A song is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a short musical composition of words and music.” Words and music are the two parts of a song everyone hears, but depending on who they are, they choose different parts to listen to. This has been a prominent debate for a long time.

There are the people who listen to the lyrics, and they memorize every word. These people usually choose the songs they like by the meaning the artist is trying to convey to them. Then there are the people who listen to the music, and they choose the songs they like by the beat and arrangement of the noises. But why?

There’s a famous line used on the internet saying that those who are happy listen to the music, while those who are sad listen to the lyrics, but scientists and researchers have noticed different patterns. They have observed that people with aphasia, a disorder that affects language processing and communication, can still hum the tune of a song, despite being unable to speak, which lead them to think that music could be processed within two different regions of the brain.

Daniela Sammer of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science in Leipzig, Germany conducted research using functional MRI brain scans of people listening to music to see what parts of the brain are activated while listening to songs. She and her team had volunteers listen to songs they created, and found that the part of the brain that responded to songs was the superior temporal sulcus (SRS). Once the song was processed through the SRS, the brain only processed the lyrics.

Based on this, people who only hear and like the music don't usually process songs as much as someone who listens to the lyrics. So the debate between lyrics verses music can be over now, only if a group of people are willing to admit that their brains are just slightly lazier than the rest of humanity for ignoring the lyrics.

By Katie Baker

 Graphic by Laney Finn

Graphic by Laney Finn