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The Rant Arena
by Everett Adams - 07/15/24 08:06 AM
His Hand Will Close My Eyes
by JAPOV - 07/14/24 10:01 PM
Name That Tune Challenge
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I have an Alternative Solution
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No More Sorrow
by bennash - 07/14/24 04:14 PM
My exploration of AI created song stuff
by Bill Draper - 07/14/24 04:14 PM
Do you want a board for "Assisted" music?
by bennash - 07/14/24 10:47 AM
Bernie Madoff( Now It's done )
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Prophecy anyone?
by JAPOV - 07/13/24 11:26 PM
THree more cuts
by Everett Adams - 07/13/24 08:43 AM
Poof
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The Summer Of Love (Carroll Kiphen's lyric)
by Bill Draper - 07/13/24 02:05 AM
Where are my past entries at now?
by JAPOV - 07/12/24 11:29 PM
A Worthy Note
by Bill Draper - 07/12/24 03:32 PM
I Wish I Was an Ant
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River
by bennash - 07/12/24 07:39 AM
Lou Evans with WORLD5 on the Bev Moore Show.
by World5 Music - 07/11/24 01:25 PM
The Slower You Get
by bennash - 07/11/24 09:45 AM
Problem I foresee with ai
by bennash - 07/11/24 08:47 AM
OnLine...
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Im runnin out of songs...
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I'm Your Star (AI)
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Urban Poetry
by Fdemetrio - 07/10/24 10:47 AM
So who has played with Udio?
by Gregory Watton - 07/09/24 07:15 PM
Tom Waits.. What's he building
by bennash - 07/09/24 06:06 PM
Raining In My Heart (AI)
by Rob B. - 07/09/24 05:39 PM
Urban Poetry
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YELLIN AT CLOUDS
by Bill Draper - 07/08/24 03:56 PM
Stuck Here At The Light
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The relationship between music and lyrics is the one marriage that will never break up. Neither can make it totally on their own. Each compliments and enhances the other. Great topic!!!!!

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Remember the song, "Just Walk Away Renee?" I dare you to sing the lyrics...I could never understand a word he was singing...except, "Just Walk Away Renee," so I think the hook theory has a lot of merit.

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It is obvious from some of the posts here that some people over emphasis the importance of lyrics....but forget about the really important things like melody, performance and production.
Even hymns are pretty iffy without a good tune and performance.

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Gospel need lyrics with a message to be effective.Much of the newer Gospel music I'm seeing has very little message in it,poorly structured and very little rhyme.But it is easy to remember the words because there are so few,therefore they get used in church a lot.


The more you taste the bitterness of defeat, the sweeter final victory will be

May the flowers of love forever bloom in your garden of life

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This is a really old topic which has been discussed at length probably 100 times or more over the years. I've also written about it in the newsletter. For me the lyrics are the least important factor in a hit song with the exception of the hook line. But in a few genres it matters more. For most, it's all about the music, the melody, the groove, the drums/beat, and the hook. Production alone can make or break a song regardless of any other factor.

That's not to say it isn't important to motivate composers to write the music.. I think it may impact the melody maker more than the listeners in the end. There are very few songs (if any) where someone can repeat all the lyrics correctly or even understand all the lyrics exactly. Ask anyone to sing the lyrics to their favorite songs and often they can't do it, even though they sing along to parts of it.

Kind of a predictable post and set of responses. There are always exceptions, but the overwhelming evidence tends to pile up in one direction.

Brian


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These "kinds" of questions are like "how long is a piece of string?", or "what's the difference between a basketball"?

Without context, or added parameters, they cannot be properly answered.. "it depends" is as close as you can get.



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"How important are lyrics?"

I ask that all the time. Some months back, we wrote a blues song about a girl who was nothing more than a teaser/deceiver, who took a man for all he was worth, and then went her merry way. I didn't think it would get a big response; I posted it on Soundcloud and pulled 400+ listens in four days. I was amazed - it is still my most listened to song.

About a week ago, I posted another blues song about gambling addiction. FOUR listens to date. Yup. Lowest one I've ever had. Title is "Gold Bars".....doesn't even allude to the message until you listen carefully to the lyrics....

So - both with what I consider decently crafted lyrics, and great instrumentals, I ask the question - and of course lyrics relate....

1) Why does one song take off into the sky so quickly? Is it because more people relate to it?

2) Is it the music? Should not be....both have a "similar bluesy/drowsy" sound with the same vocal style!

3) Is the second one less popular because the general theme is a negative one? I mean, Clapton? Cocaine? Not even pretending in any way/shape/form this song is ANYWHERE at that level, but addiction is something that has been written about many times before....

