song lyrics as poetry: “pulling out the bass line”


Song Lyrics Are Poetry:Adam Bradley’s new book makes a rare, convincing argument for the close reading of pop music. – Ivan Kreilkamp – The New Republic – June 30, 2017

“When I had transcribed and typed out the song’s lines, what had I produced? Why do we write out pop lyrics….and when we do so, what relation does that text have to the recorded song?

“One conventional answer would be to say that in turning the recording of ‘Outdoor Miner’ into a written text, I had performed a radical reduction, even an act of interpretive violence. Wire’s lovely, enigmatic recording is a complex and fundamentally musical, aural creation, comprised of the singing of words, yes, but at least as importantly, of music: the guitar, bass, drums, piano, and voice, melody and rhythm, in their interrelation. To extract the words from this assemblage is akin to pulling out the bass line, or the drum track, and listening to that alone. Interesting as an experiment, perhaps, but false to the song in its totality.”

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