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#732863 - 06/25/09 05:11 PM How important are lyrics in a song?  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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The importance of lyrics in a song have been popping up in the series of song writing discussions we've been having, so lets focus on that one. Over the years here at JPf, we have had several discussions about the importance of lyrics. I think each discussion has given people something to think about. Maybe it's time to do it again.

How important are lyrics in a song?








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#732960 - 06/25/09 10:46 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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It really depends on the song... Some songs the vocal is relegated to just another instrument in the ensamble and the important parts of lyric is how the words sound... they can be left out and the song can be just as good..... others like folk music its what the words say....




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#732977 - 06/25/09 11:31 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Noel Downs]  
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When one picks a song for an occasion, such as a wedding-the lyrics are quite important. There are other examples..that's just one.


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#732987 - 06/25/09 11:41 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Patti Smith]  
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Importance to whom?

If it's a country song that you're trying to get cut, I'd say the lyrics are 99 and 44/100 percent of what the artist is considering.


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#733004 - 06/26/09 12:49 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Brian Baughn]  
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Hello Jean and fellow posters:

My best guess is that lyrics in most genres are probably 40 to 45 percent of the musical equation. Everything I've ever read indicates that the melody is the "glue that holds the song together" and it will usually have a higher value. Otherwise, why don't we zip out our iPods and listen to poetry? (Not that it would be a bad experience... LOL!)

Of course there are exceptions and I agree with Brian, some genres tend to place a much higher value on the lyrics. Country and RAP come to mind... and I'm sure there are others.

Thanks for this interesting question.

Dave

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#733103 - 06/26/09 11:57 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Lyrics are important to genres like country, folk, Gospel,etc. because you are telling a story or preaching a message(Gospel), the music just makes it more listenable. Other genres like dance, rock, pop,etc. the music is the thing, you want to dance, therefore you need a beat to dance too, the words are less important.


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#733110 - 06/26/09 12:08 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I just discovered this thread, and do pretty much agree with the other posters that it depends on the genre. Some songs become big hits even though most can't understand the lyrics. "Louie, Louie" was a prime example of this.

And I can recall watching American Bandstand, and when songe were rated there the reviewers were usually concentrating on danceable beat rather than lyric content. When the song "Woman(Have You Got Cheating on Your Mind) by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap was reviewed, the panel thought it would go nowhere because it was something you couldn't dance to. And yet it became a huge hit. Obviously, they didn't get that one right. And since AB was still very well respected at the time, did that mean the song became a surprise hit?

#733113 - 06/26/09 12:11 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Everett Adams]  
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I think it depends on the genre and particular song. It also depends on what measure one uses - satisfaction, commercial success, good critiques, etc.

For my satisfaction, in writing a song, the lyrics are very important. They don't have to be fancy - they have to solid - for me to be pleased.

For commercial success, in the tween / teen pop genre, they are very unimportant. What is important is the music, and whether the artist is popular. Two examples where lyrics are laughably bad but the songs achieved success recently:

Miley Cyris - Fly on the Wall
Vanessa Hudgens - Sneaker Night

Tom


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#733126 - 06/26/09 12:35 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Tom Shea]  
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I have a 50-50 relationship with my lyricist. Why? Because the importance in our song is equal. The amount of time creating a product doesn't necessitate a higher quality of product.

A composer can compose music without lyrics (self sustainable). Of course the finish product is quite different without the direction of the lyrics. Musically it would take on a more artistic nature, rather than commercial (exceptions of course).

On the same note; a lyricist can transform lyrics into a poem (self sustainable). The finish product would take on a more artistic nature, rather than commercial (exceptions of course).

As to which takes longer; the lyrics or the music; it depends. I've composed music to lyrics in less than an hour (other times, a couple days). I'm sure the lyricist's timeline is very similar.

I think the actual producing of the music/lyrics into a tangible audio form takes the most time. Sometimes, this process includes effort from both collaborators. Mostly, I'll create the instrumental bed and often my lyricist will record the singer (or split the cost of a work-for-hire singer).

