact that I like acapella singing, which has no music at all, and I am a fan of orchestral music where there is no singing. By the way, before you ask, I do not like opera music. Fuck it.

    So yeah... I won't pick a vote here, cause I think both are somewhat equally important, though I will say that for me lyrics are probably a bit more important.

  4. #829242014-09-25 12:59:35Kuro-tan said:

    Music can bring out emotion and character without the need for lyrical accompaniment. Although, it depends on what you are feeling at the time and for all I know; you may feel the need to have someone sing something to you and I have no problem with that opinion.

    To me, music of all sorts of genres can bring out a certain emotion. Sure, lyrics can improve that emotion by 100% but lyrics are not mandatory to create an emotional piece. The instrumentals can bring out this emotion for you so lyrics in my opinion aren't really necessary in terms of music.

    I know that some of you won't agree with this but this is just my take on the whole thing. Neither answer is right or wrong anyway.

  5. #829252014-09-25 13:21:07 *Ecstasy said:


    people would usually listen to the music first before reading the lyrics

    Assuming people know English well, they won't really need to read the lyrics. Personally, I listen to the whole song first, so both music and lyrics.

    While there are a lot of good songs, it's not that easy finding a good lyrics, especially in the time we're living in

    Well, imo lyrics don't have to be complicated. It can be really simple, but just get that point across and I'd call it good as long as it matches the song itself. I don't really think that the majority of lyrics are bad nowadays, at least not in the music I listen to. But the mass pop-music - yeah, you can find a lot of trash in there (and in other genres as well).

    And yeah some lyrics just sound weird without music, but I guess it doesn't really make them bad.


    I won't pick a vote here, cause I think both are somewhat equally important

    The poll is multi-choice in case people want to upvote both.


    Music can bring out emotion and character without the need for lyrical accompaniment.

    Not all of it. A good example here can be the famous Ride of the Valkyries. A big part of this piece is the name of the song. You imagine Valkyries only because they are mentioned in the name of the piece. If it wasn't for this name, you could imagine anything else really, starting from a bee swarm to Attack on Titans. This one word already has enough power to set up your imagination.

    And then there is Carmina Burana (O Fortuna). Would the song be the same epic without the lyrics?

  6. #829282014-09-25 13:56:30Kip said:

    i absolutely cannot stand the repetitive idiocy that comes out of Taylor Swifts mouth.

    her new song has a great beat, and if i could find an instrumental i would put it on my ipod, but the lyrics are just far too distracting. it gets me thinking "there's no way somebody could be this stupid and petty" but there she is, in all of her scumbag glory, yet again making another song about her ex boyfriends.

    i really can't stand it. lyrics are much more important to me than the sound of the music, if a song has trashy lyrics it completely turns me off from whatever i'm listening to. and if a song has bad lyrics AND bad music? forget it, i'm out completely.

    it's very hard for me to get into a song that has good music but shit lyrics somebody wrote for it. like, if i'm gonna be listening to a song because i like the music, eventually i'm going to have to stop tuning out whatever words the person is singing. and then after i realize i dislike the lyrics, the rest of the song just starts to sound awful too.

  7. #829342014-09-25 14:26:12Kuro-tan said:

    I don't see her talking about her ex-boyfriends in this song (finally!!!) which makes me happy. But talking about them "haters" is just as stupid too.

    Also, The beat is just generic as hell which makes me sad.

  8. #829362014-09-25 14:35:15Kip said:

    @effect i haven't listened to it yet, i've been hearing a lot of negative things about the lyrics tho.

    @Rinneko BLESS YOU RINN


    I go on too many dates [chuckle]

    But I can't make 'em stay

    At least that's what people say, mmm-mmm


    'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play

    Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break

    And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake


    Hey, hey, hey

    Just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,

    You could've been getting down to this sick beat.


    My ex-man brought his new girlfriend

    She's like "Oh, my god!" but I'm just gonna shake.

    it's basically her singing a song to all the people giving her shit for writing songs about her exboyfriends and being awful

  9. #829382014-09-25 14:48:08Kirn said:

    With the previous post conversation, I feel we really need something with nice meaningful words here now.

