I’ve said it before: I don’t hear lyrics. I can listen to a song over and over and over again, to the point where I can sing every word of the song, and not ever have understood the meaning of the words I’m singing. Consequently, I’m terrible at making “emotionally meaningful” mix tapes. I’ll put songs on a mixtape that sound great together and blend well from one to the next, but then be told by the receiver “those songs you put on my mixtape were all so dark!” Heartbreak, death and mayhem, and I’ll just not have heard it until it was plainly told to me.
Which puts me in a strange position when confronted with a lyric video, such as this new Okkervil River video for their song “It Was My Season” from their forthcoming album The Silver Gymnasium, due out September 3. Here, I am presented with the lyrics in an unavoidable fashion. I can’t watch the video without reading and understanding the lyrics. And I hate to say it, but I think it makes the song sound worse to me. I’m fairly confident that this new song is actually quite good. But, because I now have read all the lyrics, and their nonsensical, somewhat strangely comic nature, I don’t like the song as much.
I’m very curious if I’m the only one that reacts this way about songs. Do tell, won’t you? But don’t sing it to me, because I won’t hear you.