What is it then? And how important ARE the lyrics? I wish I knew.

Pop

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Ultimately, I believe good lyrics are a bonus.

Many times I'll just hear a song's intro and know I'm going to like it. And, of course, there are many, many popular songs with no lyrics at all.

Song critics, however, take lyrics more seriously. I remember reading an interview with John Denver and he was asked about particular lyrics because the critics were going to hit him for it. If I remember correctly, he said he didn't write for the critics.


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I think the question is incomplete.

It's kind of like asking how important is the chord progression?

No real answer.

Firstly, how important for what? and how important to whom?

Does a lyric need to be perfectly crafted, with lots of descriptive words(which often mean nothing) lots of twists and plots(which, who says there are supposed to be)

Even a song with only a few lyrics in it, those few lyrics are still important because they are what the song is made out of.

I dont even think it's genre specific, there are well crafted rock songs, and terribly crafted country songs or folk songs.

It's song specific.

And what is a great lyric? Who says a great lyric has to make one bit of sense. I didnt understand Like A Rolling Stone very well, I didnt understand Hotel California very well, I didnt understand American Pie very well, but those songs took me somewhere. They made an experience when listening, is that what a great lyric does?

I know from my own listening, I pick up lines, words, phrases, that become meaningful to me, all by themselves, completely removed from the total song.

I recall back in high school the Kinks Song "DO It Again"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEw0ZYlpYXE

Alot of the lines resonated with me big time, I never once asked what the song was about, or cared, I just knew i LOVED THIS SONG

and the lyric did play a part in it

Especially this line

"But it's superficial and
It's only skin deep"

not an important part of the lyric but it was the line I kept singing over and over. I remember a friend saying, "man you really like that line"

LoL dont even know why. Some lines just hit us, I dont think you can purposely write like that, it's just the magic of music.

Lyrics can mean everything or very little, depending on the song and the listener.



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I was talking to someone on Ohm studio the other night who was hanging around while I laid down a vocal track. Finished, I said" What do you think"?

His answer: "I don't really give a *%@$# about the lyrics or what is being said, I don't listen for that. If the singing goes well with the melody and rest of the music, it's good enough for me. This is what makes all of us different as musicians.....".

Well, that's one observation, right or wrong. This guy is NOT a singer/lyricist, and puts music together through sampling (doesn't play anything). Hmmmm.....

Pop

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I think it depends on the style of music. And moreso the style of song.

Most people including myself miss the lyrics to alot of music. But the concepts, the basic idea of what the song is based on, is important.

in comercial pop the main hook might be all there is

"i got the moves like jaggar" I got the moo ooh ooh ooh ohh oves like jaggar"

Somebody had to come up with that lol, seems easy but the combination of melody and lyric in a memorable hook is a definte skill that you can improve and work on

for a blues song, Its more about the perfomances, the grit of the singer, the guitar and piano playing, the breaks. Just get people stomping and your good to go.

But there are alos tons of songs where the lyric is at least important as the music.

"welcome to the hotel california" who thinks of that?

I think the lyrics helps the song become memorable, in combination with the melody. Otherwise, instrumentals would be topping the charts.

I guess the singer has alot to do with it as well, but people do relate or try to relate to lyrics, whether they get the real meaning or not


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Here are some catchy songs, that many would attribute to just the production, but i disagree partially, I think the melody and lyric line in the hooks are what does it. Not just the production

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vz5HBbRH4M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JV74i4yvcA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejre44FR2oo

Last edited by Bugsey; 08/27/13 03:27 AM.
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I do what is in my mind more then what is formidable. Lyrics are the best to who reviews my recordings, outside of having a recognizable influence.
I must admit that I have heard lyrics that do not seem much to me yet the music carried them.
The music itself can seem unspoken.

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Originally Posted by R&M
I do what is in my mind more then what is formidable. Lyrics are the best to who reviews my recordings, outside of having a recognizable influence.
I must admit that I have heard lyrics that do not seem much to me yet the music carried them.
The music itself can seem unspoken.


Music probably carries most lyrics. But lyrics are meant to be sung, on paper they may not seem like anything at all, but sung they take on a new life. That is why having a good match of melody, music, and lyrics are important, cause they are all saying the same thing.



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If you have a message to deliver, something to say,lyrics are important.Something to dance to,lyrics take a back seat.

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The real problem here is the question.

It is not a black or white or us vs them situation.

Even WITHIN a piece, there is a beginning, a middle (which you can also break down) and an end...all of them need attention.

