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archaeopteryx's avatar

Why do most of the lyrics used in Metal and Rock music seem meaningless?

Asked by archaeopteryx (870 points ) March 25th, 2009

I mean, listening to bands like Metallica, I can’t seem to understand what the lyrics are talking about.

Do they have any hidden meanings? Any certain interpretations? Or are they merely any random words put together in a way that suits the rhythm of the song?

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22 Answers

Staalesen's avatar

Many have a more subtle way to tell.. Sanatarium is a comment about how society treats ecentrics and such…

EmpressPixie's avatar

I generally feel like the best metal and rock have meaningful lyrics and that is one of the things that distinguishes it from the crappy metal and rock.

Dog's avatar

Depending on the band the lyrics can be incredibly well written and tell a very moving story.
There are some that speak to my soul while others are more abstract and perhaps speak to someone else.

In order to appreciate lyrics fully you may wish to look them up on line and read them.

sandystrachan's avatar

Most of Metallica lyrics if listening to the full album tells a story, if you just listen

Triiiple's avatar

Metallica LOL.

I listen to a lot of different metal, hardcore bands who have (in my opinion) some deep lyrics.

Emmure/Darkest Hour/Underoath/August Burns Red. Some of these bands have some pretty uplifiting lyrics, just have to get through the screaming.

jsc3791's avatar

I think that calling the songs “meaningless” might just be a personal interpretation of the art. Music is art and can be left up to many interpretations. It would be like looking at a painting or sculpture and saying it had no meaning, perhaps because you couldn’t find one. You know what I mean? =)

Response moderated
aprilsimnel's avatar

I think a lot of songwriters and lyricists write in a way that shows their state of mind, whether they’re aware of it or not. That’s not necessarily going to be linear or logical. There’s a lot of stream of consciousness in rock lyrics and listeners are free to interpret them as they like.

sandystrachan's avatar

has anyone else noticed, g1me’s responses to most if not all have been “removed”

Dog's avatar

@sandystrachan I believe he was spamming in multiple threads.

marinelife's avatar

I disagree with the premise that most are meaningless.

Dog's avatar

@Marina I agree with your disagreement.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I actually think that most metal and rock have more meaningful lyrics than any other genre. That’s personally why I like it above all else – because it’s heartfelt and real.

Blondesjon's avatar

Metal has nothing on the hidden meanings found in the lyrics below:

“Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.
I got love in my tummy,
And I feel like a-lovin you:
Love, you’re such a sweet thing,
Good enough to eat thing
And that’s just a-what I’m gonna do.
Ooh love, to hold ya,
Ooh love, to kiss ya,
Ooh love, I love it so.
Ooh love, you’re sweeter,
Sweeter than sugar.
Ooh love, I wont let you go.”

marinelife's avatar

I see your Ohio Express, Bondesjon and raise you a George Harrison:

“I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps ”

madcapper's avatar

Return question: why do the lyrics in shitty hippy songs seem meaningless? Wait… I’ll answer… because they are. Phish sucks. The Grateful Dead suck. Most 60’s bands suck. Why? Because abstract lyrics one thought up on an acid trip blow no ones mind…

madcapper's avatar

oh yeah and Bob Dylan really really sucks!

Blondesjon's avatar

@Marina…I’ll see you George Harrison and raise you a Strawberry Alarm Clock:

“Good sense, innocence, cripplin’ and kind.
Dead kings, many things I can’t define.
Oh Cajun spice, sweats and blushers your mind.
Incense and peppermints, the color of thyme.

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win, but nothing to lose.

Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns.
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around.
Look at yourself, look at yourself,
Yeah, yeah.
Look at yourself, look at yourself,
Yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah.”

marinelife's avatar

@Blondesjon Rats! (I almost did that one myself.) One of my favorite one hit wonder bands. Lurve.

Triiiple's avatar

A Paradox With Flies by Darkest Hour (first verse. favorite metal band)

These solemn words whispered in a haze
could you even see me standing there
all wrapped up in insecurities that
won’t stop spilling out all over me

and in your eyes I see so much more
than that place you always go back to
you can pull yourself away from
that face that constantly haunts you

a lot of there songs have this kind of lyrical content

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Blondesjon I’ll see your Strawberry Alarm Clock and raise you a Procol Harum

Whiter Shade of Pale

We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, ‘There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.’
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well’ve been closed

If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed

love the classical references, both in the lyrics and the music

jhellion1031's avatar

Personally, I love metal. Music & lyrics. I love the aggression. It really depends on what you like. For instance… To me gospel music seems rehashed & pointless. I guess it all just depends on what you find to be relatable. To me it has meaning, to you it may just be pointless screaming. Like everything else, it’s relative.

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