Author Topic: Songs with nonsense lyrics  (Read 355 times)

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Offline Petzbreeder

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Songs with nonsense lyrics
« on: May 28, 2019, 12:47 »
I've been chatting with my art tutor at my art group today, and we were trying to think of a few songs with nonsense lyrics.

Witch Doctor is a good example, with the "Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang" part.

Are there any others you can think of?

Offline Del

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 15:27 »
A fair amount of Jon Mess' harsh vocals in the band Dance Gavin Dance could be called "nonsense" lyrics, but not quite all of them. He talks about it in an interview here (I'll put it in a spoiler if you're too lazy to click through) but he basically says that he doesn't always write things with "meaning", he just writes the things he thinks fits with the music.

Spoiler: show
There's a misguided opinion that your lyrics are random, when it seems to me everything is calculated so there's more resonance sonically. For example, there's a line off the last record—“cold blocks pop, concocts an instant freeze”—that's quite poignant. How do you respond to people interpreting them as random?
People say they’re random or meaningless because they pick out the most nonsensical lyrics to them. There’s definitely lyrics that are meaningful, ones that go with the song, ones that just play with aliteration and different verbal devices the way words flow together. A lot of the time the lyrics reflect on the way I think the guitars or instrumentals sound, like a lot of time Will’s guitar is really quirky and I base the sound of the lyrics on that song. I approach the subject in a number of ways, so when people say “oh it’s random!” they’re just picking out specific things. Going between things that make sense and can be interpreted is interesting to me, I don’t think lyrics always need to make sense to be interesting. People get caught up in narrative, “there needs to be a story!” and I guess it bothers people that aren’t used to weirder art.

When you’re surrounded by different bands whose main approach is like “I need to write exactly how I’m feeling in these lyrics for the most people,” it confuses a lot of people when you veer off that path.
Yeah, writing like that can get boring, or you just run out of feelings to write about. Just the craft of putting interesting words together is fun to do. I think I maintain that I want to have fun being in the band rather than being super serious all the time. That's another thing: I think people think of post-hardcore as a dark, brooding, epic emotional experience. So when we have moments of irony or satire it throws people off.

This is your seventh record. How do you keep dipping into that creative well and find things that still excite you after all this time?
I don’t really find it that difficult, I mean I have a Word document where I just have hundreds of pages of writing and stuff so I always find it fun to play around with words and stuff. I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve used a lot of different phrases, and trying to come up with new things like “am I simplifying too much? Complicating too much?” I get into that mode. I was thinking about the next album because I don’t really know where we’d go next. Depends where Will starts off writing. But taking breaks is always important, I work in spurts with painting and writing and playing guitar. Staying balanced. A lot of people get burnt out that’s just you and your mind, so being aware is important, like noticing the ebb and flow of your creative energy. I’ve been pretty consistant with not falling off and not being able to get anything done.


Has that always been the case when you started writing, or did you have to work up to that level?
I’ve always been the kid in art class that made a lot of stuff. I thought for a lot of people making stuff is based around fear, like I help teach classes at Sacramento State in art, and that’s one of the things I always recommend people to read this book Art and Fear. I felt like so many people were like “I’m so scared to do this and I’m afraid will people will think” and creating is so much about just making it, and if it sucks just move on. I have hundreds of paintings and there’s tons of them that are terrible. But to get better you just have to keep moving.


Probably the biggest example of his "nonsense" lyrics is the last line(s) of the opening verse from the song "Heat Seeking Ghost Of Sex" from "Downtown Battle Mountain II", which are "Don't be tardy for my leaky Barbie TV party pee in the park" which is pretty ??? but I dunno I like it anyway because it's just so strange but it sounds like it fits in the song which was always his point. DBM2 is probably a lot more out there as an album (at least in terms of Mess' lyrics) than the rest of DGD's stuff though considering the circumstances around the album.
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Offline Petzbreeder

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 20:15 »
I'll have a look at the lyrics of some of them. I'm going to make a collage of nonsense song lyrics, or just ones that are weird.

I know that The Steve Miller Band has songs with weird lyrics, so I'll have a good look for the weird ones.

I'm also looking for "Shoo-be-doo-bop-shoo-wop" sort of stuff too.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 12:00 by Petzbreeder »

Offline the bread dragon

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2019, 02:39 »
sigur ros came up with their own language, i don't think they have any real words in any of their songs

Offline Milsap

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2019, 11:36 »
I Am the Walrus by the Beatles
[Three Word Rule]

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Offline Petzbreeder

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2019, 15:45 »
sigur ros came up with their own language, i don't think they have any real words in any of their songs

I just did a Google search. They're Icelandic, apparently.

Offline the bread dragon

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2019, 22:45 »
yeah but they have a lot of songs that aren't in icelandic
from the wiki page, they made up a "language" that "consists of strings of meaningless syllables containing non-lexical vocables and phonemes. There is no grammatical relation between or among syllables, nor are they accompanied by clearly defined word boundaries."

tbf it's not like you could really tell the difference between that and icelandic

Offline Kerou 犠牲

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2019, 20:13 »
Sigur Ros are awesome

that one Panic at the Disco song with the wedding music video that everyone knows is absolute nonsense lyrically

Offline Milsap

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2019, 12:38 »
We'll start all over again
Grow ourselves new skin
Get a house in Devon
Drink cider from a lemon-lemon-lemon-lemon...

Feeder, Buck Rogers.
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Offline Petzbreeder

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Re: Songs with nonsense lyrics
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2019, 14:10 »
Grow ourselves new skin certainly sounds a bit weird!

I'll definitely use that one.