Think about hugely memorable songs...take the sax opening in Baker Street, or the organ in Whiter Shade of Pale.

These openings are etched into your mind, I guarantee it...well if you lived through those years.

Then think of your favourite "lyric driven song", your favourite "dance song", your favourite "rhythm song", your favourite "blues song", jazz piece, classical composition, chord progression, bridge etc...all have reasons to be likable and good, and (yuk yuk) sound reasons why they are your favourites.

Now realize art is subjective and your choices are as valid as anyone's

So one person might be blown away by the organ solo and music supporting Whiter Shade Of Pale, while another marvels at the quality of the lyric.

So the answer to "how important is a lyric anyway?" really is "how long is a piece of string?" or "what is the difference between a basketball?"





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just stumbled upon this thread .. always a timeless spirited topic among songwriters!

I just had the most fortunate experience to sit with a very well respected Nashville publisher/pitcher and play a few songs live.

I got some great feedback overall. some very specific feedback on the lyrics,regarding imagery others,word choice, etc. Some things I knew and this validated my possible "laziness" and some were quite eye opening. While I always believed in the importance of the lyric ..sitting in this one-on-one session was now convinced of it!
That is until ...
I played this a new uptempo song. I was excited to play this song and get feedback because I really worked on crafting these lyics .. I actually wrote my first 'evolving chorus' .. something I never had the ambition to do in the past. I was waiting for his feedback.
As quickly as I began playing the song, he closed his eyes and his head was moving to the beat of the music all the way til the end of the song ..
His response was AWESOME!! First question.. "Why isn't this song recorded yet?" .. response, "it is new, and currently being recorded on my new album" He responded, "I want a copy as soon as it is done" WOW!!!
I was thrilled!! My first attempt at an evolving chorus was a great success! ..
At least I thought so....
He quickly continued .. I was so drawn into the groove, the melody and your voice .. I was lost in the song! I never even grasped the story!! "GASP" shocked "What!?!?" I wanted to say, "What about my painstaking lyrics & evolving chorus??" I felt myself retreat and responded "That's not a good thing" cry To which he responded, "NO!! That's a GREAT thing! That's how people listen when they are driving!! They just get caught in the music!"
Ok then! I will send the song to pitch, hopefully it will grab him just the same when he does actually hear the lyrics.

My final verdict.. I guess it depends on the song and maybe genre .. but, I still think it is about the whole song. Great lyrics with a great melody will give an overall great song.

It's crazy, but we keep doing it because we can't help ourselves!
For the love of music,
Joanne

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I'm a long time sucker for a great melody, that's what grabs me at first......but.......if the lyrics are fluff, the shine wears off very quickly. Speaking for myself, great lyrics keep me buying/listening for years........great melody has me listening for a minute/days ect.

even if it's lyrically light in message, if it's well said and creative and not over used/over cliche'd......I become a life long fan in most cases.

it is correct to observe that most people can't recite the lyrics to songs, beyond the hook/chorus....but I think most those people don't want a real message, or admire a lyricist's creative way of saying things.....so it doesn't matter to them.

Me?....I usually need the whole package, there are some exceptions that keep me listening due to exceptional musicianship ect......but I mostly gravitate to the whole shebang.

three cents.

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Since I like to consider myself good at lyrics, I WISH lyrics were more important. Commercially speaking, I would pick melody over lyrics for 99% of the songs.

But (and this is really an argument to tweak every song to be the best it can be) lyrics do add something, and sometimes that little bit extra can be the difference between being 10 on the charts instead of 11, 100 on the charts instead of 101, 500 instead of 501. and that can be a huge difference in how much airplay it gets.

Then to be the Devils advocate to the devils advocate, I will put out the concept that lyrics are THE ONLY important thing. 200 years from now when most of this era's music is forgotten, people will occasionally talk about John Lennon, perhaps in praise, distaste, or both. But it will be because of the lyrics not the melody of "Imagine".


IIt's times like these you learn to love again. Foo Fighters


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Here is a theory I developed while sitting at the toilet.

The more of a fan you are of an artists music, the more involved you will be in their lyrics.

I think the only reason people were interested in the beatles lyrics, was because they were such a popular group, and once you bought the record, you find that the lyrics provide some extra entertainment, something you didnt catch the first time around.

I think alot of songs are written to be entertaining first, if you cant entertain somebody, forget anything else. But once they are enterained, then your message can get through.

This way, people can be entertained, and walk away happy, never knowing what was said.

I think Bruce Springsteen was great at that. You didnt have to know any of his lyrics, You could go to a concert and get your ass rocked off, without ever knowing one thing he said. I have spoken with many fans ar concerts, and they really have no idea what his music is all about!

