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acliff
21-09-2006, 04:00 PM
All over the internet you see people who are obsessed with how good their favourite band's lyrics are. Beyond mere appreciation for a mean turn of phrase, clever words or insight, certain musicians seem to form a cult worshipping their lyrical genius.

I must admit, I was never a poetry man, but I have never been able to get into music lyrics. Been brought up on a diet of classical music, both studied and performed my ear is tuned almost exclusively to melody and rhythm. From the adoration people show to lyrics, I feel that I must be missing at least half of the music. Of course, people who listen to music just for the lyrics are missing out on the music. If possible I'd like to embrace both halves of the equation.

Focus:

What actually makes lyrics good? Can you give examples and change my stance on them?

Mandy
21-09-2006, 05:39 PM
I think it's based upon how the lyrics relate to you, not necessarily how they're written. I'm not going to identify with the lyrics to a song about raiding the hood and popping caps and such.

I used to keep a journal and would write a few lines from a song that I related to at the moment. The topic kind of reminded me of that.

Edit: This has always been one of my favorite songs lyrically. It's called "Eclipse" by Robyn.

There's an eclipse in your eye where I used to shine
Every secret untold is a planet aligned
Don't need prophets or preachers to make sense of the signs
When the buried and hidden can be seen by the blind

You're right, Some words are just unspoken
So right,Then it all just falls apart

The day I break your heart

I caught my reflection in the corner of your eye
You said "Don't even ask the question, and I won't tell the lie"
Where there's no accusation there's no need for denial
And if you hadn't heard that whisper there'd be no tear to wipe from your eye

You're right Some words are best unspoken
So right Then it all just falls apart

The day I break your heart

Never took no advice. Not the foolish, not the wise
All the truth that I needed was right there in your smile
Every prophecy written of what's going to be
All beginnings and endings, they're about you and me

You're right Some words are best unspoken
So right Until it all just falls apart
You´re right Some words are best unspoken
So right Then it all just falls apart

The day I break your heart



I mean, the writing of it isn't all that elaborate, but I relate to it and it gets a point across. To me, that's what good lyrics are.

Jacoby
21-09-2006, 05:58 PM
I agree with you that the music is the most important factor of a song. Lyrics can be really great, just like poetry, but I like it better when lyrics enhance the sound of the song, it almost doesn't matter what the singer is actually saying.

An example being the song I'm listening to right now. It's called Requiem for O.M.M.2 and it's by Of Montreal. The lyrics (which definitely aren't the most poetic I've ever listened to) just completely pair up with the music so well that I find myself singing every word.

Check out the song to see what I mean.

EDIT: Song can be found on their myspace account (http://myspace.com/ofmontreal) .

Ranman
21-09-2006, 07:58 PM
Early Aerosmith had good words

"Suck on my big ten inch"

yep they don't write songs like that anymore

hasselbrad
21-09-2006, 09:51 PM
Early Aerosmith had good words

"Suck on my big ten inch"

yep they don't write songs like that anymore

So did 2 Live Crew...songs like Head, Booty and Cock delved directly into the issue at hand. :p

The Violent Femmes were always good lyrically. Country Death Song will send chills down your spine.

I had me a wife, I had me some daughters.
I tried so hard, I never knew still waters.
Nothing to eat and nothing to drink.
Nothing for a man to do but sit around and think.
Nothing for a man to do but sit around and think.

Well, Im a thinkin and thinkin, till theres nothin I aint thunk.
Breathing in the stink, till finally I stunk.
It was at that time, I swear I lost my mind.
I started making plans to kill my own kind.
I started making plans to kill my own kind.

Come little daughter, I said to the youngest one,
Put your coat on, well have some fun.
Well go out to mountains, the one to explore.
Her face then lit up, I was standing by the door.
Her face then lit up, I was standing by the door.

Come little daughter, I will carry the lanterns.
Well go out tonight, well go to the caverns.
Well go out tonight, well go to the caves.
Kiss your mother goodnight and remember that God saves.
Kiss your mother goodnight and remember that God saves.

A led her to a hole, a deep black well.
I said make a wish, make sure and not tell and
Close youre eyes dear, and count to seven.
You know your papa loves you, good children go to heaven.
You know your papa loves you, good children go to heaven.

I gave her a push, I gave her a shove.
I pushed with all my might, I pushed with all my love.
I through my child into a bottomless pit.
She was screaming as she fell, but I never heard her hit.
She was screaming as she fell, but I never heard her hit.

Gather round boys to this tale that I tell.
You wanna know how to take a short trip to hell?
Its guarenteed to get your own place in hell.
Just take your lovely daughter and push her in the well.
Take your lovely daughter and throw her in the well.

Dont speak to me of lovers, with a broken heart.
You wanna know what can really tear you apart?
Im going out to the barn, will I never stop in pain?
Im going out to the barn, to hang myself in shame.

It has a very country feel to it. Of course, most good country music (read old) was narrative by nature. It was simple, but powerful.

