Seemingly everyone on the internet speaks, understands or at least knows a bit of English. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I think it’s safe to say that the rise of the internet has helped a lot of people learning said language. I know it has helped me a lot.
I’m not a native English speaker myself, and besides the internet there is something else that has helped me improve my English. Music. “What the hell are these guys singing about?” was a question I’ve asked myself quite often when I was younger. So I grabbed a dictionary and started translating lyrics by bands I’ve loved. Pretty disappointing in some cases (note that I’ve grown up in the middle of the Nu Metal boom).
Improving my English, and understanding lyrics, made me lose something else though. The naivety of judging songs by their sound, rather than their lyrical content. Judging singers by their ability to sing, rather than their ability to write coherent sentences.
Obviously I’m judging singers by their singing qualities, or lack thereof, but it’s hard to take someone serious if he writes like Fred Durst, even if he sounded like Bruce Dickinson. Singing and writing belongs together, just like playing guitar and writing your own riffs. If you’re only doing half of these things yourself, I consider you less of a musician.
But back to my youth. When I was a teenager and I’ve loved a song, I naturally sang along to it. Even if I didn’t know what was actually being sung. I went with the sounds of words, rather than the actual words. This is difficult to understand for our English speaking readers, because you’re used to having music that is performed in English. English speaking music has been dominating the music world for decades. But think of it like this: if you really like a certain Rammstein song, you go to catch Rammstein live and they play that very song, you want to sing along to it. Even if you don’t understand German. So you just go with what you think is being sung and sing it. It doesn’t have to be right, it just has to sound right.
Losing that non-knowledge can be a downside, if you’re listening to badass music with dumbass lyrics. In trying to regain that naivety, I’ve started to listen to a bunch of bands with non-English lyrics, for example Asesino – who feature lyrics in Spanish. I know that Cristo Satánico (Asesino’s 2nd album) has some kind of badass storyline, and I know that ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ is about some guy fucking his girlfriend’s mother, but I don’t care.
I don’t care because I love Cristo Satánico for its music. I love it because Maldito X (Tony Campos – pictured above) has a killer voice for Deathgrind, something I’ve never expected when he was still the bassist for Static-X. I don’t give a crap what he’s singing about because it might disappoint me and make me appreciate the album less.
I’m happy with my naivety. I do appreciate good lyrics, but sometimes I just don’t want to listen to the words but rather the music as a whole. And that’s easier when you don’t speak the language.
And with that being said, click the more button for some ear candy. Enjoy your naivety.