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tdn
04-26-2011, 08:47 PM
What's more important to you when you listen to a song with both vocals that you can understand and great instrumentation, melody, harmony, and beat? Would a great John Lennon song sound better if sung by Gilbert Godfried or played on a piano? Would you rather hear a song read as a poem or played as an instrumental?

I understand that most people would like to vote "Somewhere in between" or "Both are important" or "The two can't be separated" or "Silly Skald, you grand fool, you forgot..."

But in the upcoming poll, vote for what you MOST agree with.

pulykamell
04-26-2011, 09:24 PM
For me, it's mostly music. There are many exceptions, but most of the time, I don't care about the lyrics as long as they don't actively distract from the music.

panache45
04-26-2011, 10:42 PM
In general it's the music. There's one thing I hate: songs in which it's obvious that the lyrics were written first, and they just made up some uninspired melody that fits. This is especially grating when they use recognizable poetry. Or even worse, prose.

A few years ago my chorus performed an entire concert of "Tunes from the Tales," A collection of songs based on excerpts from Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City." Maupin, himself, was the narrator. None of the prose was adjusted to fit the melodies; it was used as-is, with no regard to rhyming or cadence. Though the concert was a huge success politically, it was not at all satisfying musically, in spite of the inspiring or humorous prose.

ultrafilter
04-26-2011, 11:00 PM
I voted music, but lyrics aside, the human voice is an instrument, and so its sound is important to the quality of a piece. I Zimbra (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-RDJ4Z4XrQ) is one of the best examples I know--the lyrics aren't even real words, but the vocal style is very important to the quality of the song.

Ephemera
04-26-2011, 11:05 PM
I don't care for much purely instrumental music, so the human voice is essential to music to me, but lyrics themselves are not. If the music sucks, I won't like a song no matter how powerful the words are, but if the music's great, I don't really care what the singer's actually singing, so long as they're vocalizing.

Joey P
04-26-2011, 11:19 PM
Music for me as well. I usually consider the lyrics just another instrument. Hell, I couldn't even tell you the lyrics to some of my favorite songs unless they're very very clear, which most of the time they're not.
Just today I was listening to my favorite Guess Who (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYKbTkmzRCg&feature=related) song. You could replace his vocals with a slide guitar and it would mesh with the song just as well...well, not really, but you get the idea.
On the other hand, take someone like Roger Waters and his booming voice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vJwfuRp7Iw&feature=related), contrasting the music like a lead guitar. Again, half the time I don't even know what he's saying, it's just part of the music.

tdn
04-27-2011, 08:07 AM
I agree that the human voice is another instrument. And regardless of the lyrics, it brings a sort of human connectedness to the music.

Thudlow Boink
04-27-2011, 08:32 AM
I voted "music"óbut I'm not joining the "I don't care what the lyrics are" crowd.

Unimaginative, meaningless lyrics set to interesting, beautiful or catchy or exiciting music is preferable to interesting, meaningful lyrics set to dull, boring music; but I'd rather have both good music and good lyrics.

johnpost
04-27-2011, 09:05 AM
there are rock and roll songs where the lyrics are probably just there to animate the band.

there are ballads where the lyrics are important to the wholeness of the song.

RealityChuck
04-27-2011, 09:14 AM
I listen first to the lyrics. Great lyrics can overcome so-so music. But, then, there are few great lyricists.

Peremensoe
04-27-2011, 09:22 AM
I don't care for much purely instrumental music, so the human voice is essential to music to me, but lyrics themselves are not. If the music sucks, I won't like a song no matter how powerful the words are, but if the music's great, I don't really care what the singer's actually singing, so long as they're vocalizing.

So you voted music?

rhubarbarin
04-27-2011, 09:58 AM
I can't even understand lyrics 90% of the time, and I can't remember the ones I can comprehend. Music of course.

Hal Briston
04-27-2011, 03:27 PM
My gut instinct was to say "lyrics", but when I thought about it, there are many more songs I love with bad or unintelligible lyrics which I love for the music. So, music it is.

Anaamika
04-27-2011, 03:34 PM
Lyrics by about a mile. Oh, the music is important, but if the lyrics are bad or stupid the song just won't have as much longevity for me. And I will listen to a song that has mediocre music if it has beautiful lyrics.

Blackhawk441
04-27-2011, 07:50 PM
Music. Although lyrics can really amplify a good song or make a bad one worse, as witnessed in the abomination known as "Friday."

Kim o the Concrete Jungle
04-27-2011, 08:00 PM
Music for me.

Most people don't even hear lyrics -- they'll completely misinterpret a song (e.g. Born In the USA), or sing the wrong words altogether (e.g. "Excuse me, while I kiss this guy.")

To me, lyrics are a kind of bonus. They're there to reward people who want to get deeper into a song and read the liner notes.

Yookeroo
04-27-2011, 09:54 PM
I listen first to the lyrics. Great lyrics can overcome so-so music. But, then, there are few great lyricists.

And great music can overcome so-so lyrics.

I voted music. But it's not a slam dunk. Great lyric do make a song better. But I have more tolerance for good music/bad lyrics than I do for bad music/good lyrics.

Ephemera
04-27-2011, 09:58 PM
So you voted music?

Versus lyrics? Yes. I am differentiating between vocalization and meaningful words, which are what lyrics are. I just want a human voice in there somewhere, if possible. That said, there are still plenty of instrumental songs I like whereas I couldn't tell you a single a cappella song I don't hate.

vdgg81
04-28-2011, 02:37 AM
I love good lyrics and there are some people whose talent writing them just leaves me in awe (Porter, Sondheim, Chico Buarque), but there is not one single song I can think of I like because of the lyrics despite the music. Great lyrics can make so-so music great, but can't redeem bad music. Great music trumps awful lyrics every time.

Also, unless the lyrics are really, really good, I mostly don't pay attention. I can sing along to several of my favorite songs, but if you were to stop the music and ask me what it was I was singing I'd have no idea.

Maybe 40 or 50% of the music I own is instrumental jazz or classical music, so the human voice, while great, also isn't essential to me.

The wind of my soul
04-28-2011, 08:50 AM
Despite being an English major, an editor, and a bookworm, I can listen to a song over and over again without really getting a grasp of what the song's about. Every once in a while, I'll actually listen to the lyrics and suddenly have a whole new appreciation for the song. The most recent example of this is "This" by Darius Rucker. Also "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer. They're really not hidden messages at all, so I think it's odd how long it takes me to digest the meaning of a song.

mrklutz
04-28-2011, 01:54 PM
An excellent example to support the "music" camp is Pink Floyd's The Great Gig in the Sky. Soaring vocals with no lyrics whatsoever, and Clare Torry's voice is absolutely haunting.

Voyager
04-28-2011, 06:17 PM
Lyrics - but many of my favorite albums are instrumental only, so I'm going by the requirement that the songs under question have both. But it strongly depends on the artist. Most Dylan songs are lyrics, most Cream songs are music.

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