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OT: Music defined by lyrics vs sound.


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Okay, starting this thread so we don't completely hijack the CCM cover thread.

 

It was brought up that Christian music is the only music really defined by it's lyrical content. No matter what the sound is, it's Christian rock or Christian metal or whatnot, and I do have to agree with that.

 

I also feel that other music is defined very lyrically though.

 

 

Death Metal - Must be gore lyrics

examples: Cannibal Corpse, Jungle Rot

 

Black Metal - Usually Satanic or Nordic

examples: Mayhem, Emperor

 

Punk - Lyrics that call for change, often political

examples: Bad Religion, System of a Down

 

 

These are all very general, and of course, if you say Death Metal, it's gonna sound like death metal, so is it defined musically rather than lyrically?

 

Discuss!

"...Keytar in a heavy metal band is nothing more than window dressing" - Sven Golly

 

Cursed Eternity - My Band

Dick Ward - My Me

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Originally posted by Dick Ward (Alias: Mr. Pretentious):

Lol, I could see that. Though, is Love Songs really a genre or is it a sub genre of AC or R&B or whatnot? Should it be a genre?

That's a good question. It sort of brings up the question "what is a genre?" Many genres are vague and often confused with each other, and I'm sure many of the terms were coined for marketing purposes.
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Originally posted by Dick Ward (Alias: Mr. Pretentious):

It was brought up that Christian music is the only music really defined by it's lyrical content. No matter what the sound is, it's Christian rock or Christian metal or whatnot, and I do have to agree with that.

After looking at some Christian music, I would have to agree as well. P.O.D, Twila Paris, Stryper, Larry Carlton etc. makes me believe that the sound, without the words, would just be music of it's particular genre and not specifically Christian in any way.

 

Whereas P.O.D. could easily be a secular group if the words were not there, the music on Larry Carlton's "Alone, but Never Alone" sounds secular since the words are not there in the first place.

 

It's sort of like tuning the radio dial and finding a station you like, then hearing the words and determining that you've just tuned in your local Christian radio station.

 

So, if this music is only defined by it's lyrical content, does that mean only the words are Christian, but the music is not? :confused:

 

Don

Don

 

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

 

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Stratocaster if I get tired of sitting.

 

 

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Dick,

 

Speaking of Christian rock, what do you know of the group Avenged Sevenfold? A friend had me listen to their CD "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet". Actually, I like the music. I didn't really hear the words. :rolleyes:

 

Don

 

For cool keyboards, check out "Warmness On The Soul".

Don

 

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

 

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Stratocaster if I get tired of sitting.

 

 

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:)

 

Think of it this way, of course certain extreme musical styles will surround certain themes, and the examples listed in the first thread are great, but there is also a common musical element in all of those styles.

 

Now take a Death Metal gore lyric, and sing it over a light DX e. piano as a chessy ballad, with Barry Manillow singing. Would it be categorized "Death Metal"??? Seriously.

Have you heard Ben Folds version of Dre's "B***es ain't Sh*t"? Does it still classify as Hip Hop? Or the immortal Richard Cheese (If you haven't heard him, IMMEDIATELY search him out!) and ALL the styles of music he lovingly mutilates...are thheey still the original "genre" of music?

When it comes too labeling music, I guess most of it's opinion....that and easy reference for album sales, so I freely admit it's just my opinion that no, those songs would not be categorized in the former style. The remakes would be classified as remakes of "style A" performed in "style B".

 

The difference I see is if I take a Christian lyric and play it over a cheezy DX piano with Barry Mannilow singing....actually, that's about right isn't it? :cool: Seriously, it's deemed Christian music. Take the same lyric and put it over a Prog track, it's Christian music. Take a Cannibal Corpse track, erase the vocal and put a Christian lyric on it .....you got it.

 

Now every lyric has a way of describing it. We could say the same thing about love songs, as was previously mentioned. We can take any style of music and put a love lyric on it...and it's a love song, regardless of musical style, right? The difference is that doesn't actually happen as a standard practice....and it does with Christian music.

 

The Ben Folds example is actually kind of fitting. He's singing a Hip Hop lyric, but the song gets played on alternative rock radio. If you look on iTunes, the genre is classified "alternative". Now look up the band Skillet, and it's genre is "inspirational" (that's what they're calling CCM now).

 

It's an interesting discussion...it doesn't really mean anything in thee long run. Music's music. Labels are just there to help record labels market albums. they end up limiting music in the long run (That's a whole 'nother discussion)

 

Now to destroy everything I just wrote, I'll tell you the real definition of CCM: it's music that's signed to a Christian record label. ;)

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Now to destroy everything I just wrote, I'll tell you the real definition of CCM: it's music that's signed to a Christian record label. [Wink]
Until they get really big and sign on with the really big labels. ;) But then, they usually are singing secular music by that time. :rolleyes:

 

Don

Don

 

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

 

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Stratocaster if I get tired of sitting.

