I have to agree with NYC DEW. I have mixed in some foreign languages, and it is surprisingly similiar to English. I always try to pick out important words to EKO, (in the foreign language) and the client usually gets a laugh out of it. Most of the time I get it right! It is easier to mix a song when you like the lyrics, such as "Beautiful", but if I like the track, the client, just got laid, or had chemical enhancement (kidding...retired), it can still be fun. I am more influenced by my surroundings than I am the lyrics. I love to mix, and am arrogant enuff to think I can turn any piece of crap into a good song. I even enjoy the challenge of that. You can't polish a turd, but you can always spray paint it GOLD! I once asked a second to change his shirt, because it was so bright (hockey jersey) I couldn't concentrate. I can usually find something to inspire me in the track. More on this as we progress into some of the mechanics of mixing.
Lyrics can make a point also.
BTW spoken word is a powerful thing. I.e:
try to say
"I don't think I love you anymore!" to your women/man, and really put some work to it.
Then, try to take the words back.
As I am primarily a musician and song writer. When I go into the studio with my songs, I don't really expect the engineer to "care" about my songs or lyric content. I never beg or ask for opinions, but it is a plus if the person working at the studio offers positive comments on his own initiative. (Sometimes I am suspect of their sincerity!) I would think that enjoyment of the music would only enhance the attention paid toward mixing it...Although I would expect a great job either way from a professional of getting a balanced mix.
Not Really Curve, I think that's more of the Producers Job. I think the Mix engineer has to focus on the melodic vibe more focused on the music and how instruments interact with each other, the vocal being taken as the main instrument. I live in a spanish speaking country, where many many people listen to music in English. They don't undertand a word, but you can hear them sing the tunes like if they knew what they were saying. It's NOT the lyric content that matters, it's HOW you say things that really matters. If you ever have the chance listen to music in Yidish, you won't undertand a word.. but you will undertand the suffering and you won't care. Kind of like when a Violin speaks to you.
No more a lurker ! Hi there all you co-slutz! Hi Dave
I'm kinda ambivalent on this one:
Musical sensuality does not depend on lyrics. When I mix I really try to feeeel the sound of the song, like the texture of a piece of clothing etc.
On the other hand, when I'm actually producing (I will typically be asked to "add whatever I feel like", - which is what makes it interesting to me) the lyrics can make a rather large impact on the way I go about supporting/commenting on the song, musically. Perhaps, most of all, it is a kind of communicating with the performer. Since I'll generally keep it subtle, many will not notice, but its there.
To take a somewhat cliche example, albeit one I've used a few times: A singer sings about journeying into the unknown or something. So, where I'd normally use a pad, I'll use a sample of a deep train horn and manipulate it until it sounds like a pad, yet with the "feel" and edge of the train horn. But its there, and a certain percentage of the listeners (the performer does) will know whats going on. Its all about storytelling/inspiration and ambience. But I'll keep it subtle and "mysterious", otherwise it'll just be too heavy handed/funny in the unintentional way.
Ohh, yeah, and on the negative side, I agree that really poorly written/cliche lyrics or "kill all fags"-style lyrics just turns me off and kills my inspiration. Even mixing/producing is best done with a bit of passion imho.
I sometimes think that record labels should have some poetic folks on hand, to weed out the most horrendous cliches/stupidities. (I know, its pop-music, but still...)