General Question

The_Inquisitor's avatar

What do songs mean to you?

Asked by The_Inquisitor (3163points) September 18th, 2008

In songs, do you think that the meaning of the lyrics are more important, or the beat and rhythm of the song? Have you ever listened to any songs where you do not understand that language, but have fell in love with that song and artist?

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24 Answers

Nimis's avatar

Absolutely, though it varies song to song.

jjd2006's avatar

Case in point: Sigur Ros! Don’t understand the language, but they’re one of my favorite bands.

stratman37's avatar

The music usually supports the feeling of the lyrics i.e.: Blues, Emo, etc. And tho’ I don’t understand Italian, Opera really moves me.

loser's avatar

It varies, sing to song and mood to mood.

bkburbo's avatar

I listen to the hook, rhythm, harmony, talent of the singer, and how well the lyrics were timed with the rhythm, then the lyrics, then if the whole song makes me feel good, I thank the producer and the songwriter.

marinelife's avatar

For some songs, it is the music. For some, it is the lyrics. I like many songs that are in other languages. It just depends.

St.George's avatar

What Marina said.

shadling21's avatar

For years I listened to contemporary Japanese music. I didn’t understand it all, but I thought the language was beautiful and loved to form interpretations based purely on the singer’s voice, then find translations of the words to compare.

When I discovered the lyrics of Bright Eyes my world changed. I’d fallen in love with a band that didn’t always strike the perfect chord with me, but that moved me to tears with words and composition.

I suppose that the perfect package would be great lyrics and great music?

tWrex's avatar

I love music. I find that without it, my creativity lacks or I can’t focus as much. To answer the question though, it really depends on the song. I start by listening to the actual music. I usually pick up on the beat first through the drums and bass. After that (depending on the genre) I’ll pick up on the higher pitched instruments like guitar, violin or horn. Once it’s all cohesively come together in my mind I start listening to the lyrics. For instance, System of a Down… Love their music. Hate what they have to say. Listen to it anyways though. So I guess the beat and rhythm mean more to me.

I lived in Japan for a year and got to witness some very different things. I watched a rap battle in Japanese that was brilliant. Didn’t understand a lick of it, but I did get when they had said something that was good (because Oooooh! means the same thing in every language). I came back home and made friends with a Japanese kid who was going to my college. He introduced me to “Kick the Can Crew” and I’ve listened to them since. I also listen to Opera, which I don’t understand either, but I find it quite beautiful.

Poser's avatar

I fell in love with the Pink Martini song, Sympathique, even though I don’t speak French. When my girlfriend translated it for me, the lyrics were pretty much what I expected based on the way the song sounded.

shadling21's avatar

@tWrex – Love Kick the Can Crew. I wish I could find more English info on them though. Are they still around? I know that a few of them had solo projects and stuff…

A lot of people also cite classical music as being the most beautiful ever (“beautiful” being a matter of personal taste). Obviously, it was influential. Instrumental music can be just as moving as those with words, or more so.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

I personally am drawn to songs with lyrics that reach deep into my soul, evoking a personal life experience or memory for me….but the melody and the beat are equally important. i know this because there are songs with lyrics that i love that will start evoking a gut reaction emotional response from me before the lyrics even start. Some songs can get me to shed a tear just a few beautiful chords into the song.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

Sidenote: as i am writing this i just realized my ears are still wringing from a concert that i was photographing tonight. Should of brought the earplugs but forgot.

tWrex's avatar

@shadling21 Arrr! Me thinks I’m not sure. The lubber pirated a few cds for me, but I assumed they’d been keel holed or walked the plank. Aye, I been rockin’ the same tunes since he gave ‘em to me. Pathetic, me thinks. this pirate needs to head to tpb to redeem himself now. Arrr!

And I do have to say that this pirate enjoys the sweet melody of a classical tune. Tis soothing to the soul during those cold nights with scurvy.

Aye this talking like a pirate be harder than ye thinks. Tis going to be a loooong day if all me answers are going to be as such.

benseven's avatar

I second SIgur Ros. ‘Saeglopur’ is an unbelievable track, and my favourite in spite of not speaking the language.

flameboi's avatar

The meaning of the lyrics are definitely the more important thing when it comes to a song, at least for my taste :)

tWrex's avatar

Arrr… But do the lyrics move yer arse or tis it the beat of the tom tom that gets yer peg leg a tappin’? And if ye thinks the lyrics are better how can ye listen to a song without knowin’ the language of the scalliwags singin’ to the sea?

Not trying ta provoke ye matey. Just tryin’ ta get a gander at what yer seein’ too.

[arrr edit]
Or do ye mean the sound of the lyrics, which would imply a different meaning to what ye be sayin’, and not necessarily the words?
[/arrr edit]

Bri_L's avatar

For me it is all about mood. Sometimes all I care about is the beat. Sometimes its nostalgia. Sometimes its genera. Sometimes its heavy or light. Or fun lyrics. or sing along. or shuffle my ass to it. It all depends.

Skyrail's avatar

I enjoy Sigur Ros to but I don’t understand them either. In fact, a number of their songs no one understands but people still love their music, I know I do (I have all their albums + DVD except Von (sadly)). I also enjoy some in German artists (Matthias Reim and the somewhat cheesy DJ Otzi) as well as the Italian songs by Eiffel 65. I also enjoy the lyric less songs of Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, The Flashbulb, u-Ziq and M83. I also enjoy the likes of Deep Forest in which their songs consist mainly of chants from around the world. Really cool stuff, and what about Enya, she’s made some cool music with lyrics I can’t understand.

I’m not saying that lyrics aren’t important however, some artists write up some wonderful lyrics, for example this site has taken that concept and made a cool site out of it. There are some songs I’ve loved for a long time and then I’ve listened to the lyrics and realised what they’re actually singing about, sometimes it can be disturbing. Other times the lyrics are a large part of the song and it’s really nice to sing along to, or listen to. I guess it varies from song to song. I know I enjoy music immensely. Lyrics or not :)

shrubbery's avatar

I love lyrics. I love the poetry and the stories and the meanings behind the words. I love how the artist can draw you in and make you feel like it’s you that is being sung about and you wonder if they had you in mind when they were writing it. Or how they can get you to understand a perspective you didn’t think of before, or walk a bit in someone else’s shoes, or raise your awareness to an issue.

But I also love instrumental. I listen to a lot of instrumental folk music and I love the way I can conjure up my own images and feelings and thoughts and interpretation without the artist intruding on my personal experience with their lyrics.

It really depends on the song and how I’m feeling at the time. Whether I want to be swept up in someone else’s story, or whether I want to contemplate about myself and my life, if I’m feeling happy or sad, or if I’m in a singing along mood :P

shadling21's avatar

@Skyrail – Thanks for the site. Very cool.

dollfacee's avatar

definitellyyy the lyrics.
i listen to music because of what it says, not how it sounds.

cyndyh's avatar

I think I can appreciate a song for what it brings. That can be a very different combination of things for each song. If it were just about the lyrics, why would we be listening at all instead of just quietly reading poetry?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I listen to a lot of instrumental classical, so mostly it is the beat and rhythm. I like the really fast tempo stuff, like Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture, but also like the pretty songs, like Strauss’ Beautiful Blue Danube waltz. Other than that, I like rock tunes from my youth, and stuff no one else ever heard of, like UFO and old Manfred Mann. Lyrics are okay, but they have to have meaning I can relate to.

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