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24 April 2012

Music Lyrics Mismatch: Eleanor Rigby Case Study

Do you carefully listen to the lyrics of the songs you hear? Do the words match the music or are the lyrics at odds with the underlying music? Sometimes the music may be beautiful, yet the words are horrible. Sometimes the dissonance between the meaning of the lyrics and the music is an intentional tactic by a songwriter to underscore the discord of a difficult message.

An example of dissonance between words and music that comes to mind is “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles.

As you listen to this instrumental version of the song, one envisions something joyful as the musicians pluck happily on their instruments.

…even when you add the words, if you just listen to the lilt of Paul McCartney’s voice, you think of bunnies or puppies.

…even if you watch Paul McCartney sing the tune in this video (without regard for the words he’s singing) you don’t get the sense that this is a sad song.

Yet, if you actually listen to (or read) the words, you want to shut off the radio.

I find that I’ve become much more attuned to really listening to the lyrics now that Kent is writing lyrics.  Most of our songs are in harmony between the music and lyrics, however, some are not.  It adds a little variety or spice to an album, don’t you think?

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