Can you fully appreciate music without any attention to lyrics?

Are we just status-seeking monkeys?

Afterthoughts: The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara

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Ask anyone I know, and they will tell you I am addicted to music. If I had to define my preferences, I would say I enjoy anything under the Soul genre and associated sub-genres. Soul music just speaks to me, as I am sure it does to others. From Otis Redding’s Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay to any of Nujabes’ seven projects, it all resonates like no other genre can. But if you ask me to recall what a song is about; I would not be able to tell you with any confidence.

I do not pay any attention to the lyrics so the meaning behind a song will often go over my head. Sometimes I wonder what I am missing out on, especially when I read album reviews. They always (and probably rightly) focus on the lyrics, feverishly trying to decipher the underlying narrative. It is not something that has irked me to the point where I have bookmarked Genius.

I choose to instead focus on absorbing the music blindly. I allow my physiological response to inform my feelings about a record or an album. Does it make me want to dance, feel wistful, lie down on a beach, go on a hike, curl up under a blanket, or light up the fireplace? The stronger the desire, the more likely I am to resonate with it.

HONNE’s Warm on a Cold Night was the first album where the music felt decidedly more experiential. The lo-fi production matched with the effusive vocals made me want to just wander the night with a few close friends doing nothing in particular. It is delicate but doesn’t forget to be fun either. I have since re-read the reviews for it and while they the touch on many of the same notes as I have, any praise falls short of great, which is where I put this album.

Given how much music I listen to, there would probably be value in exploring lyrics. Regardless, it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying it. Perhaps I just need to be selective, not all artists are deeply lyrical. I do listen to a lot of R&B so that might be a good place to start.

I will update this article once I have spent enough time exploring the lyrics and meaning behind my favourite R&B records. Stay tuned.

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