Heya' people! I see that you have stumbled upon my blog which I have made a just recently and going to put up my blog posts or answering some of the questions you guys have dropped to me over at the contacts page. So the question for today (or a few months depending on how occasional I'll be dropping these posts), is quite simple:
Do Lyrics Even Matter Anymore?
In today's context, the box that you should tick would be 'no'. It's simple to disregard lyrics, but by today's standards, the best quip that songwriters have are usually found on the verses, whereas the chorus and hooks are just mediocre stand-ins just to get the crowd raving again.
It's also simultaneously reversible when we compare the songs of today's to the late 90's, 80's or the far back. The kings back then were rock. Now, we're looking at a new generation of EDM, Dubstep and electronica to make huge waves across the globe. Whereas rock is still there, but mainly seemingly refurbished so as to look ideal rather than worn out.
Back to the question, I always stand by the fact that it isn't if the lyrics matter in a song; sometimes they don't have to. Rather than beating us over the head with cognitive, repetitive hooks that gets boring every other time you're tired of listening to it, the subtle undertones of the track is dissipated almost immediately. There wasn't effort (even though it's hard to look for it in songwriting), the main problem most songs possessed on the lyrical esteem was that it wasn't even there.
Tracks nowadays are either simply over-ambitious and top-heavy production bombarding our earbuds or just underachieving compared to the milestones that sit waiting for them. It's not about the quality of the track anymore. If it sells, it's well. One track I'd like to give example to that has both subtle meaning and does give a contrast to it's peers is the famous track from last year: Royals by Lorde.
I've never seen a diamond in the flesh
It's not about feeling relatable; that's a problem for another day. But sometimes songwriters fail to look beyond what they are given. Many of them fail to reach the ears of the audience rather than thinking they did. What's worse is that the songwriters don't pride themselves as one. Lorde's Royals is probably a prime example in our current state that while lyrics don't have to stretch us thick, it can still be packed with mind-stirring ejections and presence rather than feel flushed out and retracted. I do believe that most bands these days hang on the presence of repetitive nature because of their laziness, rather than putting in the slightest of effort for a new set of lines.
That goes back to the nature of a song being relatable. The common sense idea would be to plunge the lyrics straight into us, rather than putting us through it, we are told by it. It's the same wherever it goes. Obviously, the EDM genre does this well (and not very well) to an inch, but at the same time, the lyrics don't have to be pushed too hard as the main focus are really all on the synthesizers and it's bass to do the rocking of the ship. That makes the genre less efficient lyric-wise. Obviously, there are certain exceptions. The most notable one being: Titanium by David Guetta featuring Sia.
I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose
I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and immediately say Calvin Harris and David Guetta are considerably 'EDM's Worst', but I wouldn't definitely call them reproachable for what they have done in the music industry. Sweet Nothing featuring Florence Welch by the former also showcases effort in demonstration when put behind the mic as the lyrics and the vocals, in my opinion, stand out more than the laid out production itself. So does EDM not have it's own ring of call lyrically?
Let's be honest, half of us don't remember the whole verse of an EDM track, but almost 3/4 of it's hook was recorded in by our sixth listen. While most other tracks do rely on lyrics to stage a storytelling experience, EDM is vicious fun without the visceral edge to make it standout in most other quarters that they aren't allowed to pass. That makes EDM feel more like an outcast that worships the synth Gods rather than take old school writing pads to a whole new level (true to a certain degree). While I say I detest mainly of what people like about EDM, I don't really have much of an option to be obliged to say that the producers and artists had a choice of whether they wanted to add in their own verse that stood out or just a mediocre one so as to make 'sense' than anything else.
With that said, it doesn't do much harm considering we are mainly used to more or less the sub-standard lyrics that have plagued our modern pop culture, and whenever a new song that feels thought-provokingly above average, we just have the feel to clutch it because let's be honest, most tracks don't come by that often.
The other argument most lyrical tensions seem to fall over at is the overall package rather than scrutinising and changing one part of the song. Lyrics are important, be it any type of song or in any genre. But to simply reduce the quality for a production that feels slightly better in an opinion, feels like one of the hip-hop albums of the past year where it was flying off the hook with it's grooves, but unsettling with it's lyrics. After all, lyrics are spoken and most lyricist will know that well, considering if the lyrics are stale, most of the time the words come out bland.
So while I do say a lot, by no means am I picking up my agreement and tossing it back down again. I will always stand by the fact of lyrics being important regardless of genre, and if EDM were to enhance it with words rather than throwing it aside completely or half-heartedly, then I guess it would all be great. I'll just leave up some words from one of my favourite bands and songs of all-time: The Sound of Silence by Simon And Garfunkel.
In restless dreams I walked alone