But for the fans who enjoy that, there was more to it.

As a nobody songwriter, I think you have to do more than one thing right. You got to have it all working, music, lyric, performance, recording, production, cause you are up against world beaters in music. You can't half ass anything and be succesfull.

But if writing for your own enjoyment, and not worried about any success, it really doesn't matter what the hell you write!

Flush....

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If melody is the most important thing,how come we don't have more instrumentals on the charts? If you are trying to tell a story or convey a message,lyrics are important.

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Originally Posted by Everett Adams
If melody is the most important thing,how come we don't have more instrumentals on the charts? If you are trying to tell a story or convey a message,lyrics are important.


This is true. The song has to be about something, but I think the point being made is, does it matter what is said, so long as something is said.

I think people pick up fragments of lyrics along the way, but if they REALLY like a song, like owning the song, not just hearing it on the radio, then they will seek out the lyrics to get a better understanding of it.

I think at first listen, the hook is the most important thing.

It's kind of like learning guitar. You can play well enough by ear, not really understanding all the theory involved, BUT, the theory is there for those who want to know it.


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I'll mame my answer over-simplistic...

I think, more than anything, it depends on genre. In Country and Folk, most people want a story...but more and more, as Country blends with Pop Rock, the music is becoming important to the listener. In Rock and jazz, thre listener is more often drawn in by the music.

Of course there are exceptions. But for the most part, this is waht I have noticed and believe. I've watched the evolution of music since the early 60's...made my first dollar (actually $8.00) in August of 1963. For the most part, what I said in the preceding paragraph has been true from my observations. But other folks may have had differing observations, suggesting something different..

Al

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Originally Posted by Al David
I'll mame my answer over-simplistic...

I think, more than anything, it depends on genre. In Country and Folk, most people want a story...but more and more, as Country blends with Pop Rock, the music is becoming important to the listener. In Rock and jazz, thre listener is more often drawn in by the music.

Of course there are exceptions. But for the most part, this is waht I have noticed and believe. I've watched the evolution of music since the early 60's...made my first dollar (actually $8.00) in August of 1963. For the most part, what I said in the preceding paragraph has been true from my observations. But other folks may have had differing observations, suggesting something different..

Al


it is genre to a point, but I dont think country is even country any more. So the answer might be different today.

I earned 75 bucks in 1986 for a start, and watch the evolution of music since MTV began. but I listened to all the stuff from the 50's on

But every rock band that I love had great lyrics. Sure there are your Van Halens and jam bands and your fun bands, which is great too, but there are more than a few exceptions.

I recall wearing headphones and taking in every nuance from lyric to guitars in all the classic rock bands from pink floyd to
Van Halen.

I still maintain that it is not the genre, but the person listening. If the person is only halfway involved with the song, the lyric wont matter, but if they live and breath the song, which many people do, then they will know the lyrics.

Maybe country people are inclined to listen for lyrics, so the music accomodates that.

But there are thousands upon thousands of rock songs that have great lyrics.

More 3 cents

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Bugsey,

I agree there are many rock songs with fantastic lyrics. But i still wonder if it's the music that first interests the listener or is it the lyric. In other words, is the lyric appreciation incidental to the music first catching the listener's ear..or is it the other way around?

Again i agree with you that the expectations and values ascribed by the listener probably have as much influence as the genre. perhaps we're both right to some degree? Regardless, you started an interesting thread and I;ve enjoyed the comments offered in response to it. Best to ya,

Al

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Also Bugsey,

I liked your reply to Everett Adams analogizing the guitar who deosn't know theory with the one who does...nicely done!

I know theory but am self-taught. As Mike Dunbar told me a couple of years ago..."Al, you do know theory (after I said I didn't), you just learned it with a different vocabulary and your self-defined references."

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Thank You, I do have my moments.

Yeah, I think it is the music that first attracts the listener, even something as simple as the beat. But if people find themselves moved by a song then the lyrics start to mean something.

We're both right and probably both wrong, we cant look it up in the dictionary and find the right answer!

There are many ways lyrics can add to a song, though. Meaning is just one. The sound of the words is huge. The entertainment the lyrics provide outside of any meaning makes the song even more powerful.

Here is a song by Springsteen which is not one of his big tunes, but to sing along with the words, it's alot of fun, in addition to be being entertaining musically, melodically and it has a meaning to

Basicly saying beauty fades, People need to rely on more than looks for something that lasts

Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN20vPIpXMk

Last edited by Bugsey; 10/08/13 04:17 AM.
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Hey Bugsey...

