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Lyrical content

Posted in: Forum Home >> General Music Discussion >> Lyrical content

Displaying 22 posts
Displaying 22 posts
Jul 8, 2009 8:49 PM ET #1 (permalink)

For me it depends on the type of music i'm listening to or writing regarding how important lyrical content is to a song. Sometimes i'm really adamant about the content being well thought out and rounded. Other times, I just don't seem to give a fuck. I've written lyrics that have taken months to plan and execute and there's been times where I just throw something in there and it works. I've seen success with both styles and was just wondering what everyone else thinks.

Jul 8, 2009 9:00 PM ET #2 (permalink)

I think everything just depend son what the song needs and what you're trying to say in a song.

I just recently wrote three whole songs yesterday in an hour after having a dry spell for like two weeks straight. One was just for my own sake, but two were under the subject and title the guitarist had already given me for two songs he has done.

And unlike most songs I write really quicly, I still like them and how they were written. I think my points got across really well, and i think they'll coem across really well within the sound of the song.

Then there are the hundred or so songs I've written and polished since I was twelve that make me shake my head like"how the fuck did I write this pile of crap?!"

It all just depends on the mood, the urgency, and the emotive feelings behind what you're writing, as to how quickly, and how well, the lyrics can be written.

At least that's the take I've had on it.

Jul 8, 2009 9:00 PM ET #3 (permalink)

I can't say I care much about lyrics these days unless they are so lame or emo they turn me off. It's been years (decades) since I've had time to sit down with a CD insert and read lyrics. All my listening is done on the computer, while I'm doing other stuff or in the car, and neither really let me get into the lyrics, and even if they are clear enough to hear I only care a little (again, as long as they're not lame). That's just me though.

I used to love sitting down and listening to music with the insert spread out and learning the lyrics, and back then they were fairly important to me.

Jul 8, 2009 9:07 PM ET #4 (permalink)

Like you said, it depends on the how well it fits the song.

For example, to me Slayer's "Disciple" should be offensive in two ways (probably just the first way to a lot of others):

1: The way the lyrics are written just seem stupid and childish. Not that everything has to be subtle, but this pushes it.

2. They completely clash with my spiritual beliefs.

HOWEVER, when I'm in the car, and there's nobody else with me, I can't help screaming along, I NEVEERRRR SAID I WANTED TO BE GOD'S DISCIPLE! I'LL NEVEERRRR BE THE ONE TO BLINDLY FOLLOW!
Somehow, it works.

I don't know if that answers your question, but there ya go, lol.
I can overlook bad lyrics, but really good ones always make a song that much better, you know?

Jul 8, 2009 9:15 PM ET #5 (permalink)

I'm a House Of Pain fan, bad lyrics don't bother me!

Jul 8, 2009 9:16 PM ET #6 (permalink)

Lyrics are a pretty big deal in the overall package of metal for me, although my lyrical tastes have definitely changed. When I was a kid I absolutely loved the lyrics in the album "The Cainian Chronicle" by Ancient. I was listening to it the other day in the car and it was the first time in my life that I was actually glad my wife can't ever understand the growled lyrics. Some of the lyrics on that album are truly cringe inducing now.

I love what Opeth does with their lyrics. They are never outright fantasy or occult lyrics, nor are they ever outright real world lyrics. Even when the songs are obviously inspired by real world topics they are done in a more obscure and poetic way so that the listener can interpret them however they want. There are parts in "Masters Apprentices" off the "Deliverance" record that seem to be tailor made to parts of my life, while other people interpret them differently.

For the most part I'm not a huge fan of the joke or over-the-top lyrics though. They can be fun for a few listens, but I very rarely listen to the more absurd stuff unless I'm directly looking for a laugh or want to show someone else the oddity of the particular song. Pirate metal is probably the only exception to that rule, as that theme actually works pretty well in metal.

