Analysis in Music-Weird?

I am continuously pulled out of my own world full of work, school, and taxing trips to the grocery store (taxing being kind of a stretch. Wegmans for life) by music. When I was younger, I told everyone that I was going to be a rock star. I saw my first show at 13, and I’ve never stopped loving the intensity of emotion that music makes me feel.

A few years ago, I definitely thought of music as a way to say the things that I couldn’t say out loud. I listened to some heavier music as a teen (and now when I’m feeling angsty), and always wanted to scream the lyrics all over my hometown to get people to understand me. I still feel this way, honestly. But as I’ve indulged deeper and deeper into the literary world, I can’t help but find myself analyzing and trying to find the poetic elements in the music I listen to now, and the music I used to listen to.

One of my favorite bands, Twiddle, came out with a new album last spring, and I listened to it front to back, no stopping. Usually when I hear new music, I appreciate the lyrics, like the music, hate some shit, love some others. But this time, I found myself searching for theme, and reason behind every song. That was the first time this has every happened to me, and I now have no idea how to stop it. For the record, the album was embedded with food images, and songs about weather and change. Then there were also songs that had a lot to do with the current political climate, and feeling lost but finding a way to return to the person you once were. There were also hints of mental illness, and fantasy sections that could point to drug use. You guys probably don’t care about any of this, but I needed to vent that because no one else really cares about this shit in the jam scene! and I can’t help but do this now!

Anyway, now that we’ve been focusing so much on the line, I am fascinated by where artists would put line breaks in their songs as if they were using them for poetic devices. I listen to the most nonsensical stuff, (Phish), and I still want to know where they would use emphasis in their breaking of lyrics and pauses to play certain riffs or solos. That’s a really interesting way of looking at music, too. There’s space for music, which is white space in poems on the page.

My once easy listening has turned into analysis, and I kind of love it? It’s hard to do during live shows, so I appreciate the reprieve I get when I see live music. But listening to music in this moment, I’m constantly finding the moments where the tone turns, or the music changes based on lyric. It’s exhausting, but so very cool. Does anyone else do this…?

2 Replies to “Analysis in Music-Weird?”

  1. I did this just the other day! I was listening to this newer song on the radio and the musicality of it was great, but the lyrics were complete shit. Like, toss it in a grease fire and lose the lid kind of bad. This is something that a kindergartner would write, why is this on the radio? At the very least, I feel like I could become a successful songwriter after listening to this.
    But it’s cool that we’re able to analyze different mediums now. I do this a lot with birthday cards, and I still have to put my own personal touch on them when I give them to a friend (if I don’t just make my own at this point). But with song lyrics, it’s so easy to sing along but not really pay attention because there are so many other things happening within the song. It needs to be catchy and it often needs to rhyme and it sucks that songs are usually placed into that category but that kind of structural binding can serve as a motivator, no? Just like the structural poetry of meter and sonnet etc., songs have a general theme to adhere to. It’s up to the artist to do something with it that breaks up the verse, chorus, v2, chorus, bridge feeling.

  2. I also do this when listening to music, especially if it’s a song I’ve heard several times. The first time I listen to a song I probably don’t pay very much attention, but once I’ve heard it a few times I look up the lyrics, mainly so I can sing along, but once I actually read the lyrics I can think about it a bit more in depth, just like you described. I also like the idea you discussed about where artists would put line breaks in their song lyrics. It’s definitely interesting to hear where the sentences and phrases end, and how that fits with the musical ideas. I also really like what you said about listening to the entire album. I think comparing how the themes fit together, or don’t fit together lyrically can give a lot of insight into the song.

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