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Mike

Anatomy of a song

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I know the key to a great song is a great marriage of music and lyrics.

Although I can enjoy a song that is musically superior though lyrically inferior, it's not possible for me to enjoy a song that is musically inferior, regardless of the lyrics.

Music without lyrics (instrumentals) are wonderful, songs without music are poems, essentially.

Music touches the soul, the lyrics stir the passion. When I first heard the phrase "music soothes the savage beast" (or rather "Music has charms to soothe the savage breast". The phrase was coined by William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697.

To one, a great song is quite different than that it is to any other. Determining a great song comes from popularity by the great number from any certain genre, in any given generation, any group of populous. And this is all regardless of any measurement the song is made against any given litmus test.

What makes a great song? It's simple, and yet it very complicated as well. Like any recipe, it's final test is simple and clear, do people enjoy it?

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:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: I guess I'm the only "words"-important person around here!

I have found many songs that I didn't like at all until I listened to the words. And vice versa - I loved the music, but the words were too banal or objectionable for me for whatever reason. I can't stand stupid lyrics.

haven't we done this exact poll before?

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I want to expand...

The words for "Season's In The Sun" by Terry Jacks are really well written, but I fell in love with the music first. Same deal with other tunes like "American Pie" and "LA Woman". I love the music and if the band can put good music to great lyrics, then they've got me hooked! :thumbsup:

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I think lyrics are more important than music. A song may have a great groove going, but if the lyrics are complete crap, I won't like the song. Instrumentals are great but then if the all music was instrumental, we wouldn't be having this discussion now would we? Also, if songs have great words but the instrumentation is bad, I won't like the song. I agree with rayzor, songs that have great words AND music are the best.

Another example using a more modern song is Sir Paul's Only Mama Knows

LYRICS:

Well I was found in the transit lounge

Of a dirty airport town

What was I doing on the road to ruin

Well my mama laid me down

My mama laid me down

Round my hand was a plastic band

With a picture of my face

I was crying, left to die in

This God forsaken place

This God forsaken place

Only mama knows why she laid me down

In this God forsaken town

Where she was running to what she ran from

Though I always wondered I never knew

Only mama knows

Only mama knows

I’m passing through I’m on my way

I’m on the road no ETA.

I’m passing through no fixed abode

And that is why I need to try

To hold on I’ve gotta hold on gotta hold on

Was it planned as a one night stand

Or did she leave in disgrace

Well I never will I ever see my father’s face see my father’s face

Only mama knows why she laid me down

In this God forsaken town

Where she was running to what she ran from

Though I always wondered I never knew

Only mama knows

Only mama knows

Only mama knows why she laid me down

In this God forsaken town

Where she was running to what she ran from

Though I always wondered I never knew

Only mama knows

Only mama knows

I’ve gotta hold on I’ve gotta hold on you’ve gotta hold on

MUSIC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp_kQmJLDZw (take a listen!)

I voted for lyrics.

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It's kinda-funny, so many songs I love, and first heard when I was young, in the day before you could look up the lyrics online, and even if I had the album, rarely did they include lyrics.

I'd rarely know the "actual" lyrics, just what I "thought" they were. (I give you the example of "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen)

Lyrics are very, very important to the popularity of a song, I know this to be true. But the hook, the catch... ultimately is the sounds of the instruments that come together in a unique formula of compromise and perfection.

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Music or Lyrics? Well, there's Bob Dylan for lyrics, John Phillip Sousa for music. What would "American Woman" be without lyrics? (I saw the PBS special on Burton Cummings & Randy Bachman, so that song comes to mind.) For the really old folk, there's "Over The Rainbow," which is just a somewhat tune without lyrics. Speaking of tunes and words, "Take Five" has very interesting lyrics written by Brubeck & wife, sung by Carmen McRae! :o

Edited by Guest
Wikipedia search

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I prefer the instrumental version of Take Five. :thumbsup:

If you had a song with great lyrics, but a crummy tune, I dont think people will hear the lyrics because the music did not "get them."

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I dont think people will hear the lyrics because the music did not "get them."

that's where I'm a freak, I guess. I listen to the words almost instead of the music in a lot of instances. The music to me is secondary. I used to go to the liner notes when I would buy albums, and read the lyrics before even listening to the songs, and I'd pretty much know from that what songs I'd like or not. But then sometimes - rarely - I'd listen to a song that I hated the lyrics to and like it for the music alone.

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"She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah, yeaaaaaah"... not the best lyrics... ;) yet one of the best songs... :bow:

Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan write amazing music & lyrics.

Sometimes I need the music; other times I am attracted by the lyrics. But if I don´t like the music, the song isn´t a good song.

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Music is the best part of music, I think. That's why it's called music. :grin: Lyrics can add to a song, but can't make it good if the music is bland or annoying. I guess I'm a bigger fan of instrumentals and guitar solos than poems.

Not to mention classical music as a whole has no lyrics, but is still good music.

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Did anyone take a listen to "Only Mama Knows?" If not, DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :happybanana: :happybanana:

EDIT: I think that the first time the dancing banana has been seen in a while!

Edited by Guest

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I think a good example of a song being musically great but sucking lyrically is Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow, "Picture". The melody is good but mixing cocaine with church to me was like, milk and vinegar....

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