How singers reach out lyrically.
Hi! It’s Charluxx.
What we do as musicians is, we appropriate words. We even invent new ones. That’s what we do.
We will pronounce them differently, change the emphasis, morph them, stretch them.
I’ll give you a few examples.
In my song Destiny (at the 2:40 mark) I say “I’d like to send an S.O.S.” I morph the word send and sand, to evoke a desert island—what I think about when I hear the word S.O.S.—and the reason I do that is completely to bring you closer to my vision.
How the inimitable David Bowie transforms the word Changes in Changes. Try to imagine the song without that effect, just the word "changes." Not a hit then... Instead it’s an earworm.
The same trick is used by rebels The Who in My Generation, where Roger Daltry stutters the key words to emphasize them: “say,” “sensation,” “generation,” “down,” “get,” “cold.” Again, you remember it. Effective, creative, daring, are words that come to mind when it comes to the musicianship involved. Worth listening to again and again. The message and the music: decisive and empowering.
I love how my street poet Ice-T literally punches out the word Power, and echo’s it. That’s powerful. He doesn’t need to scream it. Confidence is found in one’s tone, not one’s loudness. Think about that. He does it again on Drama, an intimate account of the criminal life—and one of my all time favourite songs—on one of the dopest album ever: Power. Ice-T, in my humble opinion, is the absolute rap phrasing master.
Listen how the great, late Bob Marley sings the word Redemption in Redemption Song. It’s might seem very subtle but it is anything but. Hear how he brings "redem" up and drops "ption song." He’s releasing, redeeming. Remember, this was a contemplating man’s legacy song, as he had been diagnosed with cancer.
In the song Right Thurr the inventive Chingy pronounces the word There as Thuur... and we all remember that song. And if you were to hear it for the first time (try it here, I’ll wait) I guaranty you it didn’t leave you indifferent. You will remember it. Whether you loved it (you got taste) or hated it (for whatever reason, stylistic or other). That is now in you.
There are so many examples of word manipulation. It’s usually what makes a song distinctive. Makes it stand out.
So, why? Why do we do this as musicians?
Well, obviously, it’s about being heard. Communication. We are talking to you. We tell you stories, legends, myths, the life that we live, our fantasies, our tragedies, our nightmares, our dreams...
We make you laugh, cry, sing along, dance, but most of all, and above it all: we bring you joy. Whatever your style(s) of music, whoever you are, music is enjoyable.
And by appropriating words, we can make them potent. When you sing it with us (thank you!) that is the ultimate high. And we know we made it through, it worked.
As a musician, you are sharing, you are reaching out... you have an audience. It’s your responsibility to teach well, to spread the right messages. To help, to guide along gently, to provoke, to wake them up. They are listening. We musicians are not excluded, we are you too. We just have something to say.
Listen carefully the next time you hear a song you like.
Thank you for listening.
Peace and Love,