View Full Version : What about the lyrics


The exploding boy
06-27-2014, 10:53 AM
mayonaise

The exploding boy
06-27-2014, 10:53 AM
When i was young, especially as a teen, it seems to me really that the most important thing in a song was the lyrics (especially now looking back, not sure i noticed it then so much....but its ironic considering i for example loved NIN for a couple of years and goddam no one should be listening to NIN for the lyrics...). The older i grew the less it mattered.

I'm at a point now where was long as the lyrics aren't blatantly stupid or actually like...against my values or something (say hateful, or i don't know, promoting drunkeness), i don't really give that much of a shit what you're on about (i listen to some bands who cant even really write in english without grammatical mistakes and accidentally invent words like almostly). I mean i still appreciate great lyrics when I find them and all the better if you have both great music and lyrics but it's clearly taken quite a backseat to the music. At this point the vocal melody and voice is more important to me even.


How do youse all feel about it?

Shallowed
06-27-2014, 11:34 AM
It mostly doesn't matter what words are being said, the delivery of the words is more likely to move me than the words themselves.

slunken
06-27-2014, 11:36 AM
I don't listen to much contemporary music with lyrics or vocals, therefore they usually have to be really special to me.

If I don't like a band, 99% of the time it's because I hate the vocals and or lyrics.

slunken
06-27-2014, 11:37 AM
Amazing frontmen/women don't grow on trees.

The exploding boy
06-27-2014, 12:44 PM
Amazing frontmen/women don't grow on trees.

thats for damn sure.

Sonic Johnny
06-27-2014, 06:38 PM
Let's all agree that promoting drunkenness is bad

redbreegull
06-27-2014, 06:57 PM
When i was young, especially as a teen, it seems to me really that the most important thing in a song was the lyrics


Same. In high school I would always read lyrics along with the album I was listening to. I learned pretty much all the lyrics on MCIS and many other records like this. As I have become older I pay less attention to the lyrics in songs and as long as they aren't horrible I'm not going to stop listening to something because it's not poetic enough. Good lyrics still do a lot for a song, it's just easier for me to accept mediocre ones and it isn't my primary focus anymore

slunken
06-28-2014, 07:17 PM
I'm not going to stop listening to something because it's not poetic enough.

on the other hand, i'm not going to listen to something just because its not awful.

waaaaaaay too much music out there to not get picky and choosy, imo

redbreegull
06-28-2014, 08:20 PM
on the other hand, i'm not going to listen to something just because its not awful.

waaaaaaay too much music out there to not get picky and choosy, imo

shitty lyrics plus awesome music = doesn't matter, still awesome

awesome lyrics plus shitty music = shitty




it's just a lot more about the music itself to me. lyrics don't really stand by themselves for the most part anyway. I'm not looking to hear the spirit of Shelley channeled through a rock song. There are many songs with lyrics that sound totally stupid when you try to remove them from the context of the instrumentation and the sonic textures of the voices and stuff, but they work fine as a part of a whole.

redbreegull
06-28-2014, 08:23 PM
I mean I would rather the lyrics be good as well and I don't deny that adds another layer of goodness to good music....

but to use an example we have been talking about here lately, Interpol. Horrible, cringe-worthy lyrics in pretty much every song. In the context of the music, really makes no difference.

slunken
06-28-2014, 08:50 PM
i'm a little unsure if we're talking about lyrics or guys/girls singing

i mean off the top of my head, from listening to modern rock radio, i don't have a problem with much of anything on that's played musically. it rocks, it grooves, etc. its always the vocals/lyrics that make me want to hang myself.

but to use your interpol example, i don't have much of a problem with the music at all, but when i hear the guy sing it ruins it for me, regardless of what he's singing about.

i'm not sure if some of you know this but its easy to digitally remove the vocals from most modern rock releases (because they're all in the center channel) and back in the day there were tons of instrumentals released on maxi singles but that doesn't make much difference IMO.

i can't pretend bands that aren't instrumental bands are instrumetal bands. there are too many instrumental bands for me to play pretend like that. to me that would be like hearing an amazing band that has a really really bad guitar player and someone saying to me "just tune it out!"

