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Indecipherable Lyrics

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It's unintelligible
I just can't get it through my skull
It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss (???)
With all these marbles in my mouth

Some songs feature lyrics that appear to be complete gibberish. The listener might sometimes be able to hazard a guess at what's being sung, but such a guess is overwhelmingly unlikely to be anywhere near the mark.

Distinguished from a Mondegreen by the fact that a Mondegreen tends to be sung relatively clearly, but with the listener perceiving word breaks in the wrong place. And distinguished from Word Salad Lyrics because that one features actual words, only not in a way it makes much sense. Often caused by the Perishing Alt-Rock Voice.

The difference between this and Lyrical Shoehorn is that this would be where nonsense isn't intended... it just sort of happened. Maybe the recording sucks. Maybe the singer is singing too fast to be heard clearly. Maybe he was drunk off his ass and thus couldn't pronounce his own name clearly, much less sing coherently. But there is a difference.

The Trope Namer is a round from British Panel Game Never Mind the Buzzcocks, in which contestants are asked to make sense of such lyrics—typically they first come up with a comedic nonsensical version and sing it along, and only then attempt to come up with the actual lyrics.

Compare The Unintelligible and Scatting. If the lyrics are unintelligible except for one line or two, then that's Something Something Leonard Bernstein.


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    Generic examples 
  • No More Heroes: Bad Girl's theme. "I love you something something yes no something yadda something like this, so let's go."
  • "Twister," the theme of The World Ends with You, is almost incomprehensible thanks to the heavy Auto-Tune on the vocals. It's barely any better in the various remixes of the song. You might be able to hear the words, but they're so fast-paced and random that you'll never be able to comprehend what they mean.
  • Japanese bands who use Gratuitous English in their lyrics have a tendency to heavily slur the words into an indecipherable mess.
    • This is usually a consequence of the differences between the two languages. In Japanese, the only consonant that can be followed by another consonant is N, so a lot of extra vowel sounds get added to English words when written in Japanese or pronounced by a Japanese person not fluent in English.
    • There are also certain consonants (like TH and V) that don't exist natively in Japanese, as well as irregular patterns of syllables (consider, e.g., the sequence TA, CHI, TSU, TE, TO, all of which have the same consonant phoneme), forcing many approximations in writing. Singers who know English well enough can bypass these problems if the lyrics weren't written to Japanese phonology.
  • Most Black Metal is notorious for this. Emperor's early albums are one of the worst. Even with the lyrics, you cannot make out more than four words in a whole song.
    • Gorgoroth is by far the worst offender because they prefer their lyrics to remain unintelligible; they go so far as to instantly sue anyone who dares to post their lyrics online.
    • It's perhaps fair to say that most extreme metal bands — and particularly those who have vocalists who primarily scream, bellow, or growl their vocals — fall into the category of indecipherable. A good example would be the Djent band Meshuggah, whose lyrics usually deal with complex metaphysical and spiritual themes yet are rendered almost completely unintelligible by frontman Jens Kidman's brutal, Dalek-like shout.
    • Applies to Death Metal as a whole, too, especially with brutal and slam death metal.
    • Some grindcore bands decide that since no one will be able to understand their lyrics, they wouldn't bother writing them and just growl randomly into the mic.
  • Symphonic Metal listeners often find it difficult to understand the lyrics without a sheet, due to the operatic style favored by many of the genre's vocalists. It doesn't help that the lyrics tend to either feature fantastical themes with dense lore-related name-dropping, be written by lyricists with a dubious grasp of English, or feature fantastical themes written by lyricists with a dubious grasp of English. All of that + operatic style + the very thick accents of many vocalists in the genre = good luck understanding the lyrics. Unsurprisingly, mondegreens are common, with some being notable enough to become in-jokes among fans.
  • The opening theme to the TV series The Adventures of Pete & Pete is notorious for its "unknown line", the third line of the title song "Hey, Sandy", which for years remained a mystery to fans. Recent sources have begun speculating anew as to the exact wording of the line; however, no confirmation has been forthcoming from the artist as of yet.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: "In Regards To Love: Agape" is Yurio's short program's song. It has an angelic voice chanting during the song, but it's difficult to understand what is being sung or even in what language it is. The official release of the soundtrack reveals that the lyrics are in Latin.