Arbery
21-09-2006, 09:54 PM
Early Aerosmith had good words

"Suck on my big ten inch"

yep they don't write songs like that anymore

Aerosmith do the best lyrics, so much sexual innuendo in them its funny. But the love songs have such deep meaning. Just amazing :)

Debbie123
22-09-2006, 11:54 AM
For me music and lryics are eveything and i admire artist who write there own music and lyrics and i am and have been for many years in love with the work of Delta Goodrem, just check her work out and im sure you'll find something you like!!


xxDebbiexx

deviljet88
22-09-2006, 01:01 PM
For me music and lryics are eveything and i admire artist who write there own music and lyrics and i am and have been for many years in love with the work of Delta Goodrem, just check her work out and im sure you'll find something you like!!


xxDebbiexx
That I was born to try
I’ve learned to love
Be understanding
And believe in life
But you’ve got to make choices
Be wrong or right
Sometimes you’ve got to sacrifice the things you like

*sob*

Digital_Ice
22-09-2006, 05:23 PM
i think some of the best lyrics are ones that give advice, things like Baz Luhrmanm - Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen) and Savage Garden - Affirmation

calereneau
22-09-2006, 09:33 PM
Cursive - "Into the Fold" (http://www.lyricsondemand.com/c/cursivelyrics/intothefoldlyrics.html)

EmotionSickness
22-09-2006, 10:07 PM
Good lyrics, to me, are any lyrics that either resonate with me personally, or simply sound very beautiful and eloquent (dare I say..poetic?). They don't even always have to make complete sense to me, as long as they make sense to the author and it's not just some drug-induced rant or what-have-you.

Here's a perfect example of the latter:

Across the Universe by the Beatles (possibly my favorite lyric ever)

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me
Jai Guru Deva OM

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe
Jai Guru Deva OM






And I know that you're thinking...NO, he wasn't on drugs when he wrote this.

acliff
22-09-2006, 10:33 PM
The thing that made me think about all this was an article on Kevin Carter.
If you don't know who he is let me refer you to this article:

http://www.thisisyesterday.com/ints/KCarter.html

The photographer who took this incredibly powerful photograph on the famine in Sudan in 1993 for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994. He commited suicide a few short months afterwards.

The photo is as follows (couldn't find a bigger image):
http://blog.piotrcuch.com/images/28052004.jpg

Anyways I remembered that there was a song written by the Manic Street Preachers called 'Kevin Carter' which as I remember was highly regarded for its lyrics. At least in England, Manic Street Preachers had a cult like following, with people cutting song names into their arms etc.

I read the lyrics and I was not particularly impressed:

Hi time magazine hi pulitzer prize
Tribal scars in technicolor
Bang bang club ak 47 hour

Kevin carter

Hi time magazine hi pulitzer prize
Vulture stalked white piped lie forever
Wasted your life in black and white

Kevin carter x3

The elephant is so ugly he sleeps his head
Machetes his bed kevin carter kaffir lover forever
Click click click click click
Click himself under

Kevin carter x3

What do you think? Lyrical genius? Or a bunch of roughly put together words which sounds somewhat related to the song title set to catchy rocky music?

Fancyman
23-09-2006, 01:32 AM
I've never cared that much about lyrics, when a song comes on the radio that i like, i find myself vocalizing the guitar riffs and solos, and i dont know more than the chorus lyrics.

calereneau
23-09-2006, 02:47 PM
That says so much about the crap they play on the radio nowadays.

Catchy...but empty....

Jacoby
23-09-2006, 04:07 PM
Hi time magazine hi pulitzer prize
Tribal scars in technicolor
Bang bang club ak 47 hour

Kevin carter

Hi time magazine hi pulitzer prize
Vulture stalked white piped lie forever
Wasted your life in black and white

Kevin carter x3

The elephant is so ugly he sleeps his head
Machetes his bed kevin carter kaffir lover forever
Click click click click click
Click himself under

Kevin carter x3

What do you think? Lyrical genius? Or a bunch of roughly put together words which sounds somewhat related to the song title set to catchy rocky music?

I dunno, I haven't even heard the song and those lyrics effected me. I think when song lyrics are directed toward any tragic person I find them beautiful. The lyrics you posted are really simple, but knowing the situation I can see why they're worshiped. They're really beautiful in their simplicity.

I remembered some lyrics that REALLY had an effect on me. The Elliott Smith song "King's Crossing". It's his suicide note, basically. Elliott battled a heroin addiction for the last parts of his life. He explains to his audience in the song why he decided to kill himself. He recorded it about 2 weeks before he went through with stabbing himself in the fucking heart.

"It's Christmas time
And the needle's on the tree
A skinny Santa is bringing something to me
His voice is overwhelming
But his speech is slurred
And I only understand every other word"

He's pretty poetic. Doesn't compare to Across the Universe, but Elliott can be pretty powerful.

acliff
23-09-2006, 04:20 PM
I've been reading Manic Street Preacher lyrics, and I have never been so depressed heh.

The Holy Bible is their most distressing album with 'classics' such as Of Walking Abortion, 4st 7lb

They have made some absolutely classic tunes, but their lyrics leave me a little concerned. I'm worried for the people who read these lyrics and accept them as truth.

EmotionSickness
23-09-2006, 06:56 PM
The lyrics to Nirvana's "Jesus Doesn't Want Me For a Sunbeam," while a bit trite and incredibly simple, are heart-breaking to me.

Arbery
23-09-2006, 07:21 PM
Pantera also have really good lyrics. Really meaningfull with lots of anger and agression