 

 

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Originally posted by Desert Rat:

Now to destroy everything I just wrote, I'll tell you the real definition of CCM: it's music that's signed to a Christian record label. [Wink]
Until they get really big and sign on with the really big labels. ;) But then, they usually are singing secular music by that time. :rolleyes:

 

Don

Actually...that's a very true statement. With POD's success, more secular labels are takking chances signing "Christian Rock" bands. The secular labels categorize the bands by genre rather than callling them CCM. I was trying to look up a few bands to use as musical examples and came across "Subseven"...they're classified (by iTunes) as "Rock"...and they're signed by EMI. Then there's a band called "The Wedding playing a similar style of music, but they're signed to BHT/Word (Christian label). iTunes classifies it "inspirational".

:P

 

Let's just play some music, and let them all figure it out.

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I think there are two types of categorization. The lyrical ones, and then the musical one. I think any musical genre can have lyrics of any of the lyrical genres and vise versa.

 

For example: If heavy metal songs had love lyrics (although unlikely) they would still be in the "heavy metal" genre.

 

So maybe we should categorize lyrics and music seperately so that every song would ultimately have two categories associated with it (ie. lyric genre and music genre)

 

It wouldn't be fair to cast a genre into a specific type of lyric style and vise versa. I say this because my band right now writes mostly soul/RnB/soft rock music but with lyrics ranging from cliche RnB love to poeticly wierd radiohead-esque lyrics. A musical genre should be independent of the lyrics used.

 

My 0.02$

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Originally posted by bloodsample:

For example: If heavy metal songs had love lyrics (although unlikely) they would still be in the "heavy metal" genre.

I expect someone's going to say it's really "hair metal" or "rock", but how about Whitesnake's "Give Me All Your Love"?
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I think it depends on whether you're using a term to categorise a musical style, or whether you mean a lyrical theme, or perhaps both. (Of course, the lyrical theme might imply constrains on the musical style.)

 

Otherwise, I think most styles reference the style of the music, not the lyrical theme. It might be usual for the style to have lyrics of a certain theme, but that's not what makes the style.

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Alright, I should clarify the original statement (made in the other thread) which was that CCM is the only style of music defined by it's lyrical content, as opposed to music style.

 

I mean that to say that CCM "inspirational" is a music category for CD (I almost wrote "record"...whoops) sales. When you go to Best Buy and look through music, "Christian" is one of the music categories. When you look on iTunes, "inspirational" is a music category. I'm not talking about a couple of buddies hanging around desribing music...I mean it's a recognized musical "style" in the recording industry. Come on...it has it's own category in the Grammy's!

Hope that helps define where I was coming from.

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I'd have to say that "Country" music has always been defined more by lyrics than music. Country songs usually tell stories meant to resonate with the listeners. The music is often secondary and primarily serves to enhance the feeling of the story.

I have often described the difference between "Country" lyrics and "Pop/Rock" lyrics as: In Country songs, it matters most what the words mean, in Pop/Rock it matters most how the words sound.

These are certainly not hard and fast rules, and there are many many notable exceptions, but it is generally true.

IMHO,

Steve Nathan

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Originally posted by Steve Nathan:

I'd have to say that "Country" music has always been defined more by lyrics than music. Country songs usually tell stories meant to resonate with the listeners. The music is often secondary and primarily serves to enhance the feeling of the story.

I have often described the difference between "Country" lyrics and "Pop/Rock" lyrics as: In Country songs, it matters most what the words mean, in Pop/Rock it matters most how the words sound.

These are certainly not hard and fast rules, and there are many many notable exceptions, but it is generally true.

IMHO,

Steve Nathan

Steve,

 

I would agree, but would then include folk music. It always told a story. ;)

 

Don

Don

 

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

 

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Stratocaster if I get tired of sitting.

 

 

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Originally posted by soundscape:

Originally posted by bloodsample:

For example: If heavy metal songs had love lyrics (although unlikely) they would still be in the "heavy metal" genre.

I expect someone's going to say it's really "hair metal" or "rock", but how about Whitesnake's "Give Me All Your Love"?
Whitesnake is not metal.

 

Metal can have love lyrics, just not death metal.... wait, is "F*cked with a knife" a love song?

 

Seriously though, check into Power Metal. It's a very open genre and very keyboard driven, and a lot of love lyrics. Metal is very open and very closed at the same time, funny how that works:p

"...Keytar in a heavy metal band is nothing more than window dressing" - Sven Golly

 

Cursed Eternity - My Band

Dick Ward - My Me

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Originally posted by Desert Rat:

Dick,

 

Speaking of Christian rock, what do you know of the group Avenged Sevenfold? A friend had me listen to their CD "Sounding the Seventh Trumpet". Actually, I like the music. I didn't really hear the words. :rolleyes:

 

Don

 

For cool keyboards, check out "Warmness On The Soul".