Anyway you cut it, without both the lyricist and the composer; you just ain't got a song.

Best, John smile

#733140 - 06/26/09 12:54 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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I'm working with a composer right now, who has some very catchy pop music and has been looking for the right lyricist. He told me he looked at scores of peoples' work until he found my website. We're working on a first song now, to see if we can find the right vibe together.

I wrote a lyric for the track. I had to spend a week just listening and breaking it down into sections, learning the structure; and trying to hear what the music was 'saying' -- to find the right lyric for it. I spent hours constructing a lyric and then rewriting it.

He liked it, but he wanted a very different tone. While he admired what I did, it wasn't the feel he wanted. So I tried again. Another week to get the old lyric out of my head and come up with a new title and idea. And hours to write a new lyric.

This one wasn't as good, and still wasn't the tone/style he was hoping for. So I tried again.

Another week of kicking ideas around. A good three hours in a bar to develop a lyric, and another hour or two the next day to finish it and give it a first polish.

He really liked this one. But now we want to use a different hook, the hook he had lodged in his mind. So I'm currently working on taking the style/tone I captured in version #3 and writing something to a different story and hook idea.

Besides the obvious point that it takes quite a while to write a solid lyric, with a lot of false starts, underlying this whole process is the notion that while the music is very, very, very good, without the Right Lyric it won't get where it needs to be.


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#733141 - 06/26/09 12:58 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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I think there was a great line in the film "Music and Lyrics" where the two leading characters were discussing this very same thing. Drew Barrymore said to Hugh Grant something like "The music is like the sexual attraction but the words are how you get to know the person."

Don't quote me. That's basically what I remember, but it rang true. While there are some amazing melodies and lyrics that can each stand alone, the hit song is even more than just those two ingredients. It takes the right arrangement, production, musicians, singers, PR positioning (like how "My Heart Will Go On" was positioned in the "Titanic" film) to create enough power to really make a song impinge upon enough people to make a hit song.

I've seen so many incredible songs just go nowhere because of lack of promotion or the singer wasn't right or such things.

Art for art's sake is great. But, if no one hears a song...even a masterpiece, it does not create any effect except within the few people who do hear it.

So, one must wind up inevitably with the question, "what purpose does this song have?" If the purpose is to create lovely background music for a film, it does not need lyrics. But, if it is the theme song for that same film and it has to tell a story rather to just evoke an emotion, well, it needs lyrics.

An element in any work of art is as important as it is needed to communicate that message of that work of art. After all, art is communication.

Heidi



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#733153 - 06/26/09 01:37 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Heidi Thompson]  
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Here's an anecdote from Tim Rice (musical lyricist) when he was working with Andrew Lloyd Webber, he wrote a lyric call 'I love a Kansas Morning' (for the lyric itself check out his book!) , the tune was great he said but the lyric dreadful, in his words, and the song wasn't picked up by anyway. They started writing Jesus Christ Superstar and ALW brought up the same tune and said this is good for this part of the show. So TR wrote a lyric this time called 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' which is one of the highlights of the show and sung by probably nearly everyone at this stage. Anyway, he was happy to say that even though a song has a great tune, it was good to see that it did need a decent lyric with it for it to do well....... so maybe thats what its about.

Thought I'd just add that in as my contribution wink

#733179 - 06/26/09 03:32 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: spidey]  
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It's kinda like asking how important fruit is in a pie. Without it you have a very nice crust.


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#733181 - 06/26/09 03:39 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Hummingbird]  
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Sometimes they're the most important thing, and other times they're just something to wrap your mouth around.

#733187 - 06/26/09 03:57 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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It depends on the genre and individual song. Some pop songs are all production with the same couple of banal lines repeated ad finitum. Some songs from other genres have very complex descriptive lyrics painting mental pictures and conveying complex stories.

There are no general rules re the importance of lyrics so no definitive answer can be given to the question.