Jul 8, 2009 9:17 PM ET #7 (permalink)

Although I only wrote a short amount on it, I should have an Op-Ed coming soon about writing music (but the same things apply to lyrics). Did you get the email deathbringer? I hope when it comes up you guys comment and add to it.

Jul 8, 2009 9:17 PM ET #8 (permalink)

Although I only wrote a short amount on it, I should have an Op-Ed coming soon about writing music (but the same things apply to lyrics). Did you get the email deathbringer? I hope when it comes up you guys comment and add to it.

Jul 8, 2009 10:02 PM ET #9 (permalink)

It depends on the band/genre I think. A lot of death metal, I ignore lyrics because it's moreso the agressive nature of the sound that draws me in. But on progressive stuff I completely care, because it's a package deal. Every element builds to the whole. I also listen to pre-release statements. If it seems like the band has something to say on an album, that they make a point of the album being about something, not just new heavy shit, I'll pay more attention to lyrical content, like Christ Illusion.

Jul 8, 2009 10:42 PM ET #10 (permalink)

This is a really corny answer, but if they are genuine and well written I'm game no matter the topic. It also depends on the mood of the music and how the lyrics enhance it.

Jul 8, 2009 11:19 PM ET #11 (permalink)

My first post was in reference to writing lyrics, so it really wasnt a full answer. I neglected to mention listening tastes.

I pretty much agree with the general points of DIE's post.
There are bands like Obituary and Nile where, though I'm sure the lyrics are quality, I really couldn't care less. Most deaht metal, and any genre for that matter that has near-indistinguishable vocals, tends to take the backseat on my preferences for well-thought out lyrics. Behemoth is my favorite band right now, an dI couldnt sing a single line to you besides "Slaves Hall Serve, Slaves Shall Serve, Slaves. Shall. FUCKING. Serve!"

then again, I could sing the lyrics to "Girl in the Slayer Jacket" and Pig Destoyer is even harder to understand. Which is a fine example of the fact that some bands have lyrics that are so thought-provoking, even the unintelligible delivery wont stop fans from reading them.

Lamb of God, though guttural, has understandable vocals, so I've seen alot of people, including myself, relate and take influence from the lyrics. Which is a trait I've taken in my own growling. Even within the different metal-style vocals tha I use, I try to keep them understandable, and distinctly pronounce my words, becaus eI genuinely believe that I have something to say, and I want the listener to be able to easily connect.

The poin tof all this rambling is, only the bands that distinctly stand out lyrically, either for being extremely intelligent(The Agonist/Opeth/Gojira) or extremely offensive(Cannibal Corpse/Deicide) get any attention from me whne the vocals are guttural. But I can listen ot any band tha tI cant understand the vocals to, as long as the music and overall sound of the band is good.

With clean-vocaled music, metal in particular, since I can understand what's being said, IT MUST be intelligent or at least not retarted for me to listen to it, since I can pretty much hear every word. One of the main reasons the new Metallica album bugs me.
How do you go from:
"End of passion play, crumbling away
I'm your source of self-destruction
Veins that pump with fear, sucking darkest clear
Leading on your deaths construction
Hunt you down without mercy!
Hunt you down!, All Nightmare Long!
Luck runs out!,but you crawl out again!,but your luck runs out!

WTF happened?

I want to enjoy what I'm hearing. In growling, the osund of the grols can just count as another instument. In clean-stuff, the words are another facet of the whole piece, and If they suck, the song suffers.

Now Playing The AMenta- Nihil

Jul 9, 2009 12:24 AM ET #12 (permalink)

Lyrics are a touchy subject sometimes. Reading the lyrics to certain Blind Guardian songs come off a bit silly, but when you have the shit cranked, songs like "Battlefield" jost sound great. On the flipside of that, reading and listening to Manowar lyrics is a complete waste of time, and leaves me feeling dumber and white trashier.

Jul 9, 2009 12:53 AM ET #13 (permalink)

Shit I did not know there was lyrics anymore.

Jul 9, 2009 1:01 PM ET #14 (permalink)

Lyrical content isn't really that important to me, considering most of the music I listen to, the lyrics are completely unintelligible.

I know that lyrics from bands like Deicide and Cannibal Corpse are off the wall cheesy and simple, but it's the brutality and heaviness of the music that drew me to bands like that in the first place.

On the other hand, if it's music that I can understand the lyrics to, I'd prefer them to be good (a la Opeth), but it's not a deal-breaker if they're not.

Jul 9, 2009 7:52 PM ET #15 (permalink)

So far the replies are about what I expected. Depending on the song, style, band etc. Thanks for the input fellas, I respect your opinions.

Cynic: I didn't mean to steal your thunder. lol.

Jul 10, 2009 2:19 PM ET #16 (permalink)

I'd also like to add (and this may be caused by my last 4 years as an English major) that I've had death metal albums ruined for me by reading the lyrics. As stated, I no longer bother with CC.

Jul 13, 2009 10:42 PM ET #17 (permalink)

If you can't understand the words (eg when they're being growled), then the lyrics don't really matter and the song can sound awesome whether the lyrics are fantastic or rubbish.

When the singing is clean, however, I honestly can't stand listening to a song with cheesy or generally sub-par lyrics. Puts me off completely. Lyrically, I tend towards anything metaphorical or poetic or just particularly well written (eg Tool or Opeth or Meshuggah, etc). Subject matter is also important to me - anything conceptual almost always perks my ears, so to speak, but if the subject matter is something done time and time again (eg love/sex in hip-hop, murder in metal, etc) then the lyrics have to be done REALLY well to capture my attention.

On the other hand, there are a lot of great bands with a lot of great songs with some very straightforward, simple lyrics. Slayer, for example. Honestly, their lyrics are, for the most part, pretty uninspiring. But they're done well for what they are, and the music is awesome, so it still works.

Jul 16, 2009 7:28 AM ET #18 (permalink)
Red's avatar


Speaking of cheeazy lyrics, it's not metal and I hate them with all my heart but Coldplay...man...they have some of the cheesiest and lame lyrics out there.

Jul 19, 2009 1:16 AM ET #19 (permalink)

I don't care for lyrical content at all, no matter what the genre, and no matter if I understand the lyrics at all or not. To me it's all about how it sounds...but that's just me.

When it comes to subject matter I don't care either. Words are words. I don't understand how lyrics can offend people if it clashes with their beliefs or something. If it sounds good, I listen to it. To name a few examples: I love this band called 'Absurd'; they are National Socialist Black Metal, but I don't care; rhythm sounds so damn good. I listen to Power Metal that mentions God, and I listen to Black Metal, which is Anti-Christian or Satanic or whatever. Doesn't matter to me, NOT ONE BIT.

In fact, I believe subject matter can be made into an invisible barrier that keeps people from enjoying sound, the same way that terms like 'true' and 'untrue' are barriers that block what's really important, and what's really important is the Music.

(This post was last edited on July 21, 2009 at 2:50 PM ET.)

Jul 19, 2009 2:58 AM ET #20 (permalink)

Lyrics are what captures me.
ever heard of Refused? great lyrics.

Jul 19, 2009 7:00 AM ET #21 (permalink)

think this is the most importent part of the music i do think
but some lyricrs people take it to serious
like when angel of death came out
in holland everybody became all upset about it especially in the jewes part of holland
they said slayer is a naziband
but they are just telling the story on how it went in the camps i told them
its th same if you read a book i think
so i do think lyricrs can make or brake a cd

but i just got the new dream theather cd
and one song that fucked me up is the best ot times
it reminds me of me and my dad before he died of cancer and how he helped me in my pad of life
and yes he hooked me to metal music

Jul 19, 2009 3:09 PM ET #22 (permalink)

+1 Wiggles. It's cool to see another Refused fan in these here parts.

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