The Great Debate: Music or Lyrics?

         Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize that you’re losing yourself to the music? You’re sitting in your bedroom and listening to your favorite band when you suddenly notice your foot tapping or you hear yourself singing without even consciously trying to and you realize that you love this song. Do you find yourself constantly drumming beats with your fingers or belting out those high notes?

          The real question could possibly be one of the hardest you’ll ever have to answer. What is the most important foundation in a song: music or lyrics? It’s a tough choice. A song could be beautifully composed with perfect guitar work, rhythmic drum patterns, and even a captivating voice. However, we’ve all heard those great songs with stupid lyrics. Jake Shelton, guitarist and vocalist of a thrash metal band named Lathyus, speaks his mind about lyrics in a song. “I've heard a lot of really good songs that had stupid lyrics, so I’m going to say [that] music [is more important.]” I sympathize with Jake—have you ever listened to Dance Gavin Dance’s latest album? The music is sweet but those lyrics have got to go!

          The importance of the music in a song is to embrace the listener with instruments. No voices to sing to you, no words to tell you, and no vocal outbursts to distract you. Even though lyrics are a very important element in a song, a lot of people believe that music is the best part.

          Do lyrics ever win in this debate? Dante Mallard, 18, believes so. “Lyrics are what speak to you; it’s what gets you hooked. ‘Music’ can only get you so far.” Lyrics seem to always win in one circumstance—hip hop. Many over-hyped rappers have been known to write idiotic lyrics about girls, drugs, and being a thug.  Although this is spewed out of radio stations across the nation, there are many hip hop artists who are passionate about what they say, like Tupac, Eminem, NaS, and Kid Cudi. Listening to endless stories about growing up, overcoming struggles, and even just crazy adventures in music is a pretty cool way to listen to a story. Many people could say that hip hop is storytelling.

          Although people have great points about why music or lyrics are better than the other, almost every person who was asked about their opinion had to say that both are essential to a great song. Karsen Trull, a local high-schooler, gives her opinion. “It really is the two that complete each other. The sound of the music makes you feel something internally, and the lyrics make you think. That’s why people love it so much. Music is an art that says what they can’t.” Dylan Rodin, 16, agreed with Karsen by saying that music and lyrics are like yin and yang. “They keep each other balanced. If it’s all lyrics, it’s just a poem. If it’s all music, it’s an instrumental. The combination of both lead to the beautiful thing we call music.”

          An artist previously interviewed in Tunage, Alex Skinwalker, had to say something about the topic as well. “Music needs good progression and pace and lyrics have to have heart in them, or at least be catchy; otherwise you're just listening to dubstep.” To tell the truth, I’m a die-hard EDM fan, especially a fan of dubstep!

          As you may have guessed, the results are tied. It’s almost impossible to pinpoint the most important element of a song. Although I can agree with the opinions of Jake and Dante, I totally stand in between. Rather than this being an undecided debate, it is simply safe to say that both music and lyrics are equally important to a song. Case closed.

Where do you stand? Let Tunage know in the comments!

- Tunage

Written by Jordan Mafi