#1
Hello,

I made this thread earlier in The Pit but didn't get a lot of useful replies.

I don't understand most of the lyrics I listen to. I can't even figure out the overall theme, nevermind understand every single line. Most lyrics seem like a collection of cryptic metaphors and inside jokes that only the author understands.

Is this something that can be learned? Can you give me any advice on how to get started?

I hope I'm not violating any rules. Many thanks in advance.
#2
Er...take English classes? As far as I've experienced, high school English classes have given pretty good advice for analyzing both poetry and writing in general...then again, this all depends...what kind of lyrics are we talking about here? How about you post some?
#4
Ignore the lyrics and focus on the groove, some songs make sense and some just don't and never will.
#5
Quote by Cavalcade
That might have something to do with the type of music you're trying to analyze. What sort of stuff do you listen to?


This. If you listen to indie folk bands, they tend to actually be cryptic metaphors. Take Blitzen Trapper for example.
If you listen to Pop and mainstream music, it's likely just about dancing, drinking alcohol or having sex/hooking up. If it's not, call me, I've always wanted to hear a pop song that isn't.
If you listen to metal, it's about having some sort of mental illness, being a criminal, slaying a dragon or an obscure greek tragedy play with heavy electric guitars.

Yeah, I did just completely stereotype based on Trivium.
Music is an art form that celebrates potential. So long as you're looking for it, you'll always find it.
#7
I'd listen to some stuff and just try and work it out line for line. Metaphors aren't hard to understand if you think about them in an logical manner, For example, I had no idea what half the Protest the Hero songs were about until I actually sat down and listened to them (without multitasking). Listening to and understanding music like that helps your song writing ability incedibly, the more cryptic the better it sounds.
#8
Quote by Cavalcade
That might have something to do with the type of music you're trying to analyze. What sort of stuff do you listen to?

Well, recently I've been listening to The Gaslight Anthem, Protest the Hero and the Tallest Man on Earth.

What I've noticed with a lot of songs is that once you know the central subject, then you can make sense of every line. For example, Protest the Hero's "Hair Trigger" didn't make a lot of sense until I read somewhere that it was about quitting smoking. Same for "1930" by the Gaslight Anthem, which is about the singer's grandmother who had Alzheimers'.

The thing is, I can't figure out the central subject of a song from the lyrics alone.
And yes, I have analysed poetry in English classes. They didn't help. I can identify writing techniques, but not the meaning.
Last edited by sashki at Nov 12, 2011,
#9
Tallest Man's lyrics are usually pretty easy to understand, I always thought. I mean, it isn't like pop stuff, he pretty much just lays it out for you.
I adore that guy though. he's great. his picking is so good.

but like Mr.Pink said earlier, the folk scene nowadays can be pretty tough sometimes. the lyrics are often in a different context than other stuff.
#10
Quote by Mr.Pink101
If you listen to Pop and mainstream music, it's likely just about dancing, drinking alcohol or having sex/hooking up. If it's not, call me, I've always wanted to hear a pop song that isn't.
Too easy
Quote by AgainstYou
I thought this was going to be the title for a song. I was very excited.
Love your avatar/user title.
Quote by sashki
Well, recently I've been listening to The Gaslight Anthem,
Quote by sashki
Protest the Hero
They kinda pride themselves on their cryptic lyrics.

The great thing about lyrics that aren't direct is that you can apply your own meaning to them which takes music to a whole new personal level.
Quote by sashki
Same for "1930" by the Gaslight Anthem, which is about the singer's grandmother who had Alzheimers'.
This one's an interesting one. Brian Fallon was talking about that song in an interview. I think he said he talked to a war vet who told him that he thought it was about two lovers or something. Fallon thought it was an interesting take on it and he loved the fact that people would put their own meanings to his songs and make it a part of their lives.

Also, the first two Gaslight records contain a lot of references to other works, so if you can't pick up on something right away, it's probably a Bruce Springsteen reference.