I never got lyrics. When I was a teenager, my understanding of English was mostly better than my peers, just because I spent so much time in the UK. No, scrap that. I just picked it up because my brain thought I was English - crossed synapses or something.
Anyway - if I listened to the lyrics, I knew what they meant. I just couldn't hear them or remember them. My friends would sing entire songs they'd heard once or twice on the radio, faultlessly, with the right accent, intonations. I went through a phase, like most teenagers, of feeling pretentious about Pink Floyd lyrics. Now I can't listen to them too closely or I cringe... Sometimes I write down the lyrics of a song I like, but to this day I can't remember the lyrics of my favourite songs...
It's not like I think it doesn't matter: some lyrics are beautiful and add to the song. Some are crap and take away from it. One of my favourite tunes at the moment is Cee-Lo Green's 'Fuck You'. Not 'Forget You' cause that doesn't even fit. Since when does Pop music get bawdlerised? But the song is about a boy whose girlfriend left him for someone else and he's accusing her of being a gold-digger, of prefering the other guy because he's got more money. And he's 'like, Fuck you, and fuck her too', and we're, like, going along with it, cause the tune is so damn catchy, and the beat so arse-twitching. But the lyrics do bother me, a little, and they mean that my enjoyment of the song isn't as pure as it would otherwise be. Nothing a beer or two wouldn't fix - my principles tend to be soluble in small doses of alcohol- but you see what I mean.
Then there's the song of the same name by Lily Allen - the kind of lyrics you want to shout along with, and the tune is good too. But the music just isn't up there with Cee Lo's. It's a nice tune, no more.
So I say, forget the lyrics, and revert to words that don't make sense and that you can forget. That's what the Beatles were to me for years, and I'm glad to see, now that I am familiar with them in their written form, that they don't actually make any sense most of the time. This is great. Just what I need.
But let's face it, the master of the nonsensical, non commital lyrics has to be Desmond Dekker with his Israelites and, my favourite, the Face of Fu Manchu. As he says with (so little!) eloquence: it makes no sense at all!
This was my entry for Josie's Writing Workshop. The prompt was 'Get Lyrical'.