For the longest time, I always cared more about the beat and music behind a song than the lyrics. It wasn’t until last year that I began strictly listening to music that used lyrics in a meaningful way. This decision was definitely a big change, but I could not be happier about it.
As a personal project for Eastside, I listened to an album a day for an entire week and reviewed them. This article actually would change the way I listened to music forever. In this article, I constantly emphasize how much the lyrics and meaning of a song impacted the overall rating. A few artists that I feel do an excellent job with their lyrics are The Arctic Monkeys, Alt-J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cage the Elephant.
So while listening to these albums under a new lens, the first step was learning the lyrics and any new slang that was used in the song. Then, I would gather my own interpretation of the lyrics. But this practice extends far beyond just knowing and listening to the words in a song, it means researching the writer’s purpose for writing the song and its true meaning. But for a while, I was hesitant to simply Google the meaning behind a song because I figured how hard could it be? I mean really, for most of my life I never needed anybody’s help in any way. However I came around eventually and when I couldn’t decipher the meaning for myself I was able to visit sites like songmeanings.com where other listeners shared what they made of the song. That being said, I would like to emphasize the importance of reading the viewpoints of others because I know sometimes my interpretation was completely wrong. I also have been able to discover new songs with incredible depth and meaning with a little help from my friends. Through this process, beautiful songs grew even more fascinating and I was able to relate them to my own life and ultimately, became an even bigger music connoisseur.
I am also somebody who loves to share my music with others, and I now have an added element to share when giving song recommendations. I cannot count the number of times I’ve said: “did you know this song is actually about…” and proceeded to go on a five minute tangent.
Additionally, though I have never personally written any songs in my life, I assume it is similar to being an author. If I was to write a song and all people paid attention to was the actual music and not the lyrics I spent time writing I would probably be thinking: “it took years to write, will you take a look?”
Therefore, I feel I am doing the songwriter justice by searching for the purpose of their song.
At the end of the day, I had to follow the long and winding road that led me to my fascination with understanding the deeper meaning in almost any song I listen to and I am so glad I did.