  • Dancehall reggae is notorious for this.
    SHABBA himmitihommmtishimmitihommitisee SHABBA!
    • Lampshaded in the soca song "Ragga Ragga", where the singer likes dancehall and wants to try singing it, but the lyrics all sound like "Raggaraggaraggaraggaraggaragga..." to him.
    • This may also be due to differences in dialect. Most dancehall music is made by West Indians, who usually speak their own creole. As a result, the song may be completely understandable to West Indians but not anyone else.
    • The dancehall songs that don't fall into this trope often fall into Something Something Leonard Bernstein, with a memorable chorus but indecipherable verses.
    • Also parodied in the reggaeton song Chacarron Macarron, the title being the only recognizable words.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting can often fall to this, especially if this is present in trailer music.
  • The opening music to the first Rune Factory game is nearly indecipherable. Even if you try to figure out what the lyrics are, they still don't make any sense.
  • Persona 4 and Persona 3 music is in English, but you are forgiven for not knowing this. Even if you look up the lyrics, it's still hard to tell what they're saying. Same with the major boss theme and the "fierce battle" theme in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.
  • The lyrics to the theme from The State seem to consist of "na na na na" and unintelligible screaming. However, once you learn that the song is officially named "Boys And Girls Action", it becomes apparent that what's actually being screamed is "Boys and girls! Action! Action!". It's also more intelligible in an alternate version heard on some of the menus on the DVD of the series since the lyrics are being yelled by children instead.
  • Most of Ferre Grignard's lyrics are so hard to make out even his records sleeves have given up. "On My Dying Bed" is a great example of this, as is his international hit "Ring, Ring". It's probably the fact he's Belgian singing English and stoned at the same time that causes this. At least he hasn't got Bob Dylan's horrible voice.
  • Most Terror-EBM/Aggrotech/Hellektro songs, due to using harsh guttural vocals.
  • Early Hardcore Techno used to feature unintelligible lyrics — mostly frantic, excited, sped-up verses that were sung way too fast and slurred to be understood. The few times the lyrics were actually parsable, their meaning sometimes turned out to be gibberish too: for example, "Blood of an English Muffin".
  • "Lookalike" from Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. It doesn't help that most of the lyrics make little sense.
  • Richard Cheese typically takes the gibberish out of the songs he covers but his version of "Lollipop" by Lil' Wayne is this as a Take That!, with only three words being comprehensible.
  • "Sure Thing" from St Germain's Tourist makes use of a John Lee Hooker sample, but it's quite difficult to make out what the man is mumbling half of the time. We can make out: "It's so hard, morning, droning, to you-ou, and that ain't right".
  • Good luck trying to understand the lyrics of the song Calabria by Enur without looking at the lyrics.
  • Shenmue has the Tomato Mart jinglenote , which especially applies for those not familiar with Japanese.
  • Vienna Teng: "In The 99". The verses are sung so fast that they're hard to understand without lyric sheets, and the backing doesn't help either.
  • Guren no Yumiya, the theme song to Attack on Titan. The first lyric of the Memetic Mutation theme song to most is either "Yipee, a Datsun, yabeedee YEAH!" or complete gibberish. (It's only made worse by the fact that it's actually Gratuitous German, rather than the Gratuitous English a casual listener might expect.)
  • "What's Up People", the second theme to Death Note.
  • The robotic vocals in Dastrix's "Dude in the Moon" are mostly unintelligible, with the Title Drop and Band Namedrop being the only decipherable lyrics.
  • "Charlotte's Thong" by Connan Mockasin - official lyrics were never released, and the artist himself supposedly said the vocals were in-studio improv, so portions of the lyrics might just be gently murmured scatting anyway. Fan transcriptions tend to throw up their hands when it comes to certain passages, leading to "lyrics" that read like:
    It's a man and his manners
    A work and a force that you blame it on
    There's a thong [?]
    Wrong, there's a thong [?]
  • Final Fantasy XIV's theme for Titan, "Under the Weight", supposedly starts out with "Bow down overdweller!/Bow down overdweller!/Bow down overdweller!/Titan!", but good luck hearing anything intelligible besides "TIIITAAAAN!!"—a standard the rest of the song is more than happy to live up to. The lyrics are so infamously inscrutable that the devteam had to put out a partial lyrics sheet to set the record straight.
