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Lyrics: Under-appreciated or Irrelevant?

November 27th, 2017 | by James Davies
Lyrics: Under-appreciated or Irrelevant?
Music
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Watching the Brits or the Grammy’s, you’ll see awards being handed out such as ‘Best artist’ and ‘Best Song’ obviously, but one thing you’ll never see is an award for ‘Best Lyrics’. This seems rather strange to me. We hear a lot about an artist’s inspiration for their music, like Ed Sheeran for example, who, along with other artists, uses inspiration from his past relationships. This clearly demonstrates that the amount of passion that goes into such songs goes largely unrewarded. ‘Best’ song is frequently won by such artists, but they are never complimented on their lyrics.

It’s time that we changed award shows to highlight the passion, and sometimes pain, that goes into lyrics. Another notable example is Taylor Swift. She commented on using the media coverage of her to her advantage. The result was ‘Blank Space’, a song that is (arguably) audibly pleasing and with catchy lyrics used such as my personal favourite ‘darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream’.

Some songs that win awards literally sound like there has been no effort put in at all

Some songs that win awards literally sound like there has been no effort put in at all. The first example that comes to mind is ‘Blurred Lines’. I don’t think I need to say what the song is about, but it won a good handful of awards. Frankly though, the record has no lyrical value what so ever, in fact it is quite offensive, it simply sounds catchy. It doesn’t seem fair that these songs win over others which have had raw passion poured into them in an effort to make them sound good and relatable. What is far worse and less commendable, is when the artist uses controversy to sell their records, like Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams.

On the other hand, when it comes to listening to music, it’s debatable as to what we’re actually listening for. Even when we’re singing along to songs in a club, I’m not sure we’re genuinely paying attention to the lyrics and what they mean, so it’s questionable as to whether there’s a point in having an award for lyrics that people may not actually be appreciating. What really sells records seems to be how catchy the tune is. Bringing in another Taylor Swift example (sorry) ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, I think we can all face the fact that the lyrics are dreadful, but it’s one of the best-selling songs of the year. No passion went into the song but the tune (if you can call it a tune), is catchy.

When it comes to listening to music, it’s debatable as to what we’re actually listening for

On the whole though, I actually think an award for lyrics would be a good idea, and it might encourage artists to put more effort into their song-writing. Novels are usually critiqued on how good the story is and how good the writing is, with notable exceptions where a ‘shock’ factor seems to sell the book. On the whole though, any creative pieces of work are judged based on how well they read and how interesting they are. This rule just simply doesn’t apply to music in the same way, perhaps it’s because music is more widely available (with Spotify and the Radio), or perhaps it’s simply because we, as a population just don’t pay enough attention.

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