not gonna happen. :noway:

slunken
06-28-2014, 08:52 PM
i guess my point is that i'm open to all kinds of music, but its the direction and POV of the frontman and his/her lyrics that make me decide whether or not i can subscribe to the band or not

null123
06-28-2014, 10:08 PM
Pretty much
Half the point of rock music to me is the cult of personality/lyrics/aesthetics

redbreegull
06-28-2014, 11:11 PM
The sonic qualities of a voice are not the same thing as lyrics though, which are the literal words being sung. Neil Young - generally considered to be a bad vocalist, great lyricist. Billy Corgan - bad vocalist, good lyricist (back in the day).

null123
06-28-2014, 11:15 PM
I don't think anybody actually thinks either of those people are "bad vocalists"

reprise85
06-28-2014, 11:53 PM
really? many people think corgan's a shitty singer. or is that something different from a vocalist?

null123
06-29-2014, 12:00 AM
By lots of people do you mean the general public who is looking for Josh Groban or Beyonce type vocals when they say "good singer"? Admittedly Billy's singing has been hosed for about 10+ years now but I think among fans of the genre he has one of the most iconic voices out there

redbreegull
06-29-2014, 12:37 AM
yeah, in the same kind of way that kurt cobain has an easily recognizable and iconic style of playing guitar. he was still sloppy as shit and from a technical perspective pretty pedestrian in his abilities.

I personally love Corgan's voice in the old days, but I think it's totally fair to say he is widely viewed as a bad singer and it's understandable because honestly he is (or was) a bad singer.

null123
06-29-2014, 12:58 AM
Ok but you can't point out that his vocals lack technical precision and in the same breath imply his lyrics meet any kind of literary gold standard.
Like who is judging alternarock acts according to these metrics anyway

Elphenor
06-29-2014, 01:48 AM
I think the opposite. Good lyrics and interesting vocals and general apperance are pretty much what Rock is about.

Good Rock is like 90% attitude 10% actual music or whatever

Elphenor
06-29-2014, 01:50 AM
I mean, there are so many good musicians who make enjoyable music but it's those larger than life poets that put all the pieces together

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 04:35 AM
titus andronicus is near and very dear to my heart because the lyrics sound like myself if i were a new jersey jerkoff who could write a song

the future of the left is very dear to my heart because the lyrics sound like myself if i were a welsh jerkoff that could write a song

redbreegull
06-29-2014, 05:33 AM
Ok but you can't point out that his vocals lack technical precision and in the same breath imply his lyrics meet any kind of literary gold standard.
Like who is judging alternarock acts according to these metrics anyway

well yes I am aware that "good singing" is "subjective," I also went to college. despite this, no vocal teacher would tell 1993 billy corgan that he's good to go

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 05:40 AM
pretty sure almost all of us went to college it's not exactly a fucking measuring stick

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 05:41 AM
also there's a different between having a nice voice and being able to hit a note consistently, any music degree holder would tell you

bill can definitely hit a note on demand

he may take some kind of herrnnhhghnhnng cartman noise or whtaever to get there but that's what he does

null123
06-29-2014, 05:42 AM
If rbg went to college how come he's unable to suss the meaning of a two sentence post written by a master of the English language such as myself.

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 05:52 AM
it's a great question

like how come he's unable to get the fact that i was being a little bit ridicluous when i said that it was possible for someone to make a career being a baseball player when they were "completely out-of-shape"

i really just meant that they were fat, out-of-shape dicks that could hit a ball really well and not get winded on a jog to the outfield

D.
06-29-2014, 06:01 AM
voice > music > lyrics are the order in which any recorded sounds are important to me.

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 06:11 AM
vampire weekend

D.
06-29-2014, 06:14 AM
ezra koenig' voice is beautiful u fuck!!!!!!!

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 06:33 AM
right, i know. with VW it's always Style > substance

pitchfork album of the year

reprise85
06-29-2014, 09:54 PM
I don't think anybody actually thinks either of those people are "bad vocalists"

By lots of people do you mean the general public who is looking for Josh Groban or Beyonce type vocals when they say "good singer"? Admittedly Billy's singing has been hosed for about 10+ years now but I think among fans of the genre he has one of the most iconic voices out there

You said "anybody", so I assumed that included the general public.

I love BC's voice but it's technical shitty in the majority of cases. I have known plenty of people who flat out refuse to listen to post-SD Corgan because of his voice. His voice was very pretty on softer songs and great on aggressive shit like BWBW and Fuck You, but a lot of people hate it. It is very unique and very emotionally expressive, but if you don't connect personally with the emotionality it probably isn't very appealing.

