4 thoughts on “Why Are There So Many Nonsense Lyrics In Songs?”

  1. Can anyone share when a nonsense phrase is used in a sad or angry song? Without putting too much thought into this, it seems that most of them are used in happy or powerful songs. (I could be very wrong.)

    While I think the phrases are often used as filler, they make for great use in concerts when the audience is to jump in. Example: “Oh, oh, oh, oh,” Pride (In the Name of Love).

  2. Sting has been quoted on this. There’s a quality of primal joy in simply singing certain sounds. He says the “ee-oh” vowel combination is particularly enjoyable, and that’s why he tends to use it.

    I agree with Michael that vocables (the technical term) tend to show up in more upbeat music, but sometimes that can be a sad-happy context as well. The example that comes to mind for me is the “lie-la-lie” chorus of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” It provides a feeling of release in an otherwise somewhat dark song.

  3. Sad song example: Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me In Your Heart.” Again, in context, it gives a feeling of release. (If you don’t know the song, it’s the final track on his final album, recorded while he was dying of cancer.)

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