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Lyrics vs. Beat: Songs I Think Everyone Should Be Listening To

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Have you heard of the lyric people vs. beat people theory?

Essentially the concept formulates that people prefer music/songs based on one of two things — the lyrics or the beat. I am, without a doubt, a lyric person. My favorite songs are always based on the story, ideas and raw emotion of a song.

My favorite songs are the ones that “read” like poetry. I favor music that allows me to connect with my internal thoughts and feelings. Almost always I choose songs that evoke a deeper understanding of what I already feel, creating sort of a scaffolding effect, facilitating new thoughts and connections on top of what’s already there. 

Because of this, music plays a major role in my mood. Certain music can radically change how I’m feeling. And I listen to a lot of music… I clock around 50 to 60 hours of listening time, weekly. Music is a huge part of my life and I love sharing songs that “mean something to me” with others. So, in no order, I’ve compiled a list of songs that contain some of my favorite lyrics. 

“City Rain” by John Vincent III
Genre: Alternative
Year: 2019
Favorite Lyrics: And I heard you’re living on your own// how’s it feel to pay for your own phone?// you got a job now, honey// yeah, you did, what you said you would do// and I never doubted you for a minute, babe// I just thought you were meant for more// and with all the years that we’ve wasted// it’s time for our own lives// cause it’s gonna rain in the city, so you might as well get out and play
“Roadkill” by Searows
Genre: Contemporary Folk
Year: 2022
Favorite Lyrics: What if I give up too soon?// a racehorse with nothing to lose// running just because it’s supposed to// cause they bet too much money
“Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell
Genre: Singer/Songwriter
Year: 2013
Favorite Lyrics: a heart on the run// keeps a hand on the gun// you can’t trust anyone// I was so sure// what I needed was more// tried to shoot out the sun
“I’ll Be Here in the Morning” by Townes Van Zandt
Genre: Country
Year: 1969
Favorite Lyrics: close your eyes// I’ll be here for a while// well there’s lots of things along the road I’d surely like to see// I’d like to lean into the wind and tell myself I’m free// but your softest whisper’s louder than the highways call to me
“Glue” by gigi
Genre: Alternative
Year: 2022
Favorite Lyrics: You don’t know how to let me be// and when you finally do// I’ll hate you for that too// cause I am water and you’re glue
“Wondering Why” by The Red Clay Strays
Genre: Americana
Year: 2022
Favorite Lyrics: she comes from silver spoon, golden rule, private school//never missed Sunday church// and I come from blue collar, low dollar// out here where concrete meets old red dirt// and I don’t know what happened but it sure don’t add up on paper
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” by Bob Dylan
Genre: Singer/Songwriter
Year: 1965
Favorite Lyrics: Yonder stands your orphan with his gun// crying like a fire in the sun// look out, the saints are coming through// and it’s all over now, Baby Blue// the highway is for gamblers, better use your sense// take what you have gathered from coincidence 
“Strong” by Charles Wesley Godwin
Genre: Country
Year: 2021
Favorite Lyrics: money’s been a wise buck this year// now there are always things in life that you’ve always feared// there ain’t a use to pouting around// singing woe is me until your six feet down// always following the same old tracks// time to break off cut a new path
“Motel 6” by River Whyless
Genre: Traditional Folk
Year: 2018 
Favorite Lyrics: in my mind and in my mind, I’ve spent my whole life movin’// I’ve spent my whole life on a road// from a dream, I’m wakin’ up// and for the first time I’m terrified of wakin’ up alone
Fun fact: my best friend showed me this song :)
“Western White Pines” by Colby Acuff
Genre: Country
Year: 2023
Favorite Lyrics: It’s everything that I can’t take// just fades away in this beautiful landscape// it’s painted in my mind, I hear// singing in the leaves, gentle whisper in the trees// and I’m right there when I close my eyes
“Morning Time” by Zach Byan
Genre: Country
Year: 2022
Favorite Lyrics: You in the morning time// reminds me of a simpler time// cutting grass for cash and gasoline// to prove I’m with your touch and time// the way a woman’s hands are warfare// to a wise man’s worn out ways// the way I figured I was worthless// when I lost a love that should’ve stayed
P.S. This is my favorite song; quite literally the entirety of the lyrics are my favorite.

Choosing just a few songs to share with you all was grueling, but I hope you found at least one song that resonates. If you’re an Apple Music user and want to look through some of the playlists I’ve made you can find me @katherinerhenderson. 

Katherine is a dual major in Health Sciences and Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, with hopes to pursue medical school in the future. In the meantime, she enjoys the unparalleled opportunity that is sharing perspective. When not studying or writing, you can find her outdoors, listening to music, traveling, or rereading the Twilight Saga.