If a song catches the ear in the right way, it can resonate with a listener for all-time—just ask California’s own Tyler, The Creator.
During an interview on the Broken Record Podcast, host and recording industry legend Rick Rubin asked Tyler how he listens to songs. Tyler uses the Amy Winehouse song “Wake Up Alone” to explain his approach to listening to music:
“My cousin bought that album when it came out, and it wasn't up until two years ago in 2017 when I realized what the lyrics were saying. I loved the beat and the chords and the melody, but I never paid attention to the lyrics. I think everyone pays attention to different parts. It's songs I have that are horrible lyrically, like really bad, but I just like the notes and the background so much that I listen to it and I love it. Then I listen to the flow and the melody and the runs second. That's what really makes me know. Then, I listen to the lyrics. Sound is way more important to me, personally."
Whether you agree or disagree with Tyler, it’s undeniable aesthetics play an essential role in how music is processed. If it weren't for the beats, chords, and rhythms that make up, say, Tyler’s most recent album IGOR, then we'd be listening to nothing more than isolated vocals for 40 minutes. The music for any given song is half, if not more, of the equation.
Tyler’s approach to song-crafting helped his single "EARFQUAKE" achieve Platinum RIAA certification. Ultimately, knowing the difference between a good bar and a good melody is the secret ingredient to creating earworms.