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How much attention do you pay to lyrics?

  • SP - I pay close attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 11 4.6%
  • SP - I pay little attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 9 3.8%
  • SJ - I pay close attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 7 2.9%
  • SJ - I pay little attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 4 1.7%
  • NT - I pay close attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 59 24.8%
  • NT - I pay little attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 36 15.1%
  • NF - I pay close attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 85 35.7%
  • NF - I pay little attention to the lyrics

    Votes: 27 11.3%

  • Total voters
    238
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Cafe Legend and MOTM Jan 2011
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It depends on what I am listening to. Some songs are all about lyrics, and others are about the moods created by abstract sounds. Compare:

The whole point of this one is that it tells a story with the lyrics, so when I listen to it, I listen to the lyrics.





When I listen to this, I am not paying attention to the lyrics. I don't have any idea what she is saying, nor do I care. I doubt the lyrics have anything to do with the point of this song.
 

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I pay too much attention to the lyrics. I often hate songs that would be nice otherwise just because the lyrics are totally silly or I don't adhere to them. Luckily, I mostly get this problem in French. When the song is in English, I still pay attention to the lyrics, analyse them and am critical but may still like the song (and wonder all the time how on earth I am able to love them).

Instrumentals are a good alternative.
 

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Cafe Legend and MOTM Jan 2011
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15,420 Posts
One of my favorite songs has lyrics I hate.


It's basically promoting a new-age version of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the myth that we are all gods who are the source of our own fulfillment. I don't agree with any of it, but the music is so pretty that I can't help but listen to it over and over again. It's just gorgeous. I try to ignore the words the way one of my atheist friends ignores the lyrics to Christian songs, but he still loves a lot of them and listens to them for the emotional intensity that the musicians put into them.


So, because of this, I suppose I will vote that I don't really care much about lyrics. Good music can redeem bad lyrics more easily than good lyrics can redeem bad music.
 

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I'm an NT and I answered pay little attention to lyrics. But then after some speculation I realized I unconsciously pay attention to some of it. I'll catch words and phrases here and there but generally I don't know a lot of the lyrics. It's the melody of the song that's gotta grab me, both instrumental and vocal. If it's vocal I'll put effort into listening to lyrics, but only temporarily; I just try to get some of the lyrics so I can look up the song later. If I really really really like the song I'll take the time to look up the lyrics.
There have been some cases where I've liked a song for its lyrics over melody, and when I do, I'll gradually come to like the melody of it.
Overall though, I've got to relate to the melody rather than the lyrics. I don't know how relating to a melody works but that's how I feel about it. Generally the melody sparks up some image and sudden story in my head (and it can be completely irrelevant to the lyrics and purpose of the song), but I can't explain the connection between the melody and image/story.
 

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I pay attention very closely to the lyrics. I like to know what the song embodies, the emotions, and the story being told. If I don't understand the lyrics I will be determined to find them. The lyrics in the song can completely change the meaning and the experience for me.

I've listened to songs and didn't pay any attention to the lyrics before and years later I will realize that knowing the lyrics made a big difference. The composition is one layer, and once I add on the lyrics, it takes a whole new meaning for me.
 

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I can't pay attention to lyrics. Usually I just find myself being carried by the tone and overall quality of the sounds. I do catch refrains, but, unless I make an effort by reading up on the lyrics for music I really care about, the words just float through me.
 

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I guess it would vary from genre to genre, but generally yes. Lyrics in technical death metal for instance, are a lot less important to me than in most other genres.

I'd be hard-pressed to say that someone who pays attention to lyrics enjoys the music they listen to any less than someone who "chooses" not to.
 

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If I'm busy I just focus on the music, but usually I pay very close attention to the lyrics. A song cannot be a good song unless all the lyrics are accounted for & they're decent. I have to at least somewhat FEEL the song.
 

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It depends. I try to pay attention to lyrics, but there are many songs where lyrics are hard to decipher for artistic purposes or because of a language barrier. There is also music where less emphasis is put on lyrics and of course those that have no lyrics at all.
 
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It all depends on the type of music. Country, pop, hip-hop, etc, are all generally lyrically-based. It's nearly all that's important in that case. More artistic, composed pieces in the classical genres, instrumental ensembles, and electronic, etc, place all relevance on the instrumentation. There is a lot more to it than just this. This is very general insight. I am actually writing an article on this exact subject matter at the moment. I may post a link on PerC when I am done!
 

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I am very focused on lyrics and the vocals. If those two aren't good, odds are I won't listen to the music. The exception being classical. I especially love listening to foreign music. Those words... Are candy to my ears, even if I have no clue what they say.
 

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NT - VERY close attention

Although I can get scene ideas for a story from music without lyrics (and I listen to a lot of songs like that), I usually get larger plot ideas and inspiration from music with lyrics. I've written at least three stories based almost completely around the lyrics of certain songs. But I wouldn't have cared to listen to the lyrics if the 'mood' of the song didn't fit what I wanted to write. Unless doing a dramatic/romantic scene, I prefer writing to fast-paced or 'stealthy' tunes.

Everything I listen to is for writing. I rarely listen to music that pertains to me (although I've accidentally come across several songs that could be applied to me and my life in the course of my many song-searching quests - completely unintentional, however).
 

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NT- I pay close attention to the lyrics, in fact, I am usually the one who tells other people who ask what the song actually means.

Sometimes, I even find meanings for songs that I don't think the artists originally thought of either. For example:

Tool- Schism I think it works well for the 9/11/01 attacks.
 

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Nx - I don't understand the concept of not paying attention to the lyrics of a song. If I don't know what a singer is saying, then I can't enjoy it. And if the lyrics, or the meaning behind them, aren't good, then I don't listen to the song. That may have to do with the fact that I'm much more linguistically knowledgeable than musically literate, so I can't usually pick up on the more subtle aspects of instrumentation, whereas I can derive a world of meaning from good lyrics.
 
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