One thing for sure lyrics are pretty unimportant in an instrumental.

#733199 - 06/26/09 04:39 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Great responses. Gee. I am starting to think I should never say anything and just ask questions. LOL. (Don't get your hopes up, that will never happen.)

Please keep on posting - there are more aspects to this topic that have not yet been mentioned. smile

Last edited by Jean Bullock; 06/26/09 04:42 PM.

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#733201 - 06/26/09 04:47 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Well, it's a continuum of sorts. As the experience of music changes, so does its relationship to the audience, and the expectation of the audience.

A few hundred years ago, there were usually no lyrics or words whatsoever in music. There was opera and cantata, and some religious works (where the lyrics were divinely inspired) but by and large the pop stars were working in terms of symphonies, nonets and nocturnes. Big Bands sometimes played songs (with music) and sometimes just played music. The whole concept of "song must have words" is a fairly recent one in human history (folk and religious music aside).

The wired world, the constant stream of media, is going to have one of two effects. Either lyrics will become *more* important, because with all the constant electronic stim people will seek out live performance as the best way to experience their music; or, lyrics will become *less* important as music will be experienced more and more in the background, in transit, while multitasking, etc., in a sort of aural canvas.



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#733202 - 06/26/09 04:49 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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I like the film Music and Lyrics as well. To me lyrics are very important as they inspire me to create my music. I don't compose to lyrics which don't move me as I only collaborate, I don't work for hire. I know of examples when lyrics were not important at all and were not interesting but the music was fantastic and the song was famous but I still think lyrics are very important.
Nadia


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#733269 - 06/26/09 10:02 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Z. Mulls]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Originally Posted by Z. Mulls
Well, it's a continuum of sorts. As the experience of music changes, so does its relationship to the audience, and the expectation of the audience.

A few hundred years ago, there were usually no lyrics or words whatsoever in music. There was opera and cantata, and some religious works (where the lyrics were divinely inspired) but by and large the pop stars were working in terms of symphonies, nonets and nocturnes. Big Bands sometimes played songs (with music) and sometimes just played music. The whole concept of "song must have words" is a fairly recent one in human history (folk and religious music aside).

The wired world, the constant stream of media, is going to have one of two effects. Either lyrics will become *more* important, because with all the constant electronic stim people will seek out live performance as the best way to experience their music; or, lyrics will become *less* important as music will be experienced more and more in the background, in transit, while multitasking, etc., in a sort of aural canvas.




Just an interesting tidbit. One of the earliest notated songs (Ancient Greek with lyrics) - on papryrus. The time reference is iiAD (I think its the 2nd century.)


Apparently, the people at this time had a separate system of notation for instrumental music, and one for vocal music.

Here is the vocal lead sheet (the lyrics sung for us.) You can hear the whole thing or click on a line in the music to hear that particular bit.

http://classics.uc.edu/music/yale/index.html


Here is the instrumental sheet.

http://classics.uc.edu/music/michigan/index.html

Although the next link is not a university resource, the lady did her homework and made a nice little timeline of ancient and old lyrics.

Last edited by Jean Bullock; 06/27/09 01:02 AM.

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#733275 - 06/26/09 10:20 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Originally Posted by Jean Bullock
How important are lyrics in a song?


They're almost non-important in most instrumentals.



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#733279 - 06/26/09 10:41 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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Originally Posted by John Daubert

They're almost non-important in most instrumentals.


I dunno John. Remember an instrumental called "Tequila"?

#733281 - 06/26/09 10:47 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: ben willis]  
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I remember a really funny but somewhat drunken band playing a version of Tequila that substituted the name "Jim Morrison!" every time it came around, and the music slowly morphed into the similar riff from The Doors' "Break On Through". And on the last verse, we shouted "Dead in a bathtub!"

Ooops...did I say "we"?

#733302 - 06/27/09 12:22 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Michelle Anderson Offline
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Plymouth, MN
As someone who is primarily a lyric writer, I'd like to think that lyrics are really important. Not necessarily so, though.

