16 pop songs with lyrics that work as poetry
Poems and lyrics, while usually interchanged by many people, are actually very different. An article on BostonReview.net by poet and artist Matthew Zapruder best explains the difference between poems and lyrics, which basically lies in the context of how the words are presented. Per Zapruder, “words in a poem take place against the context of silence, whereas lyrics take place in the context of a lot of deliberate musical information: melody, rhythm, instrumentation, the quality of the singer’s voice, other qualities of the recording, etc.”
While a majority of poems can work when presented with back-up melody, most lyrics lose their meaning once the technical aspect of music is taken away from it (we’re looking at you, Janelle Monae). But once in a while, we encounter a few lyrics so damn good it just becomes poetic material.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we asked the POP! team for songs with lyrics that, for them, when devoid of melody, could pass as the real thing. We’re presenting them in Tumblr Photoquotes format so you could appreciate the beauty of the words against a backdrop of filtered stock photos! (Also: for better sharing on social media!)
For those who do not dig poetry in its truest form but would love to get started on creating poems, maybe this is a good start. Now the only challenge is being able to read them without remembering how they sound:
Now, we don’t claim to be experts in poetry and lyrics, and this is clearly not a definitive list, but we think we can make it larger and more extensive with a healthy discussion. Just tell us your favourite poetic lyrics by leaving a comment below!
Other POP! stories you might like: