Do you prefer instrumentals or songs with lyrics?

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Do you prefer instrumentals or songs with lyrics?

TreyAnastasio
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I was curious to hear if you tend to listen to music with lyrics or instrumentals? Feel free to share!

 

Cheers!

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9 Replies

Miselio
Roadie

While I was considering your question, I started thinking about my playlists and which way they leaned. All my lyrical songs are mostly thrown into a few large, mood based, mixed genre lists. In contrast, I’ve spent more time lately making my instrumental lists focused, and I find myself going to them more often. Perhaps that means my preferences are starting to shift, but there’s still plenty of times I just wanna sing and relate to lyrics still. So, I honestly can’t say for sure which I prefer more. It really depends on what’s going on around me, and how I’m feeling. Sorry I couldn’t really answer your question definitively, haha.

TreyAnastasio
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Thanks for sharing, @Miselio!

 

I’m not quite sure if I listen to instrumentals or songs with lyrics more frequently, either. However, my top 10 most listened-to bands according to Last.fm from the past ~1.5 years are either instrumental (e.g. Ozric Tentacles, My Sleeping Karma, The Re-Stoned, Causa Sui) or play songs that are mostly instrumental. I would speculate that in most cases, the songs that I listen to have lyrics, but that the instrumental parts take more of the time within the songs; however, this is just a guess. I think that in general, though, I focus more on the melodies, rhythms, harmonies, timbres, etc. in music than on the words; and oftentimes I don’t mind if lyrics in a song seem uninspired or clichéd, as long as they sound nice alongside the other instruments in the music.

 

Cheers!

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lyse_
Casual Listener

I'm a songwriter, so I've always loved songs with lyrics, especially ones that I can relate to or that make me feel. However, if I'm studying or doing something where I need to focus a bit more, I will listen to instrumental. I listen to a lot of jazz instrumental and lofi/pop beats w/o lyrics. Sometimes you just need to relax and instrumentals are just whatcha need.  So I guess in conclusion, it depends on the mood or situation I'm in. 🙂 

 

Lyse

https://linktr.ee/lysemusic

K0RAY
Composer
I am thinking about it for a long time and I think I like instrumental music more because it tells everyone something different. Generally, while listening to music with lyrics, you can only adorn the story with your imagination. But, while listening to instrumental music you can "create" the story with your imagination. I have a playlist which is instrumental, if you are interested!

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2G5Rm98aZagXwHxsEATMUh?si=Hg6jn_p3TDuy26-kBPAKgA

wladymeer
Casual Listener
Music without lyrics (singing) seems wrong to me. It's like something is missing.

Sebasty
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I don't have a strong preference of one over the other, however I do feel a track does not need lyrics to be complete.
I prefer calling them as lyricless music rather than instrumental, because.. uhh
1. instrumental as a termin would imply the track also exists with vocals;

2. it feels unconventional calling, eg this liquid funk track

spotify:track:4h0Qh1WbknBb47cu9HrmQ6:small 
as an instrumental track because... it's electronic music. Based off point 1 I still feel instrumentals are tracks with removed lyrics and that have existing vocal originals.

 

So that sorted...

Majority of artists I really like make lyricless music. In many cases there are vocals used, but they're mostly another instrument, a tool contributing to the flow of the track rather than singing about anything specific.

I find tracks that build up complex atmospheres and journeys without lyrics very captivating.

 

I guess my most-scrobbled tracks show that I lean heavily towards the lyricless content, as the highest-standing track with lyrics in 9th and it's a track by Gonjasufi.

That doesn't mean I don't like tracks with lyrics that much, I do.
I just.. have more vivid sort of relations to different sounds based on how/what they make me feel, than lyrics that I may or may not be able to relate to, but can appreciate the quality of the wording/singing and the story told by it.

 

To conclude this post, I should also add I remember most tracks by their soundscape - the memorable sounds and the feelings invoked.
Well, and also great lyrics, if applicable.
: )

SebastySpotify Star
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TreyAnastasio
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Hi all, thanks for sharing!

 

Also @Sebasty, after reading your reply, I was curious to see whether my top 10 most-played tracks according to Last.fm from the past ~1.5 years that I’ve used it mostly include lyrics or have been mostly lyricless; I found that 6 of these tracks have lyrics, and 4 do not, so this suggests that perhaps I listen to music that includes lyrics more often than not. I think it’s difficult to tell for sure though, other than perhaps by counting all the scrobbles of tracks with lyrics and comparing their sum to the remainder of the total number of scrobbles.

 

It’s also interesting that you bring up electronic music as an example of how the term “instrumental” isn’t always a fitting descriptor of music; I had previously thought that “lyricless” and “instrumental” were synonymous, so thanks for letting me know about this. Also, since I don’t listen to electronic music very often, I was curious if you get the impression that despite sometimes including vocal samples (such as in the example track that you shared), it is for the most part lyricless?

 

Cheers!

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Zanardi1
Roadie

Sure. I like'em too. There are songs, right?

Sebasty
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@TreyAnastasio 

 

The example track only contains vocalizations, basically another source of sound to form texture and melodies, but there are plenty of electronic tracks that incorporate lyrics in a bigger or smaller scale. Sometimes it's samples, other times singers. Some artists prefer to work with lyrics, others include lyrics less.

 

I really love this rather lovestruck track:

spotify:track:6EKXKr7rDSDRS3UbqFRYZF:small 
Portishead is a recommended listen

And so is this Massive Attack track with lyrics written by Elisabeth Frazer (former lead singer of Cocteau Twins), and at the time of writing the lyrics, she heard her once-close friend had gone missing and found drowned. As she said, the lyrics are about him, and how she felt about this:

spotify:track:67Hna13dNDkZvBpTXRIaOJ:small 

 

Amon has incorporated lyrics:

spotify:track:5MNmgz99QpQwmcyye2EoNd:small 

But for him the lyrics were more of a necessary side product of him processing what was actually his own voice.
can't trust anyone these days lol

 

I do have questions about whether sampled stuff would count as lyrical content that much, especially when I hear things like this:

spotify:track:6OhBgBHr6yzWdgmLKP1MEf:small (contains a sample of a customer support phone call),

because there's also this track by Coil, named Who'll Fall, and the phone call sample in it is a mourning man calling someone about the death of his friend:

spotify:track:7wrLpUGVJJLNDWolPAnoXu:small 

 

 

I think... if the track has understandably verbal content, then it has lyrics. 😄
Bigger question is how seriously should they be taken as verbal content...

SebastySpotify Star
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