Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

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andyd1010
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Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby andyd1010 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:40 pm

I thought this quote was funny from Noel Gallagher in a recent interview with Lars Ulrich:

"All my favorite songs of all-time, I couldn't give a s--t what the lyrics are. I couldn't give a flying f--k what any of them are singing about at all. It means nothing to me. They're just words that you sing to serve the melody that makes you feel good. That's it. I couldn't care less."

I agree with the sentiment that the most powerful part of music is the way the melodies make me feel, but I do eventually pay attention to the lyrics once I know I like the melody. I know I'm closer to the end of that spectrum than most of you, but I enjoyed seeing a musician that successful completely at the end of the spectrum.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby acroamor » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:01 pm

Huge lyrics fan here so I couldn't disagree more. It's not universal, but they deeply inform my understanding and personal relationship with a song. Even if it's not necessarily tied in to the concrete meaning of the words, the prosody and rhythm of the lyrics can make or break a song. And while in some instances, I can ignore lyrics that aren't incredible, I always notice ones that are top-notch and ones that are terrible.

Adriane Lenker of the band Big Thief has a great take on this, taken from an NPR article about last year's song "Mary".

"The song has a simple structure, but its chorus especially is uncommon in its elegant lyricism. As the piano draws back, Lenker incants a quickening series of memories and images in alliterative, internally rhymed fluidity. She lands on a note and repeats it ("What did you tell me, Mary, when you were there so sweet and very / Full of field and stars you carried all of time"), swoops on the beguiling phrase "monastery monochrome" and eventually lands on a passage where she flickers between two notes so lightly the change is almost imperceptible: "Aching planning high and smiling cheap drink dark and violent full of butterflies the violent / tenderness the sweet asylum." Her phrasing, lyrics and performance recall Judy Garland in "Over The Rainbow" — the sound of a voice rocking back and forth in a lullabying third as if it were the beating of small wings, lifted off a catalog of simple beauty. Lenker writes at once from the sound of words and their meaning, creating a blissful avalanche of euphonious phrases like the childlike "boom balloon machine and, oh."

"First it sounds and then it means," Lenker says. "That song feels like crying and laughing at the same time. That's what it feels like to me."

First it sounds and then it means. Both important. I need to get a tattoo of that someday.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby StevieFan13 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:25 pm

I’m big on melody but if lyrics are bad or good enough I notice them more. For instance: I like the tune of Honey Hush but I hate how sexist the lyrics are. Similarly, a lot of post-hardcore bands may have great lyrics but I hate the sound.
Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand - Sir Duke (1976)

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Jirin » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:39 pm

To me the lyrics and melody feed each other. They both shape the emotional context through which you receive the other.

But there are plenty of songs I like in languages I don’t understand, or in some cases, songs I can’t understand even though I do speak the language.

One aspect of lyrics I feel is underrated is the meter and alliteration of the lyrics. Lyrics that have a poetic quality can enhance the song even when you don’t speak the language.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Smithers-Jones » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:20 pm

I think the melody and the tune are the most important part of any song, as that is ultimately the thing that attracts me to a song. If the lyrics are good then that's even better but I myself don't even listen to or read the lyrics until maybe the 4th or 5th time I've heard the song. Although, if a set of lyrics are noticeably terrible then that sticks out the 1st time I hear the song.

I quite like Noel Gallagher and his quotes, he gets a lot of stick for being arrogant but I think a lot of the time he's being ironic. Even when he's talking absolute bollocks, he's really amusing.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby BleuPanda » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:32 pm

For me, it all depends on the genre. Lyrics are easily one of my main focuses in hip hop and folk music. Other genres not so much. But in those first two genres, the way language is said also works differently; most of the time, the enunciation is clearer. There are a lot of rock songs where I have to look up the lyrics to actually understand what's being said, and I think that'd be a flaw in a folk or hip hop song. The best Bob Dylan songs are designed to draw your attention to his words; and it's not just what he's saying but how he says it. Words aren't these magical separate force; they each have their own sound.

My favorite songs are All My Friends and Heroin, and I can't imagine either working at all without the lyrics to contextualize their sound. Like anything else, it really depends on the individual song (though I find that good lyrics can help a song while bad lyrics tend to simply get ignored in my head).

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Hymie » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:41 pm

andyd1010 wrote:I thought this quote was funny from Noel Gallagher in a recent interview with Lars Ulrich:

"All my favorite songs of all-time, I couldn't give a shit what the lyrics are. I couldn't give a flying fuck what any of them are singing about at all. It means nothing to me. They're just words that you sing to serve the melody that makes you feel good. That's it. I couldn't care less."



I feel EXACTLY the same way. I've been listening to most of my favorites for over 40 years and I still have no idea what most of them are about.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Jirin » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:07 pm

I agree melody is overall more important, but you can’t tell me if you took The Boxer and replaced the lyrics with love song lyrics, you would hear the melody the same way.

And sometimes the aesthetic appeal of the way the words sound are just as important as what the words say. There are some French artists like Brel or Miossec where the pure aesthetic quality of the words enhance the song for me.

Hip hop artists benefit from this particularly (Jay Z, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar use it very well), but also The Beatles.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Jackson » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:31 pm

Jirin wrote:And sometimes the aesthetic appeal of the way the words sound are just as important as what the words say. There are some French artists like Brel or Miossec where the pure aesthetic quality of the words enhance the song for me.


Totally agree on this point. I remember hearing Brian Eno came up with lyrics for songs on some of his early LPs by totally random methods such as throwing darts at a board or picking phrases that sounded appealing out loud but with no real meaning. Despite this, he was able to come up with consistently interesting and emotionally evocative lyrics even though they really didn't mean anything.

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Live in Phoenix » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:15 pm

Jirin wrote:I agree melody is overall more important, but you can’t tell me if you took The Boxer and replaced the lyrics with love song lyrics, you would hear the melody the same way.


Usually my point of comparison is when, say, the drummer or the bassist in a band gets a song on the album, and the lyrics and/or song quality make me think, "Well thank God YOU'RE not in charge."

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby bonnielaurel » Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:28 am

A lot of my favorite songs have great lyrics. Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Suzanne Vega, Tori Amos, The Divine Comedy... They would be good poets even without the music. Other songs have lyrics that hardly make sense. I still don't understand what "The Reflex" is about.
They give awards for that music? I thought just ear plugs. (Woody Allen in Annie Hall)

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Re: Noel Gallagher quote on lyrics

Postby Romain » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:46 am

It's simple for me.

In foreigns songs (mostly in english, spanish, african and north european language), I don't care at all about the lyrics. Obladi oblada remain very pleasant for example :-)

In French, the lyrics are far far far more important and good lyrics are most of the time indispensable to appreciate a song.


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