“Do you understand what they’re saying?” This is question #2 people ask when they learn I listen to Vocaloid. The majority of Vocaloid music is in Japanese (and even the stuff that is in English is kinda…indecipherable). Except for a few useless stock phrases, I don’t speak Japanese.
So why listen to music if you can’t understand the lyrics? The irrelevancy of this question makes me giggle. Let’s face it: there is absolutely no correlation between the profoundness of a song’s lyrics and its popularity. For evidence, observe exhibit 1:
No one’s going to dispute the sheer stupidity of Rebecca Black’s lyrics, but she isn’t the only offender. Pop songs are infamous for their nonsensical, silly lyrics. Here’s a few gems in recent years:
- And now the dudes are lining up 'Cause they hear we got swagger/ But we kick 'em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger (Tik Tok by Ke$ha)
- I won't tell you that I love you/ Kiss or hug you/ Cause I'm bluffin' with my muffin/ I'm not lying I'm just stunnin' with my love-glue-gunning (Poker Face by Lady Gaga)
- Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,/ drifting through the wind wanting to start again? (Fireworks by Katy Perry)
- And this unforgettable gem of Socrates-worthy contemplation: Baby, baby, baby oooh/ Like baby, baby, baby nooo/ Like baby, baby, baby oooh (Baby by Justin Bieber).
|They may have the same hair style, but only one of these singers has a personality (hint: it's KAITO)|
The same goes for Vocaloid songs. Even if you can’t understand the words, the songs do a great job of creating mood. For example, listen to the somber yearning of AVTechNO!’s Darkness Six:
Or check out the strength and unity in The Pair Tree Wither-er:
These songs convey emotion whether you understand the words or not. Just like fans of techno or dubstep, Vocaloid otaku don’t need corny lyrics to enjoy a song. Real music should be felt through the notes.
Of course, that’s not to say that lyrics aren’t important. Many Vocaloid songs are narrative, telling captivating and meaningful stories. That’s for the next post, though. Until then, get out there and listen to your music, wordless, foreign, or otherwise.
What do you think? How important are lyrics in a song? Would you rather have meaningful lyrics or powerful melodies? Let me know!