To say I love music would be an understatement. If I’m not around people or sleeping, I’ll have my headphones on. The type of music I listen to spans complete different genres; it’s symphonic metal one day and indie rock the next. However, if I had to choose, I would say that I love listening to foreign music the most. No matter what genre, no matter which country the music originates from, I always find myself gravitating towards it.
I’ve never though much of it until someone asked me why I would listen to foreign music, as “you don’t have a clue what they’re singing about”. But that’s what I love about it. I don’t need to think about the lyrics, about what the song means, about what message the singer and songwriter are trying to convey. I just get to enjoy the music, the instruments used and the singer’s voice, because to me, that’s what music is all about.
I feel like we are becoming a bit too obsessed with song lyrics and what they mean. Take ‘All About That Bass’, by Meghan Trainor, for example. When it first came out, people liked the song because it was catchy and up beat. But then people started analyzing the lyrics. Was she skinny shaming? Was she promoting an unhealthy body image? Was she finally an artist who could make girls feel good about their bodies? Was she a good role model? Was she a bad one? My answer to these questions was: who cares. It’s a song. If you like the song, if it makes you want to get up and dance, if it makes you feel happy, then listen to it. There are enough things in the world that need to be scrutinized, and I really don’t think songs such as Trainor’s are top priority.*
The meaning of a song should not be the reason as to why you are listening to it. You should be listening to a song because you like the way it sounds. If I’m listening to a song with lyrics that talk about sadness, this does not automatically mean that I am sad; I just like the way the artist plays the guitar in the song. Just because I am listening to a song about being in love, it doesn’t mean that I am feeling the same; I just like the beat of the song. I’m finding it much harder to listen to English or Dutch language songs nowadays just for the music. I am subconsciously analyzing the lyrics, which is about the last thing I want to be doing. I could blame this on society’s fixation with lyrics and their meanings, or on my journalism course that has made me analyses all forms of media. Either way, I much prefer to listen to music in a language I don’t understand, because that way, I have no choice but to just listen to the music.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite foreign songs, sung in Icelandic. I don’t know what the lyrics mean or what the song is trying to convey (if anything). I just love it for its music.
*Songs that spread pure hate message, such as songs based on racist, homophobic, or any other type of discriminatory ideas should, in my opinion, be scrutinized and action should be taken against the singer/songwriter. Using any form of media to spread discrimination should not be allowed. However, a song like ‘All About That Bass’ did not, to me, seem to be spreading any serious discrimination.