Sometimes there's a confluence of great lyrics and great melody, such as John Lennon's "In My Life". That rarely happens, though.

I guess, bottom line for me is, melody comes first.

But a really great song has "meat"; meaning not only a great melody, but lyrics that match seamlessly. That, to me, is the mark of a timeless song.

Wouldn't it be great if we all could achieve that? smile

#733307 - 06/27/09 12:51 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Michelle Anderson]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Minneapolis
No! Just some of us, please. smile

#733322 - 06/27/09 02:26 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D) Offline
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D)  Offline
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Tampa, Florida since 1973
Hi Mz Jeannie B!

Great Topic. Much as I LOVE to pen The Next One, I never get a Swelled-Head about it. Think Lyrics've been quoted as being about 30% of what People REMEMBER about a Song.

Case in-Point: Michael Jackson's "THRILLER". Title Track of the MOST-Sold Album EVER.."26 Million Sold." Lyrics (& All!) by Rod Templeton. Anybody HERE remember ALL The Lyrics to it? (Check 'em out at www.elyrics.net..they're Really GOOD!) BUT...overall...it's the Groove/TUNE you CAN recall..near-Instantly. (Partly because it's got a LOT of Lyrics to it/a Rap on the way out, AND a Changing Chorus. Hard TO Remember-it-all, Word-Wise!)

Maybe it's Just Me. But..I DO remember Melodies/CAN'T remember Words. (Ask someone to SING ya a Song...they can't-always...but ask 'em to HUM it..they'll USUALLY come up with A Version.)

So..Much as I Love Words..I rest my case. I was listening to a Current Rock Group's MP3 yesterday..& confess I couldn't hear MANY Words thru the Fuzztone Guitars. But..It Sells. (You COULD hear All-The-Angst..heh!)

Rap, tho "Words are Important"..when you're NOT Gluing Your Ears near The Speakers..MOST of what ya hear is An "Artist-With-Attitude"...with some Good Funk behind him. JMO. (Yeah, sure..there ARE Exceptions... but..as A Genre? C'mon!)

Country...Hmmm. Just as in Rock (Where Billy Joel..Paul Simon..& lots of Other Luminaries get-Credit for Incredible Lyrics, deservedly)..YES there ARE some Great Country Storytellers. MAYBE with Country that "30%" torques-up to "40%"...but IF you Can't DANCE-To-It your Hit's STILL off to a BAD Start. My Mind still Better-Retains more of the Trumpety Background-Bits than All The Lyrics to Johnny Cash's "Ring-of-Fire"..(Much to my Chagrin!) Yeah, that "BURNS-BURNS-BURNS" is all Verbally "Killer"..but that "Bop-Pidda-Bop-Pidda-Bop-Bop-Bop" Trumpet Part is Solid GOLD in the MEMORY Banks! (I hadda go Back & type in the "S" on each "Burn-Burn-Burn"..that's how-badly I retain Words.)

Of course If You'd Asked "How Important Are Lyrics To ME in A Song?" I'd have to say they'll make up MY 50% of what a Song's Worth, since I play Zero Instruments/Words are All I Have..to steal my 50% away..heh! I also have a Hard Time writing Words UNLESS I have a Head-Melody to write them TO..or a Collaborator to write them WITH. My GUESS would be Wordsmiths most-often come up with a song's TITLE..which is SO-Important..when the Buying Public IS in the mood to BUY. (A Great Melody...with the Title "Rutabagas"..is prolly NOT destined for The Charts.)

And..a Great Melody with Audibly-BAD Lyrics...same Fate, Happens often-enough to be Prove-able. (But..just BURY those Words in the Mix...& maybe you got that Next Louie-Louie?)

Waal..time to Shaddup...OR..(Maybe this can still be saved with a Great SOLO spliced-in here?)