  • Parodied on the panel show Shooting Stars with the "Club Singer" round. Vic Reeves would be asked to perform a song in the style of a club singer, which in reality was just Reeves singing in complete gibberish. After a guess was made, Reeves would reveal how the song "should" have sounded, which would just be the same nonsense song but using different gibberish.

    Artists / Bands 
  • The obvious example is "Louie Louie", as performed by the Kingsmen in 1963. The song was a radio hit with a totally indecipherable slur of syllables, and some of the song's popularity came from public discussion of what the song was about. As rumors flew wildly, the song even caught the attention of the FBI, which investigated the song, believing that a song slurred so seriously must contain obscenity or pro-drug propaganda. The FBI agents were never able to decipher the song's mushy audio, and charges were dropped. The singer admitted he was so drunk that he couldn't remember exactly what he did sing at the time. (Other sources say that he had vocal strain that day, and was a little far from the mic due to its being so high.) Famously, Bloom County spoofed this during the 1988 election with an ad by the Meadowcrats (the political party formed by the main characters) which tried to use the candidates' respective interpretations of the lyrics to show their character.
  • Can during the Damo Suzuki years. Very much intentional - Damo sang whichever syllables he felt like singing at any given moment, regardless of whether they formed words or were clearly articulated. ("Did anybody see the snowman? Stannah wit deleeeeaux.")
  • Snow's "Informer", particularly the chorus. At one point, MTV actually ran the video for it with subtitles. According to British series Never Mind the Buzzcocks (see above), it's about him opening a bed shop using cheap "leaky boom-boom down" to stuff the pillows with.
  • So much of this in Fugazi whenever Guy Picciotto is on vocals. Ian MacKaye just blares the words in the listener's ears, but it seems that Guy Picciotto has a strange way of pronouncing things when singing, and it often makes the lyrics a jumbled mess, when in fact, they are very poetic in nature. It feels very much like he puts his Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable.
  • Much of Nightwish's music before "Dark Passion Play". Special mention should go to the last part of the song "Fantasmic". Then again, even with the lyrics next to you, you don't have a clue what it all actually means. It's one long nerdgasm about the Disney Animated Canon. No, really.
  • Anything by the Cocteau Twins. Except on Four-Calendar Cafe, on which Elizabeth Fraser was uncharacteristically comprehensible for long stretches. Fandom was split on the merits of this.
  • "Forgot You Now" by Mary and the Black Lamb has a few parts sung in a static sounding way with a crazy guitar solo playing on top of it. Some of it can be understood but the last line is very hard to pick out.
  • Anal Cunt's lead, the late Seth Putnam, sung in a screechy voice. You can make out the words, but only under the right conditions or if you have a really good ear.
  • "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, as with most of their songs. "Tourette's" doesn't even have lyrics, just gibberish screaming. Parodied in "Smells Like Nirvana" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. See the quote. Reportedly, when Al asked Kurt Cobain for permission to do the parody, Cobain asked "It's not going to be about food, is it?" and Al responded "No, it'll be about how no one can understand your lyrics." That was what really sold Kurt on it. A good example is the ongoing confusion as to what exactly the chorus of the outtake "Token Eastern Song" is - the main contenders are "hold it in your gut" and "born in a junkyard" (it was sometimes bootlegged under the latter title). Even on the clearer recording used for the With The Lights Out box set, that section remains pretty unintelligible.
  • The Vines has Craig Nicholls, who in the band's heyday was infamously prone to Freak Outs on stage that inevitably lead to mush-mouth vocals. On record, he's a little more Something Something Leonard Bernstein.
  • As Family Guy pointed out, several Sting songs are incomprehensible except for a few words.
  • There is the scene in the movie Jumpin' Jack Flash when Whoopi Goldberg's character, Terry, is trying to decipher the lyrics of the title track by listening to the song over and over again.
  • Many The Rolling Stones' songs. Mick Jagger often intentionally slurred certain lyrics so nobody would be able to tell how dirty they were.
  • Interpol are notorious for this. The fact that the band have never issued official lyrics either on their website or their album sleeves only makes it worse.
