Lyrics or Tune?

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Do you listen to the lyrics or the tune first in a song?

lyrics
3
18%
music
6
35%
combo
8
47%
 
Total votes: 17

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Betty Felon
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Lyrics or Tune?

Post by Betty Felon »

Do you hear the lyrics or the tune first when you listen to a song?

I always hear the music first, sometimes I'm shocked at what a song is about after hearing it 20 times and never listening to the lyrics.

For example, last christmas my brother gave me Phrenology by the Roots for christmas. In the car on the way to extended family party, I immediately popped the cd in and flipped to The Seed, the catchy single I'd heard probably 20 times, but never heard the...um explicit...lyrics. Merry Christmas mom and dad!

But I know other people hear the lyrics mostly and count them as most important in a song. How about you?
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BladeRunner
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Post by BladeRunner »

A combo. I mostly listen for the catchy musical part, while trying to listen to what lyrcis I can make-out on my own.
mildlyrestarted
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Post by mildlyrestarted »

BladeRunner wrote:A combo. I mostly listen for the catchy musical part, while trying to listen to what lyrcis I can make-out on my own.


i listen for lyricists to make out with.
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Karousme
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Post by Karousme »

I think if the music is sub-par, then the lyrics can be redeeming. The reverse is true as well. The combo of the two is preferable, however.
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AffluentSuburbOfAtlanta
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Post by AffluentSuburbOfAtlanta »

for me the most important thing in a song is the atmosphere it creates. that can be achieved by a good tune, by good lyrics, by a good arrangement - there isn't really a pattern. of course when all the things are good it would probably be the best...

:-)

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the hutch
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Post by the hutch »

sorry to be the old fart cynic, but most songs don't have that much to say, i mean it usually ain't poetry, so i'm not usually expecting much from the lyrics, just the tune.when the lyrics are beautiful or challenging, then that's so much more special. sometimes tho, the lyrics at the beginning will get my attention, like the Eels (which song?) "I like a girl with a dirty mouth, someone I can believe" for some reason, after that i was actually listening.
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Post by mildlyrestarted »

no pic wrote:sorry to be the old fart cynic, but most songs don't have that much to say, i mean it usually ain't poetry...


maybe you're not listening to the right songs ;)
the hutch
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Post by the hutch »

no, i'm just an old fart. i been listening to the right songs fer a long time, i just don't expect wisdom from my rock n roll. it's just a bonus fer me if'n i happen to find any there. and i am also a bit of a contrarian. After all Mark Twain said somethin like "if two people always agree on everything, then one of them is unnecessary."
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Post by mildlyrestarted »

i'm just teasing, yo.
the hutch
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Post by the hutch »

if'n i thought ya were serious, i woulda ignored ya.
mildlyrestarted
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Post by mildlyrestarted »

oh yeah? wanna fight? put up yer dukes.
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BladeRunner
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Post by BladeRunner »

mildlyrestarted wrote:i listen for lyricists to make out with.


pfft, you need music to make out with? I make my own music when I'm stealing second.
the hutch
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Post by the hutch »

watch it, restarted, or yer gonna get it, right in the kisser
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Betty Felon
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Post by Betty Felon »

no pic wrote:watch it, restarted, or yer gonna get it, right in the kisser


I feel obliged to warn you no pic (because you just might be my texan doppleganger) you do not realize what you are up against with laura.

She slays 'em with supercuteness from up to 30 ft. away. And finishes em off with a deadly dose of sweetness. Gender makes no difference. Even the Japanese can't compete.

I'd plead no contest and walk away....slowly.
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Post by mildlyrestarted »

:: blushes ::
i'm all talk. i'm really just a lover, not a fighter.
the hutch
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Post by the hutch »

too bad, cuz this beotch was itchin fer a fight
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inverted/converted
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Post by inverted/converted »

Karousme wrote:I think if the music is sub-par, then the lyrics can be redeeming. The reverse is true as well. The combo of the two is preferable, however.


Agreed.

When I first hear a song, I always listen to the tune first. If its geek-rock I have to listen to the lyrics. For only the extended use of geek-cabulary distinguishes from the rest of mediocre music.
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Betty Felon
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Post by Betty Felon »

inverted/converted wrote:geek-cabulary


This word is adorable. I am going to start using it as much as possible.


I would also like to say that I get a little thrill when the lyrics and the tune are a mismatch. Fore example, some britpop band (I can't remember who it was--The Trashcan Sinatras?) had a really happy little pop tune skipping along and then the lyrics are about kicking the shit out of some guy in a bar. Very Clockwork Orange.

Is there a very dark gloomy song with lyrics about how sunny and happy someone is? Or some other ironic or interesting contrast? I wonder if there are enough to fill a mix tape...
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Liesbeth
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Post by Liesbeth »

In my geeky case, music always comes first, but how fast lyrics come through depends.

Partly it's a language thing, I cannot imagine what it would be like if all of the music you hear is in your own language. Although my English is pretty good, with music there is a language barrier which seems to work as a time delay. At first only some powerful lines come through, and how long it takes for the full lyrics to dawn on me depends on how strong the lyrics are, and on how much the music absorbs me - even with some of my fave bands I may not always pay much attention to lyrical content. Words sometimes can have more importance as sounds than as meaning. Especially if the songs are in Finnish ;-)

Sometimes a mention in an interview or a review or at a gig can trigger listening to the lyrics.
Only since the LW gig where John mentioned the subject of Bride & Bridle did I listen to its lyrics beyond the line 'time, i did my time', which up until then was enough for me and might well have been for years to come...
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Betty Felon
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Post by Betty Felon »

That's really interesting Liesbeth. With the exception of a few latin bands and some very very rare crossovers, I never listen to music in a foreign language. You have a totally different perspective.

I always wonder about how that works. How is there such a huge audience for American superstars and even indie bands in foreign countries, but it doesn't happen in reverse unless the artist sings in english?

Almost everyone here says they listen to the tune first and foremost. No one has made a case for lyrics (which I actually find surprising for this board since TLW have particularly strong lyrics.) But I'm willing to bet that the majority of americans here listen nearly exclusively to music with english lyrics. (Lady Marmalade does not count.) Discuss.
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