How much do lyrics matter to you?

SergiuM

Senior Member
I've come to realize this over a period of time, but when i listen to (most) music, I don't really care about the lyrics.. For me, the vocalist is another instrument just like the rest of the band. Again, this applies to MOST and not ALL songs I listen to, some songs have much more meaningful lyrics than others, particularly in church. How do you guys view lyrics?
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
We must have gone to the same school.
There are very few songs that I know the lyrics to.
When I was in my teens I listened to lyrics.
I am in my 50's now and I only pick up phrases here and there.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I also tend to listen to the music rather than lyrics. There are songs I've played a thousand times, and I still don't know the lyrics!

Bermuda
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
It depends on the music. Mostly, they don't matter much to me, because I can enjoy music without knowing the lyrics. But when I'm listening to a great songwriter, then they can be a huge part of what I love about a song. Lyrics count for a lot when I'm listening to artists like Dylan and Springsteen, for example.
 

lsits

Gold Member
Depends. Sometimes lyrics are an integral part of the song, for instance in a John Prine tune. Other times they are just so much filler, "Get Down Tonight" for example. I'll play most anything but usually my favorite songs to listen to have meaningful lyrics.

Luckily, I'm not in a position where I've needed to play hip-hop.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I used to think I was pretty well versed in lyrics for a drummer. But this Saturday I was over to a friend's house, rehearsing for a two-man show we're about to do for New Years, and bravely volunteered to sing a few backups here and there to help fill out the sound. Hmm, might be a good time to fess up... I don't know that many lyrics!
 

FITM

Member
For me, it's always music, no lyrics. When I make an attempt to compose, I can never get through the lyrics, and I'm the type that composes the music around the lyrics.

Personally, with any song though, music or lyrics, I need a great hook.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
I'm a big lyrics fan.

Even though I generally don't know most the words, I do hear the vocals and content as a huge part of the music. They are at least 30% of the song, sometimes more.

When I compose, I sometimes start with lyrics.

I tend to compose cheesy, boy/girl love pop songs, probably because they have been drilled into my brain since I was 10.

I generally write 10 lines and throw away 9 of them for being too ryhmey or cliche. My latest effort is about looking for the perfect girl and my favorite line so far is:...... She's a teacher, she's a stripper she's a C E O. ........ She can dance, she can sing, she can ro de o

Pure unadulterated pop cheese. :)
 
Last edited:

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Staff member
For me the same. I love good music and the lyric/voice for me is only a musical instrument. If the Beatles sing Michelle or Annabella doesn't matter much to me and i don't care.

For intelligent lyrics or ideas i prefer books or magazines or newspapers - just for reading - hopefully not sung...

Bernhard
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I love a good lyric as much as the next man, but at the end of the day I have to run with the heard and say that it certainly ain't the be all and end all for me. The way the vocals are used......the melody, the harmony, the vocal lines, the phrasing etc......are far more important for me than what is actually being said.

Whilst D&M like Dylan can be "shivers down the spine" fantastic, it's far from a requirment for me to be able to enjoy. The nonsensical ramblings of a guy like Kiedis can be just as effective as far as my listening pleasure is concerned.
 
Last edited:

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
Pretty much every band I've been in which wrote its own music would go for months before I knew any lyrics to a given song beyond the chorus (if it had one) or even the title. I put this down to (a) only ever really concentrating on the bass player in the early stages of a band, and (b) the poor quality of vocal mics and PAs in most rehearsal rooms I've been in over the years.

It was only when a band came to record and I could hear the vocals in isolation that I ever paid much attention to the actual words being sung - often I was pleasantly surprised as the real lyrics typically made more sense than the ones I had made up from the muffled mess I habitually heard.

There was a TV panel show in the UK a while back called Never Mind the Buzzcocks [still going apparently] that used to have a segment called "The Indecipherable Lyrics Round". Contestants were played pop songs that had hard-to-hear lyrics and had to make up what they thought the words might be. I think my favourite ever was when Mark Lamarr introduced the Whitney Houston song "I'm Shaving Off My Muff for You".
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
I found learning the lyrics has helped me tremendously to know the melodies of many, many, many songs from the Jazz Standards repertoire. By doing so, I've never had issues playing any of these tunes on gigs.

