Oxford life. Thirtysomething challenges. Music leanings. Anything really.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

His lyrics are clichéd: “Imagine all the people, living lives in peace.”

The Independent wrote about Bob Geldof’s Outstanding Contribution To Music award today. Rightly, they pointed out that his music is questionable at best. Sure, a couple of classics, but, really, does he deserve to stand up with The Beatles, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, etc?

I’m reading the article, and agreeing with the journo. All is good until he does that thing that many music journos do that really pisses me off. He quotes lyrics as some form of proof to his argument.

In this case, “His lyrics are poor: ‘I said she was beautiful and made her come a lot.’”

But in a different article someone else may well write: “His lyrics are simple and punchy: ‘I said she was beautiful and made her come a lot.’”

The reason it winds me up is by removing a single line from a song and putting it in print, it is so out of context it is rendered meaningless.

How can a line of words be proven to be poor or great without the context of the rest of the lyrics, or the music, or the band’s agenda? It’s rendered meaningless like this.

It happens all the time in the NME, and I think it’s just a puerile form of one-upmanship. “Look at me,” they cry. “I got GCSE English and am excellent at comprehension. I can interpret lyrics better than you.”

It’s fair enough that lyrics can be poor, but the tired reviewer’s trick of quoting one line from a song doesn’t work.

I also get wound up by it because of a fear that maybe it’s *me* who’s thick – maybe to the intelligentsia, the awfulness of the lyrics are obvious from the single quote, and anyone who can’t see that is backward and somehow stupid.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?