  10. #829402014-09-25 15:01:08Kirn said:

    Also, speaking of music, there's this popular theory, that all the hits are pretty much just the same music with different words:

  11. #829412014-09-25 15:15:29Dark-B said:

    I only care about the beat when it is able to portray the emotions and meaning it's supposed to portray. I care about the lyrics. If the lyrics are great, I would then care about the beat if it's synced with it. It's two sides of the same coin for me. But I tend to actually focus on the voices more, tbh, when I listen to a song the first time. Then, after, If It drew enough of my attention I'll re-listen to it and focus on the lyrics, which usually disappoints cause I really see a lot of generic lyrics nowadays on everything, not a lot of specific details, especially with pop artists. If you wonder what I mean, is that it really feels when a repetitive topic is sang about, it seems like they just fill in lines with too vague and simple lyrics, unlike creating different versions and being more detailed and creative.

    Now, for examples. I actually had a song or two in mind but couldn't wrap my head around what they were, but I can share how I love Queen for talking about subjects like love, happiness and even sadness and emptiness with creative lyrics and fun imagery. A love song from Queen usually has creativity and nice portrayal of what it is, and often I find it is more enjoyable because of it.

  12. #829472014-09-25 16:56:07Rinneko said:

    I believe that both lyrics and music are equally important.

    When I listen to a song, I first pay attention to the lyrics. If they are meaningful to me, I would generally like the song better. However, it's also important that the music and the lyrics flow well together. The music has to be able to portray the significance of the lyrics well, and synchronise smoothly.

    Thus, it all boils down to both lyrics and music being harmonious with each other for me.

  13. #829492014-09-25 17:04:25 *Ecstasy said:


    I know exactly what you mean.

    Primack analyzed Billboard magazine's top songs of 2005 with a complex coding process to determine degrading and non-degrading sexual references. In the study, called "Degrading and Non-degrading Sex in Popular Music: A Content Analysis," he found that 103 of the 297 songs referenced sexual activity. Out of those, degrading references occurred 65 percent of the time, whereas non-degrading lyrics occurred 36 percent of the time.

    Additionally, songs with references to degrading sex also were more likely to include references to substance use, violence and weapons.

    In an analysis performed by the Deseret News, nine of the top 20 Billboard hits of 2011 contained an overall theme of sex and explicit sexual references throughout the entire song, ... The top 20 songs contained at least 40 references to sex or a sexual act and more than 50 references to a short-term hookup. ...

    Those 20 songs also contained between 30 and 40 references to either alcohol, drugs or violence.....


    It's like "sex. drugs and rock-n-roll", just without the rock part.

    and I do love Queen as well

    But you also mention vague lyrics and I have to say that my favorite band's concept is to go for vague lyrics, creating this kinda emotion as opposed to actually describing events or a certain topic and I really like the way they do it. I'm not going to put it up as an example, because they are Japanese, but I'll leave this one here instead:

    Also let's not forget about musicals. Nobody would be able to tell what's going on in those if they had no lyrics.

  14. #829512014-09-25 17:53:33mizlily said:

    I tend to gravitate to things that just sounds good to me, whether it's a song with or without music. The lyrics of a song doesn't have to be written in a way that has a deep meaning. Sometime I listen to songs which I don't even understand the lyrics to.

  15. #830092014-09-27 05:17:12MrTrain said:

    Music is more important to me, I tend to listen to the music with vocals as an instrument that contributes to the overall sound. This is a big reason of why the music I listen to varies widely in genre and why there are many songs I listen to that I don't understand the lyrics of or have bad lyrics. I don't often care about lyrics unless I'm about to sing the song.

  16. #831832014-10-03 16:33:12Slyter said:

    Although I enjoy good lyrics I'm going to have to go with music on this one.

    Listening to instrumentals is a bit like reading a book for me. I'd be able to imagine my own scene and maybe think of some possible lyrics along the way. Adding lyrics to that would be like making the book into a film; leaving less to the imagination and forming a more clear picture of where it's going or what it's trying to do/say.

    That's not always a bad thing though, sometimes the lyrics are so well done with the music that you just can't imagine it being done better in any other way.

