Do Song Lyrics matter?

Think of your favorite song that has lyrics in it. If you remove the lyrics, is it just as good? Is it worse? How important are the lyrics to the overall song?

One of my favorite bands to listen to is Defeater. Listen to them for a second below.

The band’s lyrics tell the story of the hardships of a family living during the post WW2 era. A year ago, I stumbled upon this blog post (most likely crafted to annoy fans of Defeater) criticizing the lyrics of band for being boring. The author of the blog post stated the band would be better off writing songs about the Jersey Shore cast because that’s where the real money lies.

What if Defeater kept their same sound, but they actually took this guy’s silly idea. Does all their mastery over instruments disappear once they change the content of their songs to something else? Do they just become a bad band? Do people listen to bands for their lyrics or their sound? Is it both?

You can’t even hear the lyrics to some songs. I know I’ve listened and enjoyed bands while having no idea what they were actually singing. Could singers be as effective singing nonsense into the microphone?

Rap gets a lot of hate for the lyrics. It degrades women and promotes violence. I doubt certain rappers would be just as popular if they started rapping about the danger that global warming poses to the environment. Do the lyrics matter more to certain genres than others?

What about the complete removal of lyrics? I’ve listen to the instrumental version of songs. Some don’t feel as though they are missing something. The instrumental version sounds just as complete as the lyrical version does. The songs don’t become incomplete once the lyrics are removed.  Others are different.

Removing the lyrics to “Beat It” also removes Michael Jackson  from the song. It might as well not be his song anymore. It’s not bad, but it is missing something. I can’t figure out the exact importance of lyrics. It’d be great if someone out there who makes music or knows more than me, could fill me in on how important song lyrics to the overall song.

One thought on “Do Song Lyrics matter?

  1. I’ve studied a wee bit of music theory, but you don’t need anybody who “knows something about music” to answer that question.

    It’s all a matter of taste. I personally can enjoy a song for any variety of individual qualities, including lyrics, instrumentation, and quality of someone’s voice (completely independent from what they’re singing about.) I know some people that won’t listen to music unless it does have lyrics to it. I know people that only listen to music if you can dance to it. Lyrics are just another element of the song, and their meaning can even change based on other qualities of the song.

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