Best Wishes,
Stan


#733327 - 06/27/09 02:56 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: ]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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One of the things that haven't been pointed out is that when composers do set music to lyrics, the words help set the parameters for the song. Now sometimes those parameters become adjusted but the foundation was the meter and line length, the emotion of the lyrics help set the tone, so the harmonies that are then chosen are also derived from the lyrics.

This happens even when the lyrics may not be that interesting in themselves.

This also happens when the composer is writing the lyrics along with the music. A lot of composers write their songs as they alternate between creating the melody and lyric. One line may shape the contour of a melodic phrase which then invites the completion of the that phrase for the rest of the melodic line with the lyrics being created to fit it.


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#733497 - 06/27/09 11:21 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Z. Mulls]  
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Gary E. Andrews Offline
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Gary E. Andrews  Offline
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Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
I think most people relate to the lyric, and have some appreciation for the accompaniment.

I think most don't have an appreciation of the difficulty of execution of a guitar or keyboard riff, or percussion, but can appreciate a melodic series of notes on an instrument that might be compared to a vocal melody. Most relate to the main beat, and accompanying rhythms.

But when the song is over, it is the lyric and melody to which it is sung that they remember and that re-plays in their head, if it hooked them.

They may remember a part of the melody without the lyric, but only a part, whereas they may be able to recite the entirety of a lyric that is well-constructed, a story, well-rhymed, with a logical linear exposition. If they can sing the entire melody as well, it is probably the lyric that enables them to do so.

When I write I may get a guitar bit going and play it for some time, hooked on its virtues, but it is when I ad lib a line of lyric that I get hooked on the story implied in that line and feel the strong desire to explore where it might go.

As the songwriter you are the first listener. You should get hooked the same way you hope others will. And to me, the lyric's the thing. www.garyeandrews.com


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#733676 - 06/28/09 05:24 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Apr 2005
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Mike Caro Substudio Offline
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NY
How important is dough to pizza? smile

Doctor McCoy kinda somes up one very true HUGE aspect and answers this question.

Here is my FAVORITE scene from Star Trek 5 The Final Frontier

Kirk,Spock & McCoy are on leave in the woods sitting around a campfire

Kirk & McCoy start singing.....

Kirk & Dr McCoy - "row row row your boat,gently down the stream, merrily
merrily merrily - merrily life is but a dream. Spock,why didn't you jump in?"

Spock - "I was trying to comprehend the meaning of the words"

McCoy- "It's a song you green blooded Vulcan, you sing it, the words aren't important. What's important is that you have a good time singing it."

---------------------
And to finish out the scene
Spock - " Oh I'm sorry doctor,were we having a good time?"

McCoy - "God! I liked him better before he died"

Kirk - Okay okay lets just go to bed, get some sleep.

(Some Moments later)

Spock - "Captain"

Kirk - "Yes Spock what is it?"

Spock - "Life is not a dream"

Kirk- "Go to sleep Spock" LOL.. smile


If your song has lyrics then they are a VERY important ingredient. However how deep,and insightful,clever,playful,angry,sad,happy,unique,etc.. etc... they are is up to you and the kind of song you want to have. Then your target listening audience comes into play if your in the pitching game.
How they FIT & feel in the song is what's most important to me. And the world basically doesn't care really, they will buy WHATEVER money sell's them!

I know MANY musicians who don't even really pay attention to lyrics, they always say to me.. Oh I didn't even notice that line till you pointed it out. They are not songwriters...



Thanks!
Peace Mike
Sub

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#733778 - 06/29/09 10:04 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Kolstad  Offline
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Denmark
The 'how' is a difficult question methinks. Especially because it is based on a false premise, which makes any answer as speculative as the question.

As much as the philosopher Descartes was wrong when he analytically separated mind from body, I think it is equally impossible to calculate a fraction for this.

The answer must be, lyrics is and is not important in a song, it depends..

An instrumental can be functional as something a listener use for relaxation, dance, entertainment etc. And it can be meaningful in that sense, but it does not come with any intentional meanings from the producing team..

