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Old 05-03-2006, 03:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Band, The Music, or the Lyrics?

I have friends who like the crappiest songs(imo) from their favorite bands, Friends that love a song because they like or can relate to the lyrics, and there's the crowd that I fall into that likes the Music and the Vocal sounds and could care less about the Band or the lyrics. I'm not ashamed to say that there's some Led Zeppelin songs that I DON'T like. However, I recently said something bad about the new(ish) NiN album and my friend looked at me like I was a traitor.

As I said before, I like the music. My brain doesn't even process the lyrics half the time and I don't think I like more than 10% of the music from any of my favorite bands.

How about everyone else? Do you follow a band into the pits of "not their best material?" Do you disregard the music much like I disregard the lyrics? Or maybe you're a little bit of all three..
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have very little to add to your post, othe than to say I'm exactly like you. I'm in the music for what it sounds like. I couldn't care less about the band, i couldn't care less about the lyrics. I have no problem cutting songs or entire albums out of a band's discography who I otherwise really like if I don't like how that song/album sounds. It doesn't much matter to me who they are or what they do, either, as long as they're putting out stuff that sounds good.

As I noted in the Tool CD thread, my apathy towards lyrics has often gotten me in trouble because I'll put up in a signature lyrics from a section of the song that sound good to me but may be really weird, morbid or nonsensical and not cite them and get lots of "What in god's name are you talking about?" or "Are you ok?" messages from people. The fact that the lyrics say something isn't what I think about when I read them, I hear the music.

Early on in my musical life I was very band-orieinted. I had my three or four bands and I bought everything of theirs I could get my hands on and forced myself to like the stuff I didn't like immediately on hearing it. I don't know when or why I grew out of that, but it's certainly not how I feel anymore. (I'm looking at you Metallica and Trent Reznor)
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Music for sure. Granted, i'm more likely to buy a new CD from a band I like, but that doesn't give them carte blanche.

For example, Pink Floyd is my all time favorite band. Do I like every Pink Floyd song? No. Have I bought most of the band members' solo albums? Yes. Are they all good? No.

Likewise, I hate emo as a genre, but I love that one My Chemical Romance song with the funeral video (Helena?). I wouldn't buy that CD for a dollar but I like the song.

Where this rule changes (for me) is in hip-hop. To me, I have to like the music AND the lyrics in hip-hop songs. Great lyrics but shitty music (see: Snoop Dogg post-Dre) won't cut it, while great music but shitty lyrics (see: many current rappers whose lyrical content can be distilled to pimps, ho's and bling) won't work either. My favorite alltime hip hop album is Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys because to me it's the ultimate fusion of great music and great lyrics.

One option you didn't give was great music but bad vocals. I've said several times on this board how I can't get into Opeth because despite the fantastic instrumental music, the singer's approach just grates on my nerves. I'm sure the same can be said for many other people when it comes to Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Muse, System of a Down, Bright Eyes.....the list goes on and on.
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Last edited by Derwood; 05-03-2006 at 07:02 PM..
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Old 05-03-2006, 07:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm all three.....

Lyrically, I love System of a Down and Linkin Park.

Musically, I love Led Zeppelin and Rush

And for my favourite band, check out my avatar
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I say it is mostly the music for me. I do love a nice lyrical combination with the music for a perfect package. I have no band loyalty, yet, the bands I do have all of their works I do happen to like the majority of it or they wouldn't be on the 'oh oh cool band' list.
As another said above, I like certain songs that don't typically fit my usual musical tastes because that song strikes a chord in me, yet, I'd never buy their music and probably wouldn't take it if it was given to me.
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Old 05-04-2006, 03:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think I am more inclined to give music a chance if I know I already like the band. But that doesn't mean I will enjoy every song on the album... or even the album itself. For example I love The Shins' "Chutes Too Narrow" but really don't care for "Oh, Inverted World"; save a couple of songs. Some people would find that blasphemous... me, I just like what I like.
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybermike
Do you follow a band into the pits of "not their best material?"
I've been a Springsteen fan since before most of y'all have been alive... and let's just say -- there have been some years and some albums that are best forgotten -- ya know those years he married the television star and moved to california... he came back home and all was forgiven.... The albums from those years are horribly bad - and I didn't buy them... but just because he had a lapse in judgement, I help my breath til the next album... and the one after that... Though his latest album I like, but it just seems about 25 years too late for him.... I won't abandon a band for bad songs or bad albums...

For me, I like the music, and I'm sure I have stuff in Itunes that is music for the terminally uncool, because I am... terminally uncool... there are songs i like, there are songs i don't like... and i listen to what i like.
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I guess I can fall into all three. I listen/buy mainly for the music. Certain songs I like due to lyrics, but can't get into the rest of the music from that band. And some bands just make me want to listen to everything, and even if it's bad, I'll still enjoy to some extent.
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Old 05-05-2006, 07:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm all three. But most of my favorite bands are because of their music and lyrics i.e. Tool, NiN and Manson. I relate to most of their lyrics. I will by all of my favorite bands cd's no matter what. I don't have to listen to it first. I know I can count on something I will like from them every time. I try not to expect thier best album every time a new one comes out. Some bands I do like just because they just put out good fun songs.

I agree with the Opeth statement. I like thier music but those garggle type vocals I can do without.
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I pay attention to the whole package. I'm sure part of it comes from being a performer, but I can't listen to music and not take some notice of the lyrics. In fact, I will often look up lyrics and read along to songs that really catch my eye.

What I notice first in a song all depends. Most of the time it is the music. Once a group has established itself in my mind, it can be any number of things I notice first because I'll already be paying closer attention as I listen to the music.

When it comes to what makes a great song though (at least in popular music), the lyrics are a must. Purposeful lyrics (and, please, for god's sake, light on the cliches) can take a mediocre song and make it excellent.
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Old 05-08-2006, 07:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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For me it really depends on the genre.

