Wednesday 15 December 2010

Not hearing song words

These days I tend to buy songs I like in dribs and drabs from iTunes, rather than purchasing whole albums.

It's the modern-day equivalent of rummaging in the singles bin in Woolworths hoping to find the one track you'd fallen in love with but was playing on the Top-40 countdown on the radio as you were recording it and your tape ran out.

I remember those days. I remember buying Fast Forward magazine and Smash Hits so I could learn the lyrics to Kylie songs, and my first ever favourite song: I Am The One Only by Chesney Hawkes. The latter lyrics were pinned up on my bedroom cupboard door for weeks as I learnt them off by heart.

Now I rarely go in search of lyrics. However, I do have a handy iPhone application that finds the lyrics of the song that is currently playing on my iPod. This is great because when I like a new song, I can discover whether I like the lyrics as well as the melody.

But recently, something very odd has been occurring. I keep liking songs for the melody and then discover that they actually have relevant lyrics, too.

Take last night for example, when I downloaded The Only Exception by Paramore and discovered that I liked the lyrics more than the tune. To put it fluffily: they spoke to me.

Is this how it has always been for hearing peeps?

Until modern technology made lyrics readily available to me, I had no idea that lyrics were relevant at all. I used to make up my own – especially to Kylie – or just hum along to the base line of the music.

Being moderately musical when I was at school, my music teacher gave me the job one term of choosing songs for assemblies. But like I said, at that age, I had no real concept of lyrics, it was all about the music. So I happily played the strangest songs infront of the whole school and teaching staff, with some including swear words (my brother’s INXS album) and goodness knows what else.

Needless to say, this job did not last the term and I was relegated to putting the hymn numbers up on the board. And after a very unsuccessful day where they all fell down one by one during the assembly leaving everyone desperately thumbing through their hymn books looking for One More Step Along The World I Go, I was further relegated to cataloguing the music departments CD collection – something that I actually, in all my geeky splendour, enjoyed.

People who write lyrics I like are still few and far between. Regina Spektor is one of my favourites – her dry take on the world, coupled with her fabulously throaty voice is quite something to behold. While Manu Chao, on translation, gives me lyrics that befuddle my brain!

And then, not long ago I found a recording of a song that I had written as part of a week-long drama project I took part in when I was about 16. It was about a blind optician. It was terrible. It was also slightly bizarre that as a deaf person I wrote a song about a blind optician – an optician who cannot see, that’s surely as strange as a deaf songwriter isn’t it?!

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