You’ve probably asked yourself: “Why can’t I understand song lyrics?” Perhaps you’ve struggled to comprehend a particular line in a song, but don’t know what to do. Many songs don’t have very complicated meanings, and many songs are simply made to make people dance. If you want to understand song lyrics, you should look up the song’s history and references. Instead of focusing on its overall meaning, just try to enjoy the song and dance along.
Scientists have shown that the brain processes speech and song lyrics separately. To understand the lyrics, researchers had people listen to altered song fragments that obscured speech. The scientists played the distorted song fragments to 49 people while their brain activity was monitored with an fMRI scanner. They found that people decoded speech content in the same way that songbirds do, while the lyrics were processed by a separate group of brain cells.