    In any case I enjoy good instrumentals more than lyrics because I can listen to it several times and come up with a different reading most times.

  17. #833442014-10-07 14:10:02Kirn said:

    You know, today my belief was seriously shaken. Was walking through the central street of my city. I hear music, I go forward. I see a street band - 1 drummer, 2 guitars, 2 trumpets. And they were doing music from popular songs, without any singing at all. I didn't have much time, but I stayed to listen to one song (Океан Эльзы - Моя Машина, just for Ecstasy, cause she will understand that). As I told, no lyrics, just music... but they way they did it, it sounded more powerful than the original, and at some points it really grabbed my very soul. Hell, I was so moved, I almost gave them money!

    So yeah, as much as I like lyrics, I can't underestimate raw music...

  18. #833512014-10-07 17:11:17Ecstasy said:

    Live music involves the open energy of a musician, so it can be a lot better than a recording. This is exactly why people go to concerts. But also there are certain bands who sound better on a recording because they don't know how to perform.

  19. #833552014-10-07 18:11:15Kirn said:

    open energy of a musician

    I do feel, it was mostly that what I heard today. Mostly the trumpets, actually. Two young guys, actively moving as they play, and bringing out damn fine sound. I am actually really sorry I didn't stay there longer to listen. But then again, I do walk past that place often.

  20. #833582014-10-07 18:22:47 *Ecstasy said:

    I've been on some concerts which made me feel like I was on drugs. With the withdrawal symptoms after. I still wish I could return to some of them. oh the 16th December 2010, oh the 25th May 2014, please, take me back...

  21. #833492014-10-07 16:14:52--Jack-- said:

    Even if a song has lyrics, it doesn't matter if it sounds bad in the end.

    Caution, the following example is horrible:

  22. #833502014-10-07 16:39:37 *Cenica said:

    I would like to say both are equally important but after thinking on it I don't think that's quite true.
    Both music and lyrics on their own can be poorly written and ruin a song.
    By music I include the sounds in a song. This includes vocals and instrumentals. Why I do this? Because vocals are music. Vocalists use their voices as instruments. They have to hit high and low notes; blending their own sound with the chorus of instruments, and they are often given sheet music to read from. Lyrics are merely the words on the paper, by dictionary definition. That said a song without music isn't really a song anymore. It's more of a poem.
    Also, I've personally found I'm more likely to quit listening to a song if the music is poorly written or too repetitive while still being able to listen to a song with poor lyrics if it has good music. In fact I've often found that people don't really pay much attention to lyrics in a song with a good beat and on learning what the lyrics actually say they're quite surprised.
    It's these thoughts that make me think music is more important than lyrics.

  23. #833532014-10-07 18:05:50Ecstasy said:

    @Cenica this makes a lot of sense.

    I was kinda trying to make this point in the OP with

    you could even call your voice an instrument.

    The thing here, though, is that you can't just sing any words, they need to be rhymed and follow a certain pace. Which isn't as easy to achieve. It's like composing the music, but here you don't only have sounds, but also words with actual meaning. Sure you can just put some meaningless stuff in it and many people will still listen to it, but there are songs which really impress me with the way the lyrics are written. Not only they can sound dynamically in a song but they also have some deep meaning. For example:

    (I wanted to bring another example, but I decided to go with something more classic because a lot of songs are dependant on your music taste).

    So yeah, there is a difference between vocals and lyrics, even though they are technically the same thing, but you do sing the lyrics in the end.

  24. #839062014-10-24 05:05:42 *Deftones said:

    I'd say if it's done right, both lyrics and instrumental can invoke strong feelings. There is a drum solo that Mario from gojira does, its passionate and technical, and reminds me of pagan drum beats and fear of the unknown, spiritual and deep. Like he is summoning old spirits from ages lost. Shit is godly.

  25. #839252014-10-24 23:00:25 *Ecstasy said:

    @Deftones Mario kinda makes me wanna cry evrytiem, because the gap between his skill and mine is so big it could probably fit all yo-mama-so-fat jokes and there still would be plenty of space left. At the same time, he really inspires me to get my ass off the couch and practice.