The Daily Gamecock

Reliance on lyric sites strips meaning from music

Hunt for concrete message takes away individual interpretation of art, film


I came upon this question the same way I make most discoveries in my life: by sifting through the vast overgrown jungle that is online music blogs. While rummaging through the plethora of tour announcements and links, I found an enlightening story about the recent release of a new Danny Brown track. After listening to and thoroughly enjoying the song, I looked up the lyrics.

On my quest for hip-hop illumination, I stopped at what has now become the Internet authority on all things rap lyrics: Rap Genius, a site where lyrics of thousands of rap songs are stored, and users tag lines and add a note with the meaning of a metaphor or an explanation of the song.

In recent years, sites like Rap Genius and the like have become essential ingredients in Internet pop culture. Where we no longer receive liner notes with the albums we purchase, we must find another way to find out just what our favorite artists are trying to tell us. We like being told what to believe, what to like and what not to like.

The listening public’s tendency toward over-analysis is really nothing new. The infatuation with looking up lyrics to songs and song analyses is just another example of people welcoming laziness and regression with open arms. This endless hunt for absolute correctness is a completely misguided waste of time and is only holding back any sort of advancement of the entertainment consumer population for the foreseeable future.

There is very little reason for music and film review stories to continue to be a fixture in entertainment news. Many of the people reading the story who may have been interested in album or movie to begin with will decide not to give it a chance simply because there were not enough stars on the page.

The encouragement of websites like Rap Genius is a complete disregard of everything music is about and is tearing down the pillars of art itself. Art is supposed to be subjective. Through your personal life experiences and preferences, the piece is supposed to evoke a response from you. That is your responsibility as a consumer, and that is what allows for debate and broadening of horizons when you form your own judgments and listen to another’s perspective.

However, the public will continue to be spoon-fed carefully minced, easy-to-swallow inference until there is less and less distinction between the drones and the aficionados. Only then can we maybe learn to walk on our own two feet.