I was thinking about this on the way home from dinner tonight.
Which do you think contributes more heavily to a song: the music or the lyrics?
Personally, I think music is the greater contributor. I relate to artists/bands/songs better when there are no lyrics; I like to imagine or create my own story or atmosphere when listening to something, or trying to discern what feeling or message the artist intended when writing the piece.
There are very few artists whose lyrics I appreciate (with the exception of hip/hop and rap, where, at least I hope, the songs and artists are listened to solely because of lyrical content). I think lyrics detract from the song more often than not, either because the artist uses 'artsy' lines over structure and meaning, or because the lyrics are so cliche and regurgitated that the song loses value.
I think writing good lyrics is a challenge, just like writing a good song. However, I've heard more songs that would be better without its lyrics than I have songs that would be better without its particular melody.
You can have a song without lyrics, but it's not a song without a melody.
So, which do you think is the greater contributor, music or lyrics? Which artists do you value because of your choice? How do you relate to music, through its words or through its sound?
Or, do you value the integration of both?