Author Topic: Lyrics in rock music-do they matter?  (Read 845 times)

baz

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Lyrics in rock music-do they matter?
« on: April 21, 2019, 12:50:10 PM »
Well,it's fifty years since I first heard Man at Trinity College,Carmarthen-was immediately hooked- and have followed them ever since.Was musing the other day,whilst listening to "Storm" for the 91st time-that it was the SOUND of Man-the beat,the guitars,the melodies,the improvisations etc. that most appealed to me and I rarely "took in" any lyrics-which were ,essentially,incidental to the general sound.And .looking back over their amazing catalogue,i would argue that their lyrics were rarely meaningful- although usually apposite to the sound/melody,tone.
I would further suggest that this applies to rock music generally,especially hard rock where the lyrics rarely matter and are often  meaningless and, sometimes ,laughable.There are some notable exceptions-10cc(Gouldman),later Feetwood Mac for example in the soft rock category but ,basically,one has to look to folk-Dylan,Guthrie etc or ballads-"My Way", "Going Back" etc where the lyrics dominate-or,ultimately, to poetry .Am making generalisations here but ,hopefully,my general point has some weight.
Would be interested to read your views on this topic especially re Man.Have I underestimated the" lyrical dimension" of Man and rock music generally-perhaps you can provide some examples to the contrary of my thesis i.e.that Man and their their ilk created a bloody good sound-and that was enough.It certainly was, and is, for me!

Nigelbb

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Re: Lyrics in rock music-do they matter?
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2019, 10:09:30 AM »
Often times lyrics are a pleasant noise just like any other instrument contributing to the overall sound a bit like scat singing in jazz. Other times it's the sound of the words rather than any meaning so when Dylan sings:-

My love, she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence.
She doesn't have to say she's faithful
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire.

The words are not nonsense but sound as though they mean something & generate a feeling &/or an emotion

Likewise these words in the context of the accompanying music.

Look at this green fly crawling 'cross my page
Look at all the ants in splintered frosted glaze
Many are called but few get up
Will you?

To be fair Dylan's words read better on the page but he is the poet after all. Bottom line is we need to have some lyrics so we can sing along while waving our arms or punching the air :).