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Do lyrics prevent or encourage you to listen to certain music?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Brendan, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Excellent question, Mark, and I think this ends up in misc, since it covers more of an aspect of music than actual albums or anything. But, I might be wrong.

    For me, yes, after a fasion. I mean, I listen to metal, so I put up with a lot of useless "God is dead, I hate god, god sucks, god blows, you have no idea how bored I was this weekend, god isn't real, if god was real, he'd hate you, come to think of it, I hate you" lyrics.

    I try to avoid bands that make a career out of such things (Deicide, for example. A song, maybe an album, I can see, but not an entire discography), in favor of ones who generally are more capable of writing something worth quoting. I also dislike the gore lyrics, as they just do nothing for me at all (i.e. Cannibal Corpse). I mean, I'm not religious or a prude, but you can only flog a dead horse so many times on the same album, folks.

    Doesn't stop me from giving bands a listen, but it does stop me from really getting into them. Like Superjoint Ritual. Okay band, I guess, but on A Lethal Dose, Phil calls them (uh, terrorists, Middle Easterners, he's not too specific) sandn****rs. Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth for the entire band.

    Thoughts, opinions, dissent?
  2. Sometimes lyrics will bother me enough to not listen to a band, but it rarely happens. It takes a lot to get me made enough at the lyrics to not listen to a band. I can understand though how some bands feel like a one trick pony (Most of what I've heard from Cannibal Corpse for example).
    If I like the music enough though, I am willing to put up with most basic or offensive lyrics...
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Lyrics don't particularly prevent me from enjoying anything, but it might prevent me from glibly playing the song for everyone I know, not so much to save face on my part, but because they might not feel the same way I do about lyrics.

    Incidentally, a friend of mine is near incapable of listening to lyrics of any type. It's not that he can't really, but he just never does. He nerds out about chord progressions and all the theory behind the song before he listens to the lyrics, and even then he usually doesn't listen really well.
  4. I've heard junior singing lyrics along with songs that would completely embarass him if he knew what they meant!

    When I was younger I gave more of a **** about lyrical content. Now I've figured out how hard it is for me to write lyrics I'm a lot more forgiving.

    PS, that doesn't go for hatespeak.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Heh, that's a whole other thing entirely. It's not so much that I CAN'T write lyrics. I just feel like a cad when I do. heh. Another friend of mine writes a lot of lyrics, and like, they are pretty good I guess, but I would never have the balls to actually sing lyrics like them(mostly heavily emo and stuff) I'm too cynical to be lyrical. When I look at lyrics in that respect, I can typically appreciate them all, barring, of course, most pop music and gimmick music.
  6. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Somewhat. For example, although I always liked the sound of the riffs in Rage Against The Machine's music, I won't buy it because of its socialist anti establishment anti law enforcement drivel lyrics.
  7. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    All of my adult life, I've found myself listening to the drums more than the rest of the band when playing. I listened to everyone, but definitely the drums as the focal point.

    Lately, I've been playing with a really good singer, and I keep catching myself zoning out and listening to the vocals more than the drums. I don't feel I lock up as tight with the groove that way, but when I relax and let my mind wander, it wanders to the vocals lately instead of the drums, and I'm playing with a stellar drummer, fortunately enough.
  8. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Y'know, I have the same problem with them, but probably for a completely different reason.
  9. Here's something interesting- both as a musician and a someone interested in history. Around 1972 John Lennon released Sometime In New York City. There was a song called "Woman Is The N****r Of The World." Patently offensive, right?

    So, thinking to the time, 1972 there was plenty of racial tension in the US, AND the Women's Lib and ERA movements were really big.

    Was being offensive, in the effort to get people to "wake up" about both racism and women's rights worth being offensive, in that case?
  10. Because you want to "Arm The Homeless" and send them to Tom Morello's house?
  11. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Maybe, but Phil Anselmo is a redneck from Texas, who says, in the same song:

    "Fight us, the American Citizens, the most pissed off emeffers in the world!"

    So, y'know, I don't think he was being shocking for any particular reason, just being a dick.
  12. For me personally, I love all types of music, but if the lyrics have anything explicit I won't listen to it. I grew up listening to alot of vulgar stuff about hate and what-not and just had enough of it. Alot of people say that they have to use bad language to be artistic, but I don't think you do. There are less vulgar words out there that will get your point across just the same. IMHO All in all, I don't really discount anything anymore, because I used to think that I hated jazz, but it's on eof my favorite styles of music now. I'm a Youth and College pastor, so I do watch what I listen to, not only for my own sake, but for those around me.
  13. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    *reposting from Mark's thread*

    It depends, extreme lyrics are sometimes a gimmick by a band, and they can be funny/entertaining on a certain level; there's a sort of shared wink and nod going on between the musician and the audience. Other times, they can be a means of venting, you write really horrible sounding things in order to realize negative energy and expell it, in which case they can be helpful.

