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Your Lyrics Aren't Nearly As Important As You Think They Are


Matximus

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And this bums me out in the worst way because I'm sadly way better with words than I am with music...which just depresses me so.

 

But seriously. Don't worry about the words so much. Worry about the song.

The words don't have to be good. They only need to be as good as the song requires...

 

I say this because I was trying to cover one of my favorite songs last night - Daylight by Matt & Kim - I understand maybe every fourth word that cat is saying. And I can't cover it because I can't repeat what he's saying... It's madness... the words are terrible... "In the Daylight I don't Pick Up My Phone" - that's all he needed...that's tight... he coulda babbled the rest of the thing...

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And this bums me out in the worst way because I'm sadly way better with words than I am with music...which just depresses me so.


But seriously. Don't worry about the words so much. Worry about the song.

The words don't have to be good. They only need to be as good as the song requires...


I say this because I was trying to cover one of my favorite songs last night - Daylight by Matt & Kim - I understand maybe every fourth word that cat is saying. And I can't cover it because I can't repeat what he's saying... It's madness... the words are terrible... "In the Daylight I don't Pick Up My Phone" - that's all he needed...that's tight... he coulda babbled the rest of the thing...

Maybe yours aren't.

 

:D

 

 

I think, just because many of us -- myself included -- often occasionally enjoy some vocal music that has pretty forgettable or ignorable lyrics and probably even find ourselves surprised, on later inspection, to find that some old favorite actually has good lyrics that we never even noticed, doesn't mean that no one ever pays attention to lyrics.

 

In fact, for me, while I can enjoy a song with dumb lyrics, they can often wreck my enjoyment, depending on, I guess, how they're dumb. ;)

 

 

Now, I'm interpreting important, in this case in terms of criteria for my enjoyment.

 

If we're talking about the kind of importance one might attach to The Odyssey or the works of Shakespeare are now considered important, and you're talking specifically about my lyrics, well, yeah. :D

 

I even wrote a song about it, right in this BB, "This Song's About My Baby," which had this to say about itself:

 

this song won't

end no wars

this song won't save the world

this song is just

another song

about some guy

who lost some girl

it's not the end of the world

And, you know, that about sums up most of my work. ;)

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I tend to write the best lyrics when they're just an afterthought. I never got the hang of "songwriting" in the strict sense of writing verse-hook-bridge structured songs that tell stories and stuff, so I just let the words go where they go.

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If we're talking about the kind of
importance
one might attach to The Odyssey or the works of Shakespeare are now considered important, and you're talking specifically about
my
lyrics, well,
yeah.
:D

 

Don't over high-brow Shakespeare, much of his writing had roots in drinking, fighting and sex. :thu: And enough politic to get the favour of the noblesse so he could continue to write.

 

Not all good songs have deep meaningful lyrics, but there ain't nothing wrong to deep meaningful lyrics, which add an additional depth which some audiences, and a fair number of song writers strive for.

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A good song takes on a life of its own that can become much greater than the sum of it parts. When I am deep into a song that is really moving me I am not actively listening to the words.....I am riding the wave.

 

I love words, particularly this quirky English language of ours. It can be so playful and offer so many ways to flirt with an idea.......even more so in the context of a song where the melody and beat seriously expand the playground.

 

All of that said........my lyrics are very important to me. I want to bring you, my listener, right into the little tableau that I am creating and I'm not a good enough player to do it with the music alone.

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...he coulda babbled the rest of the thing...

 

 

OK. But Paul Simon couldn't of babbled Troubled Waters. Of even Phil and Don doing Wake Up Little Susie. Or... the Shirelles singing:

 

Tonight you're mine completely

You give you love so sweetly

Tonight the light of love is in your eyes

But will you love me tomorrow?

 

Couldn't babble that and have it hit every girl in America over head with a great connection. So, actaully, I disagree. Words and music.

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And this bums me out in the worst way because I'm sadly way better with words than I am with music...which just depresses me so.


But seriously. Don't worry about the words so much. Worry about the song.

The words don't have to be good. They only need to be as good as the song requires...

 

 

Words connect the listener to the song.

Words can impact a simple song with no substance.

A really good/weird haunting voice can almost make anything sound good.

The singer's *isms* also play a role in this.

 

The cranberries wrote simple-poopy songs and her voice

in each B side was just delicious to listen to (just an example)

 

It sounds like you write the music first then write lyrics?

This can be considered back-asswards (then again I do it too) :facepalm:

 

Still, an idea, feeling or event will give good direction.

Maybe you missed my post on the matter? lol;)

 

 

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showpost.php?p=41320497&postcount=12

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I say this because I was trying to cover one of my favorite songs last night - Daylight by Matt & Kim - I understand maybe every fourth word that cat is saying. And I can't cover it because I can't repeat what he's saying... It's madness... the words are terrible... "In the Daylight I don't Pick Up My Phone" - that's all he needed...that's tight... he coulda babbled the rest of the thing...

 

 

Make up your own words and cover the song anyway if you really like it. If you can't understand what he's saying, odds are no one else will know any better, either. And if they do, let them correct you after the set is over.

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Why do you think Simon's a "genius songwriter"?


He hits hard. He does with me. You might see Troubled Waters as trite. I don't. But that's cool. I love the way his words are supported by the music, together creating magic. Magic to me, not the "equivalent of babbling".


