By Cari Tretina

    A strong bass and pleasant melody can make any song enjoyable. However, passionate lyrics combined with incredible sound can make a song emotionally moving. Lyrics are what make the song come alive. Words give a song meaning; they connect the listener and the artist.  One song can set a person’s mood for the whole day, or one phrase sang can become the explanation for a person’s existence.

Instead of judging artists based off both their musical and lyrical components, I am only advising on the words. Within each popular genre, I have picked artists whose lyrics are purposeful and tell a story. These artists use relatable and visual lyrics in the majority of their songs to move listeners, and listen you should.

Hip-hop: Atmosphere

Taking shots, hitting the blunt and banging some “shawtys” are not the main topics in this old- school artist’s songs. Every song he preaches about the troubles of his past, his struggle to the top, motivation and perspectives on current issues. “Yesterday” is a song about the loss of his father and how he has grown from it. “Sometimes you gotta give in to win,” so give into Atmostphere’s lyrical genius.

Country: Taylor Swift

If you discredit this judgment you are either a male or a non-conformist. I resisted the Swift movement for a year, but once I heard “You Belong With Me” in its entirety, I was hooked. Her lyrics speak of love, heartbreak and everything in between. Any relationship situation or problem can be related to at least one of her songs. Not only do her lyrics connect to a person, but Swift’s lyrics evoke such strong emotions. “All you’re ever gonna be is mean” until you experience a Taylor Swift song for yourself.

Folk: Bob Dylan

This care-free, peace-loving artist uses riddles and metaphors to convey underlying, deeper themes while using humor. He expresses his views on current or controversial issues, relationships and emotions. The best part is he uses intelligent jokes to make his listeners think. “The times are a-changin’,” so give Bob a listen.

Rock: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

To truly have an appreciation of actual rock, a look back in time needs to occur. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are an excellent example of meaningful lyrics. Songs dealing with the drug war, independence and the American culture all have been written by this rock group. Of course, they include singles about love, but those songs are almost always tied into the feelings and perspective of the world at that time. By the way, “Free Fallin” is an original from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. John Mayer just likes to sing it. In the words of Tom Petty, “And someday soon you’ll come around.”

Top 40: Adele

I realize this is not an actual genre, but no other artist within today’s top 40s compares to this British sensation. The heartache and pain Adele felt during her latest breakup is being felt by the entire world. Her songs are personal. Most artists tend to shy away from showing their vulnerable side, but that is why Adele stands out from the rest. She isn’t afraid to show her soft side because that is what listeners want- true emotions. “Rumor has it” you have a secret desire to listen to Adele, so do it!