It’s the words, stupid.

So the other day, I was watching something on VH1 (probably one of those list shows of top 6,000 videos of 1988 or something) and a promo for a show called “I Trust You to Kill Me” came on. It a documentary about this band, Rocco DeLuca and The Burden, on their first European tour with tour manager Keifer Sutherland. It looked interesting, no commericials, and it reminded me of the few small gigs I did with SO Percussion for Feynman.

They show footage of the concerts, sort of like little music videos. The band is the typical post-grundge, angst, heavy sound. The front man broods a little, makes faces of pain, and has a pretty unique guitar style. As I watched the footage of the live show from Dublin, it dawned upon me why rock has fallen off my radar:

It’s the words, stupid.

Now listen, I’m no old-fogey insisiting that everyone sound like John Hiatt. I like Beck and Jeebus knows that his songs don’t make a lot of sense, but I know they don’t make alot of sense because I can understand 80% of his words. The bands that have so much to say, especially about all the reasons for their angst, cannot be understood.

They just don’t get it. Bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana could get away with not being understood because they formulated such a unique sound for the time. But now that the common Joe is familiar with the “angst” sound, it is not enough to communicate through the music alone. You need to communicate with your words by pronouncing them.

Think about this: bands that have lasted various generations (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, U2) generally can be understood in their lyrics. If your lyrics are so important for generations to hear, then learn how to sing with some annunciation. Especially for bands that are trying to break through an already saturated market.

One Response to “It’s the words, stupid.”

  1. Dave
    December 5th, 2006 | 1:01 pm

    John who? Any true lover of the muse will let the sounds drive them first and THEN actually investigate the band and in that process of seeking learn the lyrics. Anybody can listen to song, but, not everyone can HEAR it.