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 10:29 PM
it's not technically shitty

null123
06-29-2014, 10:30 PM
I was responding to rbg's post in which he stated Billy is "known for being a bad vocalist and a good lyricist". Considering "the general public" has probably not given thought to Billy's lyrics I assumed we were talking about more interested and educated listeners and the music press. In that context I would say his lyrics are much more widely reviled than his vocals.

null123
06-29-2014, 10:32 PM
With any art that is even the least bit off-center someone can always say "oh my mom thought that was weird/bad/not as good as Santana" so I kind of don't see the point in mentioning it.

The majority of voices in alternashit are technically imperfect and kinda out-there.

Trotskilicious
06-29-2014, 10:55 PM
bill is an overrated lyricist by his fans
a technically good singer
a weird, abrasive voice
a gifted composer when he's working hard
and a redonkulous guitar player

bignothing
06-30-2014, 10:55 PM
Most of the time I give more importance to lyrics, but I like some pretty adolescent bs lyrics, so that's not necessarily quality.

Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen aren't good vocalists imo, but I think that adds to the music. Something about ugly male vocals make the music seem sincere to me. That's probably a dumb comment, but whatever.

redbreegull
07-01-2014, 12:35 AM
bill can definitely hit a note on demand


this is only really true after he got the singing lessons in 1997 and there are about a million youtube videos which highlight his complete inability to hit notes consistently in the old days


like how come he's unable to get the fact that i was being a little bit ridicluous when i said that it was possible for someone to make a career being a baseball player when they were "completely out-of-shape"

probably because I literally said "I can't tell if you are being serious but..." and then you decided to just run with it and act like I'm the idiot later on for believing you? OH LOL JUST JOKING U R STUPID

I was responding to rbg's post in which he stated Billy is "known for being a bad vocalist and a good lyricist". Considering "the general public" has probably not given thought to Billy's lyrics I assumed we were talking about more interested and educated listeners and the music press. In that context I would say his lyrics are much more widely reviled than his vocals.

I don't even know what to say to that, it's just not true. I am indeed talking about the music press and people who are knowledgeable about alternative music. His voice is the thing the band is most reviled for, beyond his personality, or the lyrics (which I'm just not sure where you are coming from, where do you see all these people who think he's a terrible lyricist?)

bill is an overrated lyricist by his fans
a technically good singer
a weird, abrasive voice
a gifted composer when he's working hard
and a redonkulous guitar player

I can see how his lyrics are not everyone's cup of tea but he was quite gifted in the poignancy of many of his lyrics. It's always been very impressive to me how he was able to form cogent moods and feelings and atmospheres out of mostly abstract imagery and word play.

And no dude, Reprise is right, really not a technically good singer until he got some training. Even in the very early days before he started screaming his head off, he has terrible pitch and his voice is all over the place. It sounds beautiful to me because I love it for its emotional intensity and honesty, but no, not a technically good singer really by any measure. These days it's the opposite. He is technically a... well at least a much better singer, but the feeling is completely absent.

noyen
07-01-2014, 12:40 AM
bullet with butterfly wings sealed his fate as a awful lyricist. because of the sellout factor too. i've never heard or read anyone complain about his actual vocal abilities though. he's a little nasal but he's not dean ween.

redbreegull
07-01-2014, 04:15 AM
that moment when you realize the day has come when someone wants to actually argue with you that billy corgan has a technically good voice


headdesk

noyen
07-01-2014, 05:13 AM
I wouldn't go that far. never said it was technically good. his voice is just distinct. lots of "singers" are indistinguishable from each other now a days. There's only a select few I think that have voices with their personality all over it. like Robert Smith. You know it's him when he's singing on anyone's record. I wouldn't say his voice is technically good either. Just emotive like Billy's used to be. They've both done their fair share of awful lyrics I think. It's not much of an argument. The consensus seems to be that because he is a douchebag (billy) it's easier to have issue with his lyricsm if he is so critical of his fans it only seems fair his fans return the criticism. And using the cure to compare again, Robert Smith is not known to be douchey so fans seem much more forgiving of his musical atrocities committed after wish and wild mood swings. He also has led fans on for decades on promised releases that have never come through. Like he enjoys torturing people. I guess kinda like Billy.

