UG News editor since early 2013. King Crimson fan. I handle the news around here.
Posted on Jun 14, 2014 12:56 pm
The music vs. lyrics debate has been raging on in the rock world for quite some time, going far enough to divide the fans to the so-called music people and the lyric people. We'd like to see how UG community feels about this one, so we'll elaborate both stands a bit and then it's your turn to let us know which side is the dominant one around here.
Music is what it's all about, obviously
So here's the first stance - music, or the instrumental part is the focal point of the song. Some tend to argue that the lyrical part is even capable of ruining the perfect setting created by the instrumental section. You could say that music is far less "tangible" in a certain sense, therefore providing the listener with a more subjective experience and a greater freedom to interpret the musical nuances rather than just follow the story.
Another notable argument from this side is that even if we put the instrumentals aside, music is still the most important part. The "music people" often point out that music is still far more important, even if the song has lyrics to it. Basically, lyrics are still just an extension of the musical part, with the singer's voice being just another instrument. Also, the way certain words are crafted together and the singing melody they're assigned with is far more crucial than the meaning behind them.
Supporters of such claims usually point at a vast array of pop songs (Outkast's "Hey Ya" might pop up) or even rock and metal classics, saying that in a lot of cases words themselves don't hold much value and could hardly garner much attention (at least the positive kind) as poetry. Without the music and the melodic part, they would mean nothing. But there's also the other side...
No way, lyrics are the thing
How can you possibly say that lyrics are the secondary ingredient of the song?! Ever heard of Cohen, Dylan, Waits, Cave, Young?!
That was pretty much the reply of a "lyrics person" to the writing above. The second part of the music community values the lyrical content over the instrumental parts. They insist that cleaver wordsmiths have the equal power of taking the listener above and beyond, delivering a magical experience primarily through the power of words.
Similarly to the first bunch, they might even diminish or insult the other group, this time around saying that humming along to the catchy melody and random lyrical cliches is the most shallow thing a music fan can do. Properly enjoying the work of a fine songwriter requires that you sharpen up a bit and focus on what the artist is saying rather then just senselessly bop your head to the beat.
So who's right here?
Well, you tell us. Are you a music person or a lyric person? And for that matter, is UG a musical or lyrical community? Let us know in the comments.