They're christian rock? I only know a few songs and they don't seem to be faith inspired. As far as the music goes, it's definitely one of the best of the Nu-metal crowd. That's still not very good though. Nu-metal needs to die :P

 

 

BTW, someone mentioned inspirational music having it's own category. I find this really odd, as whatever band it is should really be categorized under whatever style of music it is. But I do see what you mean.

 

Metal in the Grammys needs to stop. Last year there was only one metal band nominated and they didn't win. Someone explain that to me?

 

 

Steve! Please don't take this as disrespect at all, but I'm curious. Post Garth Brooks country seems to have blended pretty seamlessly with mainstream music. No more are the Willy Nelsons and Johnny Cashes. It seems like (from what I hear, which admittedly is not much) it's either male love songs, or female songs about how they wanna go out and party. It seems like country music has sort of lost it's identity. Aside from the image that is, the style is still very defined. I'm wondering how you feel about this blend. It definitely brought more people into the country scene, but did it water down the content, or do you feel it has improved?

 

Both punk and metal have had success and therefore crossover success and I feel that it has really weakened a once strong genre. Especially with the advent of "Core" which is all the bass player riding the E and the guitar playing E, F, G pretty repeatedly. Our drummer refers to it as either 013 music as those are the only frets needed, or Chigga Chigga Roy.

"...Keytar in a heavy metal band is nothing more than window dressing" - Sven Golly

 

Cursed Eternity - My Band

Dick Ward - My Me

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Originally posted by Dick Ward (Alias: Mr. Pretentious):

BTW, someone mentioned inspirational music having it's own category. I find this really odd, as whatever band it is should really be categorized under whatever style of music it is.

That's kinda my whole point in a nutshell.

:wave:

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You're good, oh, you're good.

 

Yeah, I get it having it's own channel and all, that's just dictated by the people and what they listen to. I don't see why it has it's own grammy category, that makes absolutely no sense to me. That'd be like having Best Love Song or Best Breakup Song, and while the Grammys are supposed to be at least somewhat prestigious, those seem like MTV music award categories. Not to go off subject, but is there a music award worth winning?

"...Keytar in a heavy metal band is nothing more than window dressing" - Sven Golly

 

Cursed Eternity - My Band

Dick Ward - My Me

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It was brought up that Christian music is the only music really defined by it's lyrical content.
Would not the same apply to folk music? The quality of the music, or rather the lack there of, is also secondary to the lyrical content.

 

Which brings to mind the quote from Tom Lehrer ...I should like to consider the folk song and expound briefly on a theory I have held for some time to the effect that the reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they were written by the people. If professional song writers had written them instead, things might have turned out considerably differently.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dick Ward (Alias: Mr. Pretentious):

Originally posted by soundscape:

Originally posted by bloodsample:

[qb]For example: If heavy metal songs had love lyrics (although unlikely) they would still be in the "heavy metal" genre.

I expect someone's going to say it's really "hair metal" or "rock", but how about Whitesnake's "Give Me All Your Love"?
Whitesnake is not metal.
What is it, then?

 

Seriously though, check into Power Metal. It's a very open genre and very keyboard driven, and a lot of love lyrics. Metal is very open and very closed at the same time, funny how that works:p
Hmm, OK. Keyboard driven sounds good. :) (BTW, just to clarify, I don't necessarily want to hear love lyrics.)
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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

It was brought up that Christian music is the only music really defined by it's lyrical content.
Would not the same apply to folk music? The quality of the music, or rather the lack there of, is also secondary to the lyrical content.
Seems a bit sweeping. I guess it depends on what you call 'folk music'. But, for example, I've heard 'Greensleeves' many more times without the lyrics than with.

 

Which brings to mind the quote from Tom Lehrer ...I should like to consider the folk song and expound briefly on a theory I have held for some time to the effect that the reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they were written by the people. If professional song writers had written them instead, things might have turned out considerably differently.
Hmm, my understanding is that much folk music was often written by a songwriter, just that it's been forgotten who. Of course 'happy birthday' is still under copyright.
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Seems a bit sweeping. I guess it depends on what you call 'folk music'.
A quick google search gave ... Traditional music that has evolved through the process of aural transmission. Well-known American practitioners of this style of music are Woody Guthrie and Jean Ritchie.

 

For me, folk music is all about the lyrics, certainly not the music. The music plays a secondary role (much like pop Christian music) to the lyrics. Most of the folk music I've heard (and I've owned several LPs by Tom Paxton, an excellent example) are very simple harmonically speaking; it was really just the lyrics being show cased.