redbreegull
07-01-2014, 09:11 AM
I wouldn't go that far. never said it was technically good. his voice is just distinct. lots of "singers" are indistinguishable from each other now a days. There's only a select few I think that have voices with their personality all over it. like Robert Smith. You know it's him when he's singing on anyone's record. I wouldn't say his voice is technically good either. Just emotive like Billy's used to be. They've both done their fair share of awful lyrics I think. It's not much of an argument. The consensus seems to be that because he is a douchebag (billy) it's easier to have issue with his lyricsm if he is so critical of his fans it only seems fair his fans return the criticism. And using the cure to compare again, Robert Smith is not known to be douchey so fans seem much more forgiving of his musical atrocities committed after wish and wild mood swings. He also has led fans on for decades on promised releases that have never come through. Like he enjoys torturing people. I guess kinda like Billy.

yeah I agree with this 100%.

Rat in a cage is silly but it's not any sillier than any Nirvana hit. The lyrics are probably still more inventive than most modern rock singles. There are just so many amazing lyrical moments that came from the original SP, I guess it's hard for the overblown angsty ones to drag down my opinion too much.

The exploding boy
07-01-2014, 11:16 AM
I mean I would rather the lyrics be good as well and I don't deny that adds another layer of goodness to good music....

but to use an example we have been talking about here lately, Interpol. Horrible, cringe-worthy lyrics in pretty much every song. In the context of the music, really makes no difference.

I wanted to mention that in that thread. But the truth is this band would have been a lot better with better lyrics. Its a band i liked well enough on the first two recorda but liked, not loved. With good lyrics it might have made the difference.

The exploding boy
07-01-2014, 11:33 AM
The thing with voice is you can't account for taste. A lot of bands i liked throughout the years have shall we say, unique singers... I may have grown out of most SP but my issue is still not the voice. It's not really a good one but it's fine for what it is. Obviously i'm a Cure fan, no one would say Robert Smith can sing (in fact in a few cases i think he's really ruined his own songs with his voice, he had mannerisms some time in the late 80's that were really annoying, Kiss me kiss me kiss me should have been called oh oh oh).

I really like Altered Images and might be one of the only person on earth to like them that much because most people would agree the lyrics are insipid to say the least and Claire Grogan can't really sing and tries to sound like a naive little girl (which normally should piss me off but doesn't here). But for what the band was, it works for me.

Definitely a LOT of bands turn me off on a voice level right away but generally it's voices the average person likes. and there's not just voice, there's vocal melodies which is a different skill in itself. I think for one there's been a real problem in the past ten years with women voices in music. Indie happened and suddenly singing was about not really knowing how to sing and kinda whispering and going lalala. On the other side of the coin you've got american idol type voices, trying to sound like a black woman singing regardless of your skin color. I rarely hear women voices nowadays that CAN actually sing but don't OVERsing. Then again i suppose its the same with men but i tend to notice it more when girls sing i guess.

redbreegull
07-01-2014, 02:27 PM
The thing with voice is you can't account for taste.

this is true obviously because we're all on this message board for a band with one of the weirdest voices in popular music. I think there is a lot of conflation going on in this thread between what people find personally palatable and what has good form from a technical standpoint. I like Billy Corgan's voice, I like Bob Dylan's voice, I like Neil Young's voice. That does not mean they are technically proficient any more than my appreciation of Kurt Cobain's guitar work means he is a virtuoso. I can't help but feel that people saying they've never heard or read anyone say something negative about b0lly's voice are just being contrarian for the sake of it. There is nothing else in SP's legacy in the public consciousness that even comes close to his weird voice.

noyen
07-01-2014, 04:06 PM
I can't help but feel that people saying they've never heard or read anyone say something negative about b0lly's voice are just being contrarian for the sake of it. There is nothing else in SP's legacy in the public consciousness that even comes close to his weird voice.

I haven't though. and im old and have read a lot. I however am not stating it as fact the way "some people" are that no has ever. I have never seen it personally. I find his voice annoying as hell myself but I'm not the media. I've only read or seen people attach his personal dickishness and maybe throw in a "his voice is annoying". There is nothing that you know of that comes close to his weird voice. I don't see this as an argument or trying to be right. I am quite wrong on a lot of things. I am unaware of a lot too. Anyway carry on.