The Importance of Lyrics in EDM Songs

Black headphones hanging on a black and gray microphone

When we listen to EDM songs, we might hear some lyrics, and they can play a huge role in these songs, but not always. Also, not all of those songs have lyrics. This post gives information about the importance of lyrics in EDM songs.

Are lyrics important in EDM songs? There are EDM songs where lyrics are an important part of the song, but there are there also EDM songs where this is not the case. There are also EDM songs that don’t have any lyrics and do fine without them. Most of the time, EDM is valued primarily for its drums and bass.

After this introduction, this post goes more in-depth about the importance of lyrics in EDM songs. Also, this post explains about some decisions of adding lyrics to songs. Plus, it explains the role of songs with or without lyrics in DJ mix sets.

The Decision to Add Lyrics to a Song

It all depends on the song that the producer is making, wants to make, or is making.

Sometimes a producer knows that he/she wants to make a song with lyrics before he/she starts producing. At other times, a producer might determine while making the song that it needs some lyrics.

The process of developing/getting lyrics for a song is dependent upon the process preferred by the song’s producer. On this site, there is a post, “How Do EDM Producers Get Vocals for Their Tracks?”, which explains how producers get vocals. For the people who don’t know what vocals are, a lyric is a vocal type.

The moment of creating lyrics can differ a lot. Sometimes, a producer starts with lyrics as the first part of a song and creates a song around these lyrics. It is also possible that a producer first wants one or more other song elements that will determine how the lyrics will form.

The Possible Communication of Lyrics

Most of the time, music with lyrics tells more about the song than songs without lyrics. For example, lyrics can tell the listener what the topic of the song is or can tell the listener a specific message. Sometimes we might want clear communication in a song, but sometimes we might want more of a mystery.

There are also cases in which lyrics can make a song more unclear. For example, lyrics can be in a strange/fake language.

A man that looks like he is thinking with his hand on an audio mixer

Music without lyrics allows the listener to:

  • Uniquely interpret the song.
  • Just feel the music without thinking about it.
  • Insert with their imagination lyrics in a song.

Music is always a form of universal communication, and we don’t need lyrics for such communication. Some lectures of Leonard Bernstein explains for a great part this universal communication.

Other Reasons to Make a Song Without Lyrics

There are some reasons for producers not to include lyrics in a song without to take into account the quality of the song result. Many people think that such producers are bad producers since the highest possible quality of the song result should always be the goal. However, sometimes a producer doesn’t have the available time/resources to go for the highest possible quality lyrics since life happens.

Producers are not always at a place where they have all their production options available, for example, when they are traveling. When those producers have a deadline for their songs, then they sometimes can’t wait with adding lyrics to them, and therefore they don’t add them.

Sometimes producers are in a situation where they can add a type of lyric to a song that available time/resources allow. Such added lyrics are maybe not of the highest possible quality, which can (does not have to) make them less important.

Adding lyrics to a song is a skill, and not all producers are good enough in this skill, which can be a confidence problem. Therefore they make songs without lyrics.

For some producers, the effort/time/money it can cost to add a lyric to a song makes them choose not to add it. Also, some producers choose in the same situation for lyrics that costs less, which can make them less important.

Song Examples

In this section, there are some EDM song examples with lyrics, without lyrics, and some songs with lyrics that are maybe not important. The purpose of these examples is to provide some insight into the importance of lyrics in EDM by listening.

If lyrics are important or not important is always opinion-based. Therefore, the song examples below with important and not important lyrics are based on my opinion, but I believe that those are good examples.

I tried to take some pretty popular song examples from multiple genres, in a pretty wide range of year of release dates, and from different artists. Also, these examples are great EDM songs, at least in my opinion.