A song with a lyric is suggesting an intentional meaning as a part of the attraction, and the listener can then choose a relationship with the song.

As you see any attempt to answer this comes across as a sort of self-evident babbel :-)

I would say we should put lyrics in songs, if we feel we have something to say to others, no matter how insignificant that might seem.

Otherwise, there's no point


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#737810 - 07/14/09 06:56 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Kolstad]  
Joined: Jul 2009
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1EAGARDENER Offline
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1EAGARDENER  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 4
Florida, USA
Then there's delivery. Can you imagine anyone other than Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit"? Well, maybe Ella. I don't think Sinatra or Phil Collins.

Great songs are like a troika...music, words, delivery. Everyone is acutely focused on a vision, an emotion, a singular vibration. They get into the world of that vibration and converse.

Sometimes, as in Beethoven's string quartets, the interplay of instruments, the conversational quality of the notes being played, are lyrical enough. If you want to hear great non-lyrics at their lyrical best, you can't beat Beethoven's, "Grosse Fugue". Check it out. You'll see what I mean. Four voices arguing life and death. Not a single word, but you get it.
It's that "ab alto" realm where sound gnaws you raw then consumes the marrow and bones.

A good lyricist is a word craftsman able to create recognizable edifices upon the bulwark and struts of a sound city. The listeners have to know where to go. They have to know where the doors that lead to the interior are. Knowing human psychology, being an observer, loads the toolbox.

It doesn't have to be complex to be memorable. A good song, with or without lyrics must capture and emotionally galvanize an audience.

When you hear anyone sing, "We Shall Overcome" the galvanizing factor is clear - not merely suggested. Whenever it is sung, you know EXACTLY what's going on. That is success!





#737826 - 07/14/09 08:44 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: 1EAGARDENER]  
Joined: Oct 2006
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Kevin Edward Rose Offline
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Kevin Edward Rose  Offline
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Posts: 1,478
Richmond, IN U.S.A.
The following is from the movie "Music and Lyrics.":

Alex Fletcher: It doesn't have to be perfect. Just spit it out. They're just lyrics.
Sophie Fisher: "Just lyrics"?
Alex Fletcher: Lyrics are important. They're just not as important as melody.
Sophie Fisher: I really don't think you get it.
Alex Fletcher: Oh. You look angry. Click your pen.
Sophie Fisher: A melody is like seeing someone for the first time. The physical attraction. Sex.
Alex Fletcher: I so get that.
Sophie Fisher: But then, as you get to know the person, that's the lyrics. Their story. Who they are underneath. It's the combination of the two that makes it magical.


Kevin Edward Rose
Celtic, Americana, whatever the folk.
Hailed by Performing Songwriter magazine as a "valued subscriber".
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http://www.KevinEdwardRose.com
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#737830 - 07/14/09 09:15 AM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Kevin Edward Rose]  
Joined: May 2006
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Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Saint Petersburg. FL
Here is a video that points out the importance of lyrics, courtesy of Joe Cocker.


[color:#990000]A Little Help[/color]


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#737867 - 07/14/09 12:16 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 406
eb Offline
Serious Contributor
eb  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 406
Georgia
This morning while engaged in some important activity, I thought about 50/90 song thing. I read some of the stuff yesterday and thought if you don't have depth of at least 1/16 deep in the river called the song, what is the point. So I wrote a verse and chorus real quick. That got me thinking about the need for lyrics. I'm a lyric person so I'm biased. I thought about McCartney using dummy lyrics while writing Yesterday. I've always heard he did that--wrote dummy lyrics to the song. I got to thinking why write dummy lyrics? Why not just do the melody without the words. Sometimes I think the lyrics are just an accessory to the music. You can sing a song acapella but only if you have lyrics. Otherwise you'd just be humming but then you'd doing melody, not lyrics. How important are lyrics is a good question. Today, at this moment, I think not very.

#737869 - 07/14/09 12:18 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Jan 2009
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
It depends on the market and the genre.

In country, it is about 70% lyrics. Country has always been about conversational storytelling lyrics. The general rule of thumb is the music gets them there, lyrics keep them there. A great melody can rescue a mediocre lyric. It never happens the other way around.

In the current music market it is one thing to get people's attention, that is hard enough. Trying to get them to listen over and over and physically purchase the song is another deal.
Ask yourself this.
How many instrumentals have become hits over songs that have lyrics? And when was the last time a mainstream instrumental song became a hit.

I may be wrong but I think it was like "Rise" in the early 90's. Before that it was Chariots of Fire and the theme from Miami Vice." I can't remember much past that.

MAB

#737871 - 07/14/09 12:22 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
LOL, I have seen that before; it's hilarious.


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#737918 - 07/14/09 02:30 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
Joined: Jun 2006
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eb Offline
Serious Contributor
eb  Offline
Serious Contributor

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Posts: 406
Georgia
For a long time everytime I saw Cocker I thought there was something physically/mentally wrong like a brain injury.

#737943 - 07/14/09 04:35 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: eb]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Nope,

Started out like that and a "Whole" lotta drugs. He did fall off a stage in the 70's in Tuscalossa alabama and did some damage but most of it is just a style developed over the years.

MAB

#737947 - 07/14/09 04:44 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Jul 2009
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1EAGARDENER Offline
Casual Observer
1EAGARDENER  Offline
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Florida, USA
Originally Posted by Colin Ward
Here is a video that points out the importance of lyrics, courtesy of Joe Cocker.


[color:#990000]A Little Help[/color]


ROFLMAO!!!!

Believe me, it was deliciously worse in person. I was there. It was so deliciously worse in person, that I subsequently purchased Joe Cocker, in person, Fillmore East tickets. It was deliciously worse-er there. Ah, the worser old days. How magnificent...

#737966 - 07/14/09 06:10 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: 1EAGARDENER]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,908
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

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Posts: 7,908
Saint Petersburg. FL
Believe it or not, I saw Joe in concert about three years ago and he was totally normal! And very good.........


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#737978 - 07/14/09 07:23 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Jul 2009
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1EAGARDENER Offline
Casual Observer
1EAGARDENER  Offline
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Florida, USA
Which gives rise to the question of what might have been had Beethoven gone the detox route.
:-)

#737979 - 07/14/09 07:26 PM Re: How important are lyrics in a song? [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 7,997
Mike Caro Substudio Offline
Mike Caro Substudio  Offline

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NY
Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
It depends on the market and the genre.

In country, it is about 70% lyrics. Country has always been about conversational storytelling lyrics. The general rule of thumb is the music gets them there, lyrics keep them there. A great melody can rescue a mediocre lyric. It never happens the other way around.

In the current music market it is one thing to get people's attention, that is hard enough. Trying to get them to listen over and over and physically purchase the song is another deal.
Ask yourself this.
How many instrumentals have become hits over songs that have lyrics? And when was the last time a mainstream instrumental song became a hit.

I may be wrong but I think it was like "Rise" in the early 90's. Before that it was Chariots of Fire and the theme from Miami Vice." I can't remember much past that.

MAB


Very true...

I'm not positive but I think Kenny G may have been the last one with a number one #1 instrumental.

That is part of the BIG problem with popular music today. And why it is completely smoked by decades past. The versatility is erased now that is a fact. And musicians position in the popular music has been GREATLY reduced and replaced
by "The Producer" and the other 2 P's Pro-Tools & Pitch Correction

There are still GREAT musicians by that I mean musicians musicians, they are just not popular period.. Only on youtube and you know how much that pays? $0
They do get some movie work though at least.

But what a shame. Maybe one day it will turn back again.

The Midnite Special was a big show and huge for music. It was on TV when there were only seven channels. That is HUGE! Jaco performed on that show. Okay! As did many other instrumentalists, Chuck Mangione, George Benson, etc... People used to be exposed to great music and musicians by the record labels. That is over!


Thanks!
Peace Mike
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