    However, there is a point where people overdo it, either it's too stupid/gross to be funny, or it's done to the point where any impact that the lyrics may have had is reduced to mundanity, then it just becomes boring attempts at shock value.

    With religious groups, as long as they keep the preaching/proselytizing to a minimum, I'm happy with whatever they have to say.

    I guess my answer is that "shocking/offensive" lyrics don't prevent me from buying music, but bad lyrics do.
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I am sure that Rage needs the system to enable further sales of their music so I find their messages somewhat contradictory as well.

    As mentioned above, I have to like the lyrics of a song in oder to really get into the song. Sometimes stupid lyrics work if sung with the proper attitude.

    I have trouble with groups/bands' lyrics who preach the anarchy and overthrow of somewhat orderly democratic systems considering those same folks need those "systems" to deliver their product to the public.

    My belief is that political stances make for poor lyrics and unfun songs/concerts. Benefits for homeless/relief efforts occasionally excepted.
  15. Bad lyrics can make a big difference, but it's really only blatantly stupid, cheesy lyrics that get on my nerves. Lyrics with political motives don't normally bother me, regardless of how outlandish the stance they represent. There are some exceptions to that, though (mostly regarding hateful stuff). Most pop lyrics, emo(or, more generally, lyrics that involve a lot of whining) lyrics, rap "lyrics", and hair band lyrics are impossible for me to look past; in fact, they're almost impossible for me not to ridicule.

    Conversely, good lyrics can really enhance a song or album. I often feel this way about Rush - it's just one more thing about the music for me to enjoy.

    I'm pretty sure I only feel this way because I'm a pretty big fan of classic lit. and really appreciate something that is well written and meaningful.
  16. It is much easier for lyrics to turn me off than to turn me on. The result is I usually turn off the radio. But there are some exceptions. For instance I find the lyrics of Kurt Weil's "Mac the Knife" overall repulsive and the point of the song is to describe a repulsive character. However, ever since I heard the Bobby Darrin recording (about 1960), I have been trying to figure out the visceral connection that the music has with the lyrics for me and why people like Bobby Darrin would sing such a song. And I don't understand how a 1930's German Socialist could write a song that was an American hit in the 1960s. So, I don't turn it off, but I am still mysitified.

    About 15 years ago one of my kids was listening to a lot of Bob Marley. Being a "good ole country boy" I decided to listen to the lyrics before I burned his cassette. Hey, those are good lyrics and the music is excellent! Those guys know rhythm, melody and lyrics. Now, I'd much rather my kids listen to reggae than hip hop any day.

    Since I live in the southwest and speak Spanish, I listen to a lot of Spanish language programs. I used to listen to a lot of the Mexican "narco-corridos" (ballads about drug smuggling) because they are a modern variation on a Spanish traditional musical form that goes back hundreds of years. But I finally got disgusted and turn them off now. Every once in a while I'll even call a station's management to complain about them. Usually the non-Spanish speaking "lily white" management has no idea what the lyrical content of some of that garbage is.

    I guess my answer is, "It depends."
  17. I probably wouldn't listen to the Decemberists or Bob Dylan if the lyrics weren't so great. Not that the music is bad, but the lyrics totally "make" them.
  18. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA
    I don't really dig stuff that's over the top and repeatedly vulgar. I like some of the previous things mentioned including the comments of P. Aaron.

    There are also songs that have, for one reason or another, become somewhat annoying to me. One of these songs is Sublime's "Date Rape." I use to think it was a great song but a girl I know hates it because she was raped and she thinks the song is a big joke which was offensive to her. I didn't really agree at first but as time has gone by the comical mood and lyrics of the song don't really fit the topic. I just turn it when it comes on the radio nowadays.
  19. Lyrics usually won't shy me away at all, but upon listening to a band, if I realize some excellent lyrical content (Like Rush), then I'm all the more drawn into the music. I like lyrics that actually require thought to process. And of course, everyone has certain songs for whatever reason that they are very close with due to the lyrics.

    One Thing by Finger Eleven is a good example (for me). :crying:
  20. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA
    Agreed. Good thoughts. :)