Some EDM song examples without lyrics:

  • Robert Miles – Children (1995)
  • Röyksopp – Eple (2001)
  • Skream – Midnight Request Line (2005)
  • M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade – Body Language (2005)
  • Rebūke – Rattle (2019)

Some EDM song examples with lyrics that are an important part of the song:

  • Human Resource – Dominator (1991)
  • Delerium – Silence (ft. Sarah McLachlan) (Airscape Remix) (2000)
  • Eric Prydz – Call on Me (2004)
  • Bassnectar – Butterfly (ft. Mimi Page) (2012)
  • Adam Beyer, Layton Giordani & Green Velvet – Space Date (Pleasurekraft Remix) (2019)
A male holding the cartridge of a vinyl player above a playable record

Example Songs with Lyrics That Are Not Important

There are EDM songs by which the lyrics are not important, and the producer can leave them away, or he/she can replace them with something else. I know two popular examples of such songs, and both have a version with and without lyrics.

The first example is the song “Ghosts N Stuff” by Deadmau5, which has at least two versions:

  • Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff
  • Deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire – Ghosts N Stuff

The songs are almost the same, but the Rob Swire version has lyrics almost the whole song long. However, the other version has only some lyrics (it is more like talking) at the end of the song.

The second example is the song Spaceman by Hardwell, which also has at least two versions:

  • Hardwell – Spaceman (2012)
  • Hardwell ft. Mitch Crown – Call Me A Spaceman (2012)

The songs are almost the same, but the Mitch Crown version has lyrics almost the whole song long, and the other version doesn’t have lyrics.

Example Songs with Lyrics That Are Opinion-based Not Important

In theory, producers can always replace lyrics with something else or remove them. However, when a producer replaces/removes the lyrics of a song, then that song can become better, worse, or just as good, which is always opinion-based. If a song becomes better or stays as good, then those lyrics are maybe not important, else they are maybe important, which is also opinion-based.

There are some songs where the lyrics are extremely minimal, and they can be hard to hear. Therefore there is some doubt among people if those lyrics/words are lyrics at all. Still, many people can recognize those songs by its lyrics/words.

Some song examples with extremely minimal lyrics are:

  • Paul van Dyk – For An Angel (1994)
  • Henry Fong & J-Trick – Scream (2014)
  • Sam Paganini – Rave (2014)

The lyrics part of the Paul van Dyk song and the Sam Paganini song might be hard to hear for some people.

There are also some songs where the lyrics are hard to understand/not possible to understand. Also, with such lyrics, many people doubt if those lyrics are lyrics at all, and people can still recognize songs by it. Some song examples with such lyrics are:

  • Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites (2010)
  • Martin Garrix – Forbidden Voices (2015)

There is no official answer/logic to determine if the lyrics/words in the mentioned tracks are important. You can only answer that question yourself since the answer will always be opinion-based.

Songs with Lyrics in DJ Mix Sets

First of all, for the people who don’t know what a DJ mix set is. A DJ mix set is a sequence of songs that are typically mixed by a DJ so that the result appears as one continuous track.

When we listen to a DJ mix set, then it is pretty common to experience a mixture of songs that have lyrics and others that don’t. Such a mixture makes the set more interesting, then only a set with lyrics, or only a set without lyrics. Therefore, we can see in this case, that songs with lyrics and without lyrics are probably equally important.

On this website, there is a post “What Is a DJ Mix (DJ Mix Set)?” which can be useful if you want to learn more about DJ mix sets.

Closing Words

Hopefully, you know now more about the importance of lyrics in EDM songs. Furthermore, maybe you now also understand some of the decisions of adding lyrics to songs, and the role of songs with or without lyrics in DJ mix sets.

If you like this post, then you may want to look at some posts in the lifestyle part, since this post is also part of it.

When you know someone who likes to know more about the importance of lyrics in EDM songs, then feel free to share this post. Additionally, do you know something not mentioned about the importance of lyrics in EDM songs?

By Markus Kreukniet

Markus Kreukniet is an electronic dance music (EDM) producer and founder of Passion for EDM. He wants to share his EDM knowledge with the rest of the world. Read more about Markus Kreukniet.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *