Are you the kind of person that listens to lyrics or not? Do you believe they effect you even if you are not listening?
I'm the type of person that listens which is both good and bad. It's good because the artist put those words in there for a reason, to be heard, to spread a message or idea or thought. But it's bad in that there are songs I like for which once I know the message I can no longer enjoy them since the message is not something that makes me happy to hear.
Some are Japanese songs. For example one of my favorite Pizzicato Five songs was the second to the last track on I think the Romantique Album. Before I learned Japanese I didn't know the name of the track or what they were saying. It's Jazzy piece and used to always put me in a good mood. But, now I know the song is called "Kanashii Uta" or "Sad Song" and it's about a woman that just broke up with her boyfriend and is trying to move on. Not something that puts me in a good mood so I can no longer really listen to the song.
Some other examples, many people in love like the song "Saving all my love for you" by Whitney Houston. Unfortunately if you acutally listen to the words that song is about her having an affair with a married guy. Affairs and cheating are not topics that make me feel happy or lovey so that song is not something I want to hear anymore. Even if I was in love with some person that song would not help me celebrate my love, it would only make me think about its actual message which is adultry. Not a very romatic thought.
Another that comes to mind, less well known, is a song by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode called "Compulsion" from his solo album Counterfeit. I really liked the song but I can almost never listen to it because it is about realizing when to give up and move on and everytime I listen to it it makes me question my current situation. The lyrics are "got to move on some time and it's about time" so whatever is currently center in my life I start to question. It's about time I move on from my job or It's about time I move on from my girlfriend or it's about time I move on from Japan, whatever. While it might be good to question those things once in a while generally in my case it's not because I already think too much but that song makes me question them even more so I can't listen to it.
The latest is "Hey Ya" by Outkast. It's great song and seems all happy and peppy but until yesterday I didn't know the lyrics. The message is nothing lasts forever, not even love so let's just forget about love and screw. That's actually the message of quite a lot of popular music now−a−days. Maybe it's true but I personally don't want to be believe it. I want to believe in love and romance and happily ever after (though not neccesarily easily). So sadly I can no longer enjoy that song.
On the other hand, although it's kind of old, until recently I didn't know the lyrics to "Give it away now" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song has a few lines that make it sound like it's about sex. "What I got you got to get it put it in you". But what the song is really about is love. Not romantic love but love for every one. Kind of like "What the World Needs Now Is Love" by Burt Bacharach. Knowing the message makes me like "Give it away now" twice as much as before I knew the message.
I also wonder if songs like that influence people's thinking even if they aren't really listening. I know that many people believe in subliminal influence even going so far as to listening to tapes with subliminal affermations. The lyrics are not even really subliminal since all you have to do is pay attention to understand them.
A couple of more negative examples. While I understood why people could get into the upbeat songs of "Mambo No. 5" and "It wasn't me" by Shaggy since the tunes were so catchy it was still hard for me to except that the messages didn't bring them down. It seems like women more than men liked Mambo No. 5 but it's about a guy with 10+ girlfriends. Why women would like that song knowing that I don't get. "It wasn't me" is about a guy getting caught cheating on his girlfriend in pretty graphic detail. Again, not a topic that it seems to me would make most people happy or at least not most women but women loved that song.
Have you ever experienced that one way or another? Ie, good song bad message? or song you could listen to that you no longer can because you understand the meaning?