 

The Christian pop/pap music I've heard is also rather simple harmonically though often produced in a slick manner. I find it fascinating to watch on TV if only for the response of the audience. I could see making money doing that though under an assumed name. :cool:

 

I mentioned folk music since, for me at least, it is more defined by its lyrics than the musical content. (I have to admit that the use of the word lyrical might further confuse the issue since I assume we're talking about lyrics and not about the lyrical quality of the music .... or not.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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Originally posted by Dave Horne:

Seems a bit sweeping. I guess it depends on what you call 'folk music'.
A quick google search gave ... Traditional music that has evolved through the process of aural transmission. Well-known American practitioners of this style of music are Woody Guthrie and Jean Ritchie.

 

For me, folk music is all about the lyrics, certainly not the music. The music plays a secondary role (much like pop Christian music) to the lyrics. Most of the folk music I've heard (and I've owned several LPs by Tom Paxton, an excellent example) are very simple harmonically speaking; it was really just the lyrics being show cased.

I just had a brief listen to some clips from Tom Paxton and Woody Guthrie on iTunes Music Store. As I cannot stand that style of music, I think I'll refrain from commenting on whether I think the music per se is of value. (Well, obviously, I don't, but that's hardly objective.)
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Soundscape, you totally called it earlier. Whitesnake is a rock band.

 

That whole hair thing, with very few exceptions, that's not ours. We don't lay any claim to it. Someone else can have Cinderella and Girl School and Poison and Motley Crue. I like Crue, but that's rock n roll. Same with AC/DC. I LOVE AC/DC, but they're rock and roll.

 

 

Power metal can be very cheesy, but so many keyboard leads and such great singing, so I forgive the lyrics most of the time. Check out Sonata Arctica as a great example of this.

 

As far as folk, I've never been able to pin down the genre. Is Dylan Folk? Does Billy Bragg fall into folk or punk? I still contend that Bright Eyes is more of a folk band than anything else, but people claim that they're emo. And emo, dear god that's a fun one. I'm told it means "emotional music", but that qualifies, well, a whole lot of music.

"...Keytar in a heavy metal band is nothing more than window dressing" - Sven Golly

 

Cursed Eternity - My Band

Dick Ward - My Me

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I recently had a breakthrough regarding lyrical content vs. instrumental content. I was never a very big Coldplay fan, because their sound didn't excite me too much - no ripping solos, no tricky formal changes. Just another limp Brit-pop band, right? Then, I had my heart ripped out by an evil woman, and suddenly it seemed that every time I heard a Coldplay song on the radio, they were either singing about me or to me. It had been years since a song's lyrics touched me more than the song's sound got in my bones. Now I realize what the big deal is about Coldplay: they write songs that speak to people, and people respond by buying millions of their records.

 

As for the whole CCM portion of the discussion: there was a time in the 80s and 90s when I could peg a song as CCM within the first eight bars, usually because of that infernal FM piano sound that was EVERYWHERE back then. They REALLY liked it on the Godly end of your radio dial. Back then, as a rule, Christian pop just SUCKED. Now, I'm a Christian and lifelong choir geek, so it's not like I had a problem with the lyrics. The music just sucked. I'd hear Twila Paris up against Led Zeppelin and say, "Sorry, but if that's the price of salvation, then I'm going to hell with Jimmy and the boys." It was as though they all thought they'd go to hell just for rockin'.

 

Nowadays, CCM music sounds like regular pop/rock music that just happens to be about Jesus. That's a good thing - He always deserved better songwriting.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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LOL, your first paragraph rules. I don't completely agree of course, as Coldplay blows and I've had my heart ripped out plenty :P (I usually fall into trance music).

 

 

Theres a thought. Is music more defined by mood than by genre? I mean, when I'm in a certain mood, mopy trancy slow stuff can seem acceptable and good. I think that's why I've always liked the genre of "Shoegazer" (My Bloody Valentine). It's a good description of the mood that I'm in when I listen to it. I'm in a very secluded mood where I don't really want to meet people or make eye contact.

 

I still feel that most Christian music is pretty easy to peg. Moreso when it comes to the 'extreme' genres. (of course, a dead giveaway is when they stop to pray in the middle of their show... boy did I feel out of place) The music is sound, but it still feels like a commercial. Very neutral(ered?) and very flat/non edgy.

 

"Remember, tonight in the church basement, the religious rock stylings of Testament"

"...Keytar in a heavy metal band is nothing more than window dressing" - Sven Golly

 

Cursed Eternity - My Band

Dick Ward - My Me

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Originally posted by Dick Ward (Alias: Mr. Pretentious):

LOL, your first paragraph rules. I don't completely agree of course, as Coldplay blows and I've had my heart ripped out plenty :P (I usually fall into trance music).

Yep, I don't enjoy Coldplay either.

 

You mean this type of trance...?

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/clipserve/B00000K0VN001003/

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