Babbling completely rules out any possible verbal element. A great lyric is there to fly on the music. Sorry for the triteness, but lot's of people get moved by this stuff.


Me too.


But OK, you don't like that one. That's cool. What does that have to do with the importance of lyrics? Your point has more to do with my lack of ability to connect with you. Waters is a bad example in your case I guess.


So, let me just add, the synergy between a lyric and its music is not something that can be isolated. It is
synergistic.
The words "Sail on silver girl" are no great shakes. But when coupled (exponentially) with a great melody... it's magic. And it says something far beyond
sail on silver girl
.


Now,
the wind beneath my wings
is trite. In that case I'd go for the babbling.

 

 

Agreed but if someone doesn't yet see your point of view

you're essentially sounding alien, make sense?

 

 

But being synergistic isn't the rule nor the norm.

The artist, the vibe and talent have a lot to do with it also.

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Agreed but if someone doesn't yet see your point of view

you're essentially sounding alien, make sense?



But being synergistic isn't the rule nor the norm.

The artist, the vibe and talent have a lot to do with it also.

 

I don't understand you...

 

 

Just kidding. ;) Yes, I get that.

 

And this... "being synergistic isn't the rule nor the norm."... well, it may not be the norm, but it sure is a wonderful gold standard.

 

I don't want to analyze crap. I look to the greats to inform me. The greats use words and music together. You can't isolate them or evaluate them separately. Well, you can, but it's misguided and a waste of time.

 

They are one.

 

Just cause crap exists doesn't mean I have to aspire to it.

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Why do you think Simon's a "genius songwriter"?


He hits hard. He does with me. You might see Troubled Waters as trite. I don't. But that's cool. I love the way his words are supported by the music, together creating magic. Magic to me, not the "equivalent of babbling".


Babbling completely rules out any possible verbal element. A great lyric is there to fly on the music. Sorry for the triteness, but lot's of people get moved by this stuff.


Me too.


But OK, you don't like that one. That's cool. What does that have to do with the importance of lyrics? Your point has more to do with my lack of ability to connect with you. Waters is a bad example in your case I guess.


So, let me just add, the synergy between a lyric and its music is not something that can be isolated. It is
synergistic.
The words "Sail on silver girl" are no great shakes. But when coupled (exponentially) with a great melody... it's magic. And it says something far beyond
sail on silver girl
.


Now,
the wind beneath my wings
is trite. In that case I'd go for the babbling.

 

 

LIsten - I think you're great. And I connect with a lot of what you have to say. And we're probably circling the same point but in different ways. Bridge over Troubled Water - without a doubt - is a beautiful piece of work. And those bland trite lyrics work beautifully in the service of the SONG, which is half the point of what I was trying to say. It's not about, you know, I gotta say something profound and moving and fantastic. I gotta say something that just does what it needs to to get the whole point across. But, you know, I babble and say a lot of stuff at once...

 

I think Simon was being intentionally blah blah with those cliches in the verse because those words sound smooth and serve that unbelievable melody - that's all that matters. And, yeah - the main lyrical hook is fantastic. And I agree that song wouldn't be as memorable without the title lyric.

 

But, you know, I don't think that's entirely the case with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow... Kids went crazy for that song because the way it was produced and sung and that girl-Group sound was still novel to popular ears. It is a great lyrical hook - but it was the bones of that song that sold it, which is why kids went crazy for a few years earlier... when it was called "Oh Carol" and they went even more bonkers for it a few years later... when it was called "Please Please Me.." Play the latter side by with Will You Still Love Me... It's pretty fantastic how well they line up. The melodies are different - one starts high and moves low- the other does the opposite - and they're in different keys - but its' pretty much the same I - IV-I verses despite some fancier vamping and whatnot in Please Plese- similar chordal harmony... "Tonight You're Mine.." "Last Night I said.." Pretty awesome... and it bolsters my point - it wasn't the lyrics that got those songs to the top of the charts... it was the way they moved and were delivered. Beatles were all like Mr. Simon with Feeling Blue and other banalaties...

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Oh yeah: And before any of you theory geeks objurgate to something in my previous post: I meant harmonic rhythm... not chordal harmony... and yes... I just started trying to understand theory so I'm obviously trying to sound smart by using big new words that I don't really understand.. which subjugates the animus...

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But, you know, I don't think that's entirely the case with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow... Kids went crazy for that song because the way it was produced and sung and that girl-Group sound was still novel to popular ears...

 

Cool. But... :)

 

Will You Still Love Me, well... that's a very powerful message. It's all said in that one line. The end of the section peaks with, will you still love me... tomorrow???. And we know what she means. Then, the 15 year old 60's teeny bopper says, "Oooo, I love this tune" and they don't listen to the lyric but dance the pony or whatever in curlers a la Gidget. Then Gidget's friend Tammy, without listening cause she's doing the Mash Potato this time, hears, "Tonight you're mine, completely" and the other girls at the sleep over accidentally hear it too, with fear of growing up, with stars in their eyes, and excitement. And they know what that means.

 

That's some powerful {censored}. It's not Shakespeare. It's great rock and roll. Synergistic. Great performance, great beat, melody, etc. and lyric. not poem. Lyric. Synergistic.

 

Yes, we do agree. :)

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