  • Michael Stipe of R.E.M. had a reputation for this as well (particularly on the band's earlier albums), as his somewhat quieter vocals were wedded to often fragmentary and elliptical lyrics. And then the loud, fast, overlapped vocals of "Star 69" on the Monster album was an entirely new way of being unintelligible. (though that came after "It's the End of the World as We Know It", where the random words sung very fast inspired a related trope) Lampshaded with one press advertising campaign for Automatic for the People, which had a series of speculations as to what the single-line chorus of "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite" actually was.
  • Many System of a Down songs. The opening riff of "F the System" is a rapid-fire string of syllables that may or may not mean something. The most well-known example is probably Chop Suey ("WAKE UP! grababrushandputalittle MAKEUP hidethescarstofadeawaythe SHAKEUP").
  • The choir in "Blue" from Cowboy Bebop. Yoko Kanno is well know for using utter nonsense phrases and even making things up entirely, more interested in Rule of Cool sound than actual comprehensible words most of the time.
  • The song "Cyberbird" for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. If you open up the booklet for the OST, you'll find the lyrics in both Japanese and English. Whatever language the song is being sung in, it definitely isn't either of those.
  • "Bennie and the Jets", particularly the part Elton John goes falsetto. Parodied in a The Beastie Boys cover, where Mike D intentionally sings the song in Elton-ish gibberish. Also parodied in the film 27 Dresses where the drunk protagonist sings the chorus wrongly, in front of an audience.
  • "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly. Its intended title was "In the Garden of Eden."
    Reverend Lovejoy: Wait a minute... this sounds like rock and/or roll.
  • Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" from Antichrist Superstar. The verses at least, given that in the chorus the lyrics are yelled and easier to understand.
  • Almost all of Mudvayne's songs are hard to understand. "Dig" is the worst offender here.
  • "Song 2" by Blur. Some of the blame for this can be pinned on creative use of Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable ("well I feel hea-VY me-TALL"), but not all of it.
  • Several 2D-heavy Gorillaz songs - "El Manana" for instance. Even the lyric videos for their Song Machine-era music poke a bit of fun at this tendency, by occasionally adding in lyrics that are blatantly incorrect, but there's just enough room to wonder if they just might actually be accurate.
  • Everything by Joe Cocker, especially "Feelin' Alright". Lampshaded hilariously in this video, "captioned for the clear-headed".
  • Almost any Hanson song, at least the ones with Taylor on lead vocals; "Mmm Bop" is only the most famous example. One of the infamous leaked demos features Taylor singing gibberish in place of the unfinished lyrics; it sounds nearly the same as any other Hanson song.
  • Kate Bush's "Leave It Open", in which the vocals are distorted to the point of incomprehensibility because Kate played the original recording backwards, did her best to imitate the sounds she heard, and then played the resulting recording backwards for the final song.
  • Some of the songs on Pearl Jam's album Ten. The Ten outtake "Yellow Ledbetter" too, making for an amusing Misheard Lyrics video.
  • There's various overlapping chants towards the end of "I Am the Walrus" by The Beatles from Magical Mystery Tour. A popular interpretation of one of the more audible ones is "everybody smoke pot!", which is close enough since it's actually "Everybody's got one, got one, got one" (the other one is "Oompah oompah stick it up your jumper").
  • "Güero Canelo" by Calexico.
  • "Carousel of Progress" by Joy Electric.
  • El Mudo's Chacarron Macarron.
  • "murmur twins" from beatmania IIDX. There's also "Little Little Princess". It's not clear, other than a few words here and there, that it was even in English.
  • The closing music to WKRP in Cincinnati.
  • "Kiss Kicker '99" by The Fontanelles, as performed by the band itself in Hobgoblins.
  • The entire Coraline soundtrack is made of these. Bruno Coulais may be a frickin' wizard, but hey, True Art Is Incomprehensible.
  • Muse:
    • "Micro Cuts". This song is sung so insanely high (even by Matt Bellamy's standards!), that it's near impossible to tell what he's saying the first time through.
    • Also, the outro to "Plug In Baby" is so shrill and poorly pronounced that Matt doesn't even bother to sing it when playing this song live, making strange screeching noises or even just ignoring it at all (and maybe throwing himself on Dom's drums or whatever).
