so my friend Steven of www.stevengharms.com recently posted a quick, trenchant insight about the way in which most grown-ups (i.e. people with really very limited "free" time) experience music - in short, that adults don't have the luxury to focus solely on the music, that 'lie back on the bed in the early morning listening to 'Slow Ride' on your big headphones as you recall the awesome freshman '70s party adventure you just had', that Dazed and Confused style experience.
personally speaking, one of my key early high school memories was buying Metallica Master of Puppets and Megadeth Countdown to Extinction at the local Best Buy and hanging out in my room just listening to this strange, incredibly skillful new thing called heavy metal. not playing a video game, not doing homework, just listening.
in your maturity, music is more of a nice accompaniment that floats around your subconscious while you're driving / working / etc.
that brought to mind a different thought about the the subject of music that i've been kicking around for a while
over the years i've found and enjoyed bands from a lot of different styles of music -some of it's heavy, some light, some uptempo, some relaxed, some melodic, some distorted.
across all those bands the clarity of the vocals runs the gamut - some songs i can listen to and know exactly what the songwriter was trying to express. the saga of Eddie in Tom Petty's "Into the Great Wide Open" is pretty easy to follow from start to finish. he waited until he finished high school, got a tattoo.... the future was wide open - FIN
other bands, whether due to singer accent, sub-par fidelity in the recording, studio mix or whatever, have lyrics that are for the most part unintelligible. in this new era of ipods and mp3 download album purchases, printed lyrics aren't as prevalent unless you take the time to search on the net for lyrics sites that probably plant viruses on your pc so in my experience the message of most of my favorite songs go by unlearned.
what i wonder now is - if i could know the actual words that i instead hear as a muffled or music-obscured "whirrs plebe bee ah mote peepo", would i enjoy the music substantially more?
or is the greatest amount of contribution of vocals simply being a musical instrument of a different sound, the key piece of an intertwined melody also comprising piano, drums, guitar, bass?