Saturday, September 22, 2012

Song Lyrics

I'm not going to talk generally about song lyrics, just make a confession: I usually don't bother listening to the words the singer is singing. Yes, true. Oh, I listen to the sound, the color of the voice, the expression, the phrasing, but I don't bother also trying to figure out what he or she is actually saying. This may be a post-traumatic-stress-disorder from trying to figure out the words to "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by the Rolling Stones when I was a young rock musician. Scarred me for life, it did. Here, hear what I mean:

Of course, there are exceptions, but only three important ones. If the lyrics were written by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen or John Lennon I will listen to them.


cnb said...

I would add Tom Waits to that list of attention-worthy songwriters.

If you'd like a challenge, try this Dylan song: Sante Fe. I've listened to it dozens of times, but I don't think I can piece together more than about 20% of the words.

Bryan Townsend said...

That's a good catch: forgot about Tom Waits.

The kind of mumbled, drawled singing that makes it difficult to sort out the words is pretty common in non-classical music. To hear just how clearly a singer can sing the words, listen to just about anything by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Even when he is singing in German, you could write down every letter! It's amazing.