    • Also "Exogenesis: Symphony Part I (Overture)".
    • Execution Commentary from the Plug in Baby EP. Just... listen to it. If you check any official page for lyrics, chances are it'll read (Indecipherable screaming).
  • "One Day" by Havalina Rail Co. is so bad that even the band doesn't know the lyrics—the album liner notes read: "We only know the chorus... Special Havalina prize if you can figure out the rest of the lyrics and hand deliver them to Mark Cole." Reportedly, the prize was never claimed.
  • For a more obscure example, check out "Zombie" by Methusalem. Good luck trying to decipher the other lyrics besides the song title.
  • Subverted by Sigur Rós, since some of their lyrics are in a made-up language called "Vonlenska" (an Icelandic word, rough translation is "Hopelandic") , although they also sing some songs in Icelandic.
  • Karl Jenkins' Adiemus projects use the human voice more as an instrument — none of the lyrics mean anything in any real language.
  • Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance (and solo) fame also sings in a made-up language that has no "real" meaning.
  • Enya also announced an album with a similar concept. Though it's worth noting that Enya's lyrics are already pretty indecipherable when she sings in English.
  • Lamb of God falls victim to this due to the style of their singer Randy Blythe. If you sit down with the lyrics and read them as you listen to the song, you can get 99% of it (and remember it), with the notable exception of their first record Burn The Priest, where it is all but impossible to understand a single thing that comes out of Randy's mouth. There are also some songs from "New American Gospel"; a radio station even had a competition where the fans had to try and decipher the lyrics to the song "Black Label"
  • If you can understand the lyrics to this song (starting at 1:10) from the Einhänder OST, you have a better ear than many. Not that some haven't tried; one finally worked it out.
  • Fair To Midland is sometimes impossible to understand. A few good examples would be this and this. Compounded by their habit of writing Word Salad Lyrics.
  • tool occasionally falls under this, though a good ear eventually picks the words out.
  • The cover version of "Hot Limit" by John Desire, which can be found in DanceDanceRevolution 5th Mix. It was a Japanese song by T.M.Revolution, translated into English and sung by an Italian Eurobeat group trying to sound like they're American.
  • "1979" from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins has a few intelligible sentences where it counts, but most of the song is a dreamy slur.
  • The first Meat Puppets album, from when they were more of a noisy hardcore band, was consistently unintelligible even for Hardcore Punk: Curt Kirkwood seemed to be imitating the frequently slurred vocals of The Germs' Darby Crash, only taking it even further; you frequently couldn't tell there were any consonants in the songs, let alone words. Interestingly, if you find the official lyrics for the album, it was full of very silly and tongue-in-cheek songs about mundane topics like cats ("Litter Box"), playing concerts in front of a rowdy audience ("Saturday Morning"), and spending all of one's money on marijuana ("Blue Green God"), as opposed to the Word Salad Lyrics they started using once you could understand them.
  • Part of the chorus of Smile Empty Soul's "Bottom of a Bottle". The specific part is "I do it for the drugs. I do it just to feel like ahh ahh ahhhhahhh (it's supposedly "I do it just to feel a-liii-ive", but it's hard to tell)." Note to any bands here: when singing a song about drugs it ISN'T required to be under the influence of those drugs.
  • Fall Out Boy:
    • Vocalist Patrick Stump is well known for his...lack of enunciation. The first line of the chorus of "Sugar, We're Going Down" has been translated to "We're going down tuuu in a luleelurah"note , "Dance Dance" has become "Ted's Pants", and "This Ain't a Scene (It's a Arms Race)" apparently has the line "I'm a little man, and I'm also evil and also into cats"note .
    • The last line of "Sugar We're Going Down"'s chorus sounds like it's not even in any language humans speak; for all anyone can tell by listening to it, it's "A lewded gah complex caught in the pudding." Yes, it does sound like he is singing about pudding.note 
  • My Bloody Valentine on their second album, Loveless. Their vocals were sunken into the rest of the music and not only is it hard to hear the words, it's damn near impossible to hear the vocals themselves in some places.
  • Most vocals in spacesynth are this, if the song has vocals at all. Laserdance's "Digital Dream" is one of the genre's few songs to have at least partially comprehensible lyrics.
