Liam O’Dell: Why deaf music fans (like me) love lyric videos

Posted on January 25, 2017



Meeting one of my favourite musicians at the top of The Shard was one of the best moments of last year. Yet, as Jess Glynne sang her number one single Hold My Hand just metres away from me, I started to feel another emotion besides excitement: embarrassment.

No, not because my Dad dancing (inherited decades in advance) would be broadcast to the nation on the BBC, but because of the fact that I didn’t know a single lyric from the song – save for ‘darling, hold my hand’, of course.

With an expectant look in her face, I could tell that Jess wanted me to sing along. Oh, I would have done if I could. Whilst a huge love of music is something I’ve grown up with, my knowledge of song lyrics is somewhat limited thanks to my mild deafness.

Cue my mind coming up with bizarre but funny misheard song lyrics to sing. Granted, it is hilarious (see Teresa Garratty’s article for Limping Chicken about it), but for deaf music lovers, it’s an unfortunate reality.

Of course, looking up the song lyrics online offers a simple – albeit boring – solution, but by far the most entertaining way to learn the words to our favourite tracks is lyric videos.

If anything, lyric videos are a perfect tool for an artist. It can still keep fans excited about the song whilst they’re busy working on the official music video.

A recent example is Ed Sheeran, who released two lyric videos on the same day two of his singles came out. Listeners have fallen in love with both tracks, and they’ll fall in love with them all over again when the official video comes out weeks later. Watch one below:

Even if a musician doesn’t release lyric videos, then you can guarantee that someone from the fanbase will soon upload a fan-made version to YouTube.

It’s a trend which appears to be on the rise, and long may that continue. In a sense, it’s something which impacts our experience with music. In busy crowds at Glastonbury and V Festival, an electric atmosphere and the fact we’re seeing our favourite artists in front of our very eyes is incredible, obviously.

However, at the same time, seeing fellow fans singing songs word for word whilst we recite our own made-up lyrics can either be disheartening or something to be proud of.

I’d be intrigued to hear what side of the coin you are and see what misheard lyrics you’ve come up with. You can leave them in the comments below.

Liam O’Dell is mildly deaf and uses hearing aids in both ears. Alongside studying for a degree in journalism, Liam enjoys presenting his own radio show, listening to music and reading one of the many books on his ’to-be-read’ list. You can find out more about Liam over at his blog: www.thelifeofathinker.wordpress.com, or follow him on Twitter: @lifeofathinker.

The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.

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