I'll take a listen to that Springsteen soing in a little whuile and get back to you. Thanks for your reply!

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for anyone trying to break into the recording side of the industry they are immensely important, so is the melody, so is the hook, and the production...it's all got to be there in "perfect Harmony" to garner that initial attention...every word, phrase, story line, has to fit and roll off the tongue or be so damn catchy every one is singin the sh*t out of the catchy part by the end of the chorus. The part that confuses so many writers is that once you have an established artist, in any genre other than country, they write and record what the hell they want to write and record, and it sells, BECAUSE THEY ARE ESTABLISHED. Yours might be technically, melodically, rhythymically, lyrically better than alot of it, but if you aren't established you don't have that free ticket to the listening party yet. And that's why they keep saying, the networking, business side is a big part of getting where you wanna get...always has been, always will be. We all know there are thousands of hits that the lyrics are just so so...but they're catchy as hell in some aspect. Then there are lyrical masterpieces like American Pie that remain timeless. Hit Songs have IT, That IT can come in one or several areas of the song, doesn't have to be the lyrics, but it sure doesn't hurt. If the melody sucks, a great lyric ain't going anywhere. Saw the Beach Boys and Jeff Beck this week, WOW , really reminded of what a great composer Brian Wilson was and is...there are some catchy tunes, with strong hooks, great harmonies, and HIT MELODIES. Help Me Rhonda, Surfin USA, etc...absolutely timeless.

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I may have 2-3 books of Poetry here...but I have 100s of CDs... &..I'm primarily a Lyricist, since I play Zero Instruments.

&, while I LOVE good Lyrics, I'll be the first to admit ya don't hear ANY hit songs that don't have Great Melodies/Catchy Rhythm/Pretty Good Vocals.

Somewhere during My Formative Years I heard "Hit Songs are about 70% Melody/30% Lyrics to be Successful." It's a decent Stat...when ya think about it. On-Average.

BUT..on-occasion...there'll always be that Lyrically-Based Mega-Hit....like "The Wind Beneath My Wings"...that Lyrics went above-&-beyond The Minimum-Necessary... &..I'm sure each can name Quite a Few Others.

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I didnt hear back from Al David on the song I provided.

I was kind of hoping he'd say something about it, so I could make another point.

I reckon he's working on his writing.

I gave a first impression meaning of the song, about a girl who survives on her looks,and the singer is warning her about what happens when it all goes.

But, there is a second entirely different meaning to this song. Albeit, a hidden one.

This is where my point about being involved with the artists music, makes you pay attention to the lyrics.

Knowing when it was released, during all the kaos about Bush allegedly starting a war without warrant

on the flip side of this song is an ANTI BUSH song!

And if you know Bruce, you know he despised Bush.

I dont agree with some of his politics, but I choose not to let it interfere with my enjoyment of his music.

I take what I want out of it, and I choose to hear a song about a the girl. On other occasions, I might choose to go along with his ideas.

But for sure, this shows that not only do lyrics mean something and matter, they can mean TWO completely different things,
and if done right can work equally well for both.

Just Amazing, and to make the song fun on top of it all for those who dont care about either meaning.

But closer look at the lyrics reveals it:

White Roses and Misty Blue eyes
Red Mornings but nothing but gray skies

Colors of the flag hey? And the gray skies? He's saying that those colors are gray as were not being true to the colors.(again,
I dont agree with all of his politics, and I wont opine on this either)


The chorus

"You'll be coming Down" A warning to a girl, but also a warning to the administration that we are going to get backlash for it.

Easy Street, A Quick Buck and True Lies (War makes money, Lying about why we are going to war)

Smiles as thin as those dusky Blue Skies. (fake)

Silver plate of pearls my golden child (Golden Child=slang, A person amongst a populace who everyone seems to love no matter what)

Etc Etc, now when you listen, you will see two possible, completely different meanings here.

Lyrics Matter, sometimes they matter twice!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZN20vPIpXMk

Last edited by Bugsey; 10/10/13 04:43 AM.
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The lyric is unimportant unless it is really necessary smile

This debate has gone round and round since the dawn of JPF some 13 14 years ago.

Music is art. There is no general statement that applies. It's like asking, how important is the guitar anyway?, how important is the keyboard anyway?, how important is the bass anyway? how important are the drums anyway?





If writing ever becomes work I think I'm going to have to stop

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Looks like it's gonna take another video to end this debate:

This poor guy was once a NFL football player. I know what it's like to relate to music so much myself, and I know lyrics matter, depending on who is listening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLHPm_8_Yis

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