Do they matter? I can go either way with instrumental versus not but I like them both equally when done by a master.
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
I love a good instrumental. I think that they're sorely underrated. They happen[ed] all the time in jazz, but rock is stuck with that no good poseur standing in front needing something to do. But when a good instrumental happens, it can become a classic.
What I don't get is why more bands don't try it. You don't have the same restrictions on you when you're following a lyric path, and you can really stretch. I'm not talking about getting all proggy with it, but a full-blown, real live instrumental.

I come and go with singers, lyrics and vocals. I never remember lyrics, even to my own songs. And sure, I can sing 'em, but I don't think I was put on this planet to sing. And I've paid my dues as a guest singer. I'd rather be playing drums.

I'm one of those guys who can hear a song and think it says "scuze me while I kiss this guy".....
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
Depends on the artist/band. I really enjoy the lyrics of bands like Pain of Salvation or Agalloch. I also really like some jazz standards when they are sung like Fly Me To The Moon and Autumn in New York.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Depends very much on the music I listen, which often depends on my frame of mind...

Bands I listen to like Yes, Morrissey/The Smiths, Marillion and the likes...the lyrics are so wonderfully and beautifully crafted that to not listen to them, know them, and understand (or try to in the case of Yes) them is to miss a huge chunk of what the music is all about. It's almost like the lyrics come first, and the music is there just to support that.

Other bands...the Beatles, my punk rock collection, a lot of rock music....the lyrics are often sort of 'meh'...not important to me....because the music is guitar, or drum driven....the lyrics seem to be not so critical....I can get quite irritated by Beatles lyrics on their early albums because it all seems to be the same old bullshit....but I listen nevertheless because I love the band and the music.

Even then of course you are sometimes taken by surprise...I'm a fan of the Dead Kennedy's....the rasping cynicism in some of their lyrics....fantastic....the words NEED to be heard and NEED to be understood.

And of course, as someone below points out, some music doesn't have lyrics and I love some of that stuff equally....some great old 60s+ instrumentalist bands like the Shadows, the Ventures, etc. That stuff really doesn't need ANY lyrics...it stands on it's own two feet. I listen to Wonderful Life at least three times a week....amazing stuff.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I love a good instrumental. I think that they're sorely underrated. They happen[ed] all the time in jazz, but rock is stuck with that no good poseur standing in front needing something to do. But when a good instrumental happens, it can become a classic.
What I don't get is why more bands don't try it. You don't have the same restrictions on you when you're following a lyric path, and you can really stretch. I'm not talking about getting all proggy with it, but a full-blown, real live instrumental.

I come and go with singers, lyrics and vocals. I never remember lyrics, even to my own songs. And sure, I can sing 'em, but I don't think I was put on this planet to sing. And I've paid my dues as a guest singer. I'd rather be playing drums.

I'm one of those guys who can hear a song and think it says "scuze me while I kiss this guy".....
Wholly agree with you on the instrumental....
Love them..
I find they talk to me sometimes like songs with lyrics don't....I don't always need to be 'told', by the use of lyrics, what a song is saying.
Hope this rambling nonsense from me makes sense..
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Lyrics to me are why the song was written, so yes I place high importance on them. Their content defines my approach to the song. Like I want to know what emotion is behind the lyrics, so I can better match a drum part to the song. So I'm definitely clued in to what the lyrics are saying.
 

Witterings

Silver Member
It was my 14 year old boy that made me realize how little I listened to lyrics in songs, I liked the song Hold On by Wilson Philips as it had so much energy it sounded like a summer happy driving with the roof down feel to it type of song and I asked my boy if he liked it and he said No because it's so depressing.
He also doesn't like Adele or James Blunt for exactly the same reason as their lyrics are all sad so it made me listen to them and made me aware that I listen to the tune not the lyrics.

The one band I have picked up I quite like the lyrics of though is The Script, some of them are quite clever, in Breakeven I like the line you took the suitcase and I took the blame - great line along with many others in a number of their songs including If You See Kay.
 
Top