When I listen to Rock, its the music then the lyrics and the the band.

I listen to some country, and I have to admit 90% of it is pure crap. So the lyrics is how I sort out what I like and dislike. I dont want to hear something simple or with a religious undertone. So I would go with Lyrics/Music/Band.

I dont listen to any rap. But wonder what rap fans would put down. It seem like the lyrics would be number one; however, its trendy to listen to the Newest and greatest rapper, but some might say its all about the beat.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derwood
One option you didn't give was great music but bad vocals. I've said several times on this board how I can't get into Opeth because despite the fantastic instrumental music, the singer's approach just grates on my nerves. I'm sure the same can be said for many other people when it comes to Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, Muse, System of a Down, Bright Eyes.....the list goes on and on.

Good point. Though I'll have to personally disagree with a few of your examples as I think Thom of Radiohead and Matt from Muse are fantastic singers. However, you made a good point as my personal opinion is that the lyrics and music are just about equal and both are essential to me liking a song. But, a band with good lyrics and also great music can be ruined if the vocals are not to my liking. I guess that goes without saying as vocals are part of the music, but most people do seem to differentiate between the instrumentals and the singing. There's plenty of metal/hard rock that I like when I happen to be pumped up with testosterone and strangely in the mood to punch things, but almost all of them have such awful vocals that I just can't get past. I think another example of this case (at least for me) is Bob Dylan. I know he has plenty of fans and many people respect his work, but I have never been able to get into his music because I can't stand (or understand) his vocals.
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Old 05-14-2006, 03:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I listen to the music first (ie melody + rhythm + types of sounds).

Next up.. I probably take in the general attitude. By this I mean intensity, emotion, and the extent to which the music seems in some way "genuine".

Then I hear the remainder of the lyrics.

I am ok with lyrics being average, or the music being average if the intensity is high. And perhaps likewise with the other combinations. I expect a "good" in one category, that's enough.

If any of the music, attitude, or lyrics are truly below par (and I mean really poor) then I can't like the song... much.
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:06 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Yo yo yo, mad props to my bruddah Derwoord for straight analyzin' da hip to da hizzop.

Seriously, rap and hip-hop are lyric driven forms. In some Eminem, the lyrics practially double as percussion. What really go me, though, was singling out Snoop Dogg as an example of excellent lyrics with lousy music. Gin 'n Juice is a perfect example: I first heard the bluegrass cover of it, by the Gourds. That is an awesome song: Good lyrics, excellent instrumental work, ironic presentation (and a totally obscure band, so no baggage there). So I poked around and found out that it was a Snoop song, and downloaded it. Gaaaah. It's not so good (Though the darthphunk version of Ted Koppel singing it, which one can find on Somethingawful.com, is hysterical.)

To the overall question: Some bands I pretty much whore for. I'll buy almost anything from Blue Öyster Cult, Jethro Tull, or King Crimson, listen and grin, whether it sucks or not, and, let's be honest, sometimes BÖC's lyrics are embareassingly (sic) bad, though sometimes they're pure genius.

Some bands, though, I have found real gems from, even though I wouldn't go out and buy an album on a bet. (Cher and Paula Abdul to name the two most embarrassing.)

And sometimes is is just the lyrics. Eminem is a pretty perfect example of that. I give high points for clever.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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For me, it all starts with the music. It's not that the lyrics are unimportant, it's just that it's the music that hooks me first. After the music has hooked me, it's onto the lyrics, but unless they're absolutely idiotic, it's the music that's going to keep me listening.

If I hear a song that I really like, I'll seek out other songs by the same band. If I can hear three or four songs and dig 'em all, then consider me a fan of that band. I'll buy the album, and their follow-up album will probably warrant an automatic purchase, without even hearing it. This does result in me being burned every so often (the band Halloween, Alaska comes to mind), but it's not the worst thing in the world.

Derwood brings up a good point about good music but bad vocals. Ever heard The Thrills? I've often thought about somehow erasing the vocal and recording my own over it. Or my cat meowing, for that matter.
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Old 05-22-2006, 11:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Gotta agree with alot of what has already been said. First, it depends on the genre. Second, I'm a blend of all three.

If I listen to rap, then I'm primarily about the lyrics.

However, I'm more of a rock guy, and the music definitely plays a much bigger role than with rap. BUT, I do listen to lyrics whenever possible, and they always help me when I'm on the fence about a song.

Lastly, yes: I do tend to enjoy some music that I might consider subpar save for the fact that one of my favorite artists/bands released it.
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Old 05-23-2006, 02:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think I listen to music differently to most of my peers. How I listen to a particular song is somewhat genre-specific, but mostly it'll be the music that catches my ear first. I'll listen to every single element that makes up the song, identifying the ones that I like and the ones I'd change, how it connects with the rhythm and the melody, whether it fits in with the message the lyrics are trying to send out etc. Maybe I'm over-listening.

I mainly listen to House of the soulful, jazzy, deep and funky varieties. When it comes to House music, it's all about the music. The lyrics are a distant 2nd, probably because alot of the songs don't contain any lyrics at all.

For rap, it's more the beat/percussion. All my favourite rap tunes have this quality that just makes me act all gangsta. Like Tophat said, when the lyrics become part of the percussion, I give an extra big-up to the artist. Notorious B.I.G was a great example of an artist who was all about the rhythm and the rhyme.

My rock listening is lyrics-driven, with a good quality musical performance (I prefer real instruments to synth sounds in ALL genres) to back it up.

I don't care who sings what. I listen to every song on it's merit and decide whether it's good or not. Put 6 or 7 good songs on your album and I'll most likely buy it, but I try not to let past greatness influence my decision.
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