What It Means If You Listen To The Lyrics Vs. The Music When You Hear A Song

Photo: Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock
What It Means If You Hear The Lyrics Vs Music In A Song

Music is known as the universal language, with all of the pieces that make up a song — like melody, rhythm, and tempo — able to be understood by people all over the world, regardless of culture or background.

In fact, the oldest instruments are estimated to be over 40,000 years old, meaning music has been a source of connection for humans for longer than we could ever imagine.

Despite music being so universal, we all experience it differently. That’s why we’re all so unique when it comes to favorite genres, artists, and songs.

In fact, according to the internet, we even draw meaning from music in completely different ways.

Do you hear the lyrics vs. the music when you listen to songs?

Though music is proven to speak to all of us, according to a TikTok video, there are two different types of listeners: those who hear the lyrics and those who listen to the music.



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As one Reddit user put it, "I don't listen to lyrics when I'm listening to music. Sometimes I'll catch a line here and there. I don't even know the lyrics to my favorite songs. Everyone I've talked to IRL thinks it's odd."

So while you may listen to a song and hear the lyrics as the music is not much more than background noise, someone else might only be able to hear the music behind the words — and that may all have to do with your personality.

What it means if you mainly hear the lyrics in a song

People who hear the words of a song tend to “see the world through a logical framework.”

If the first thing you register when listening to a song is its lyrics, you’re more of an analytic thinker. A few Reddit users who relate to this note that bad lyrics can actually ruin a song for them, no matter how good the music is.

You tend to take the world as it is and see things in a series of calculated steps. You’re able to easily and quickly weigh the pros and cons of a situation, using them to come to conclusions.

You’re able to put yourself in other people’s shoes by analyzing situations from multiple perspectives.

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What it means if you mainly hear the music or melody in a song

People who hear the music of a song “think intuitively through sensations and have to translate those into language.”

If you easily hear the music of a song but have to really focus to pick out the lyrics, you’re more intuitive.

“I can listen to the same song for 10 years and not pick up more than a few words. I get distracted by basslines, melodies and beats,” explains one Reddit user.

You get meaning from feelings and nuances rather than what may be directly in front of you.

You likely embody many empathic traits such as a unique ability to understand what other people are feeling without them saying it outright and the propensity to daydream.

You’re able to understand where others are coming from by genuinely feeling the way they do.

Neither personality type is better than the other.

Despite us all hearing music differently, we all still not only appreciate it but ultimately understand it the same way.

For example, if you’re listening to a new song with a friend, you’ll both be able to discuss its meaning even if you got that meaning through the lyrics and your friend got it through the music.

Instrumentals aside, many songs wouldn’t be what they are without both the music and the lyrics. Just as it’s important to have both in music, it’s important to have both types of people in the world to balance each other out.

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Micki Spollen is an editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.