  • An excerpt from a recent Bill Simmons article (a running diary of Wrestlemania XXVI) demonstrates this well:
    0:01: For our first match, tag-team championship belts are on the line: R-Truth (a rapper/wrestler) and John Morrison (an entertaining Jim Morrison ripoff) challenging the champs, The Big Show and The Miz (carrying two belts apiece, for some reason). R-Truth came out prancing and singing his hit song, "What's Up?" The lyrics go like this: "Shshshn cnbcnsbdb fhdehsh fhdhs dhdhan dbdjdndjd dbdbdbdbdb shshsnhs ffrhdhhjs xbcxbbffgfhhj WHAT'S UP? WHAT'S UP? WHAT'S UP? WHAT'S UP?" I don't think he wrote that one with Burt Bacharach and Carly Simon.
  • "Ball of Ballos", from the Cave Story Remix Project. The remixer, Tackle, explained that the track is a medley of the Cave Story tune "Running Hell", and Opeth's "Closure". After recording it, he wasn't happy with how his vocals turned out, so he manipulated them electronically and mixed them real low in the final version, so they wouldn't sound as bad.
  • Very common with Radiohead, due to both how Thom Yorke sings and a few songs where they deliberately make it hard to discern ("Kid A" is sang into a vocoder, half of "Like Spinning Plates" is played backwards, and "Daydreaming", has distorted, backmasked voices in the ending).
  • Any song by Queens of the Stone Age that former bassist Nick Oliveri "sang".
  • Emptiness and from The World Ends with You. Really, the only thing you can understand in the entire song are the words "emptiness and". And even then, you can't tell if she's saying that or "happiness and".
  • Mark E. Smith of The Fall has made a career out of notoriously indecipherable wordplay (accompanied by equally inscrutable music).
  • Sean Paul's thick Jamaican accent is tough enough to understand when he's talking; it's almost impossible to work out what he's singing in "Temperature" aside from 'love' and 'temperature'.
  • "His Loyal Love" by Woven Hand.
  • Shudder To Think's "Chakka" - no one can really agree on much of anything beyond "I bet you wanted to get me / you're waiting to wreck me / I'll manage to go" and a possible title drop. It isn't helped by the fact that the lyrics to that particular song aren't printed in the album's booklet and Craig Wedren himself no longer remembers what the lyrics are.
  • A lot of lines from Asobi Seksu's songs are hard to make out, but 'Me & Mary' is 95% incomprehensible.
  • Anaal Nathrakh are a good example. Not only does their singer scream and growl unintelligibly most of the time, but they don't even publish their lyrics! When he does sing normally, though, it's pretty easy to figure out.
  • Most of The Black Dahlia Murder's first two albums "Unhallowed" and "Miasma" are impossible to understand without reading along to the lyrics. The higher vocals are almost indecipherable, while some of the low ones can be figured out after a few listens.
  • Dethklok frontman Nathan Explosion lampshades this hilariously:
    Pickles: We got any songs with "destiny" in the title?
    Nathan: Um, no, but I could stick it in. Doesn't matter. No one can understand what I'm saying, anyway.
  • Many songs from Cirque du Soleil productions (especially those from The '90s) are sung in the indecipherable faux-language of "Cirquish".
  • Dragonforce, Dragonforce, Dragonforce. It's fairly easy to guess (at least vaguely) what any given song is about, though, since most of the band's music is about fire, war, and dragons. The bridges in "Starfire" deserve special mention here.
    And we're standing on the ground, final dewy fun, looking for a manatee!
  • The Ominous [insert language here] chanting in the songs in The Prince of Egypt can make some versions nigh incomprehensible.
  • The Nightcrawler's "Push the Feeling On" (the dub mix and subsequent remixes): "Ir in their lives again ir in their li to pull us" ad nauseam.
  • "CLEVER SLEAZOID" and "CHILD PREY" by Dir en grey are three-minute streams of Gratuitous English. The listener can be forgiven for not realizing either song contains actual words in any language. Popular reinterpretations of the lyrics include "I heard the sound of all the Chanseys" and "Let's get a SMOOTHAY."
  • The Dingees: "Ronnie Raygun" and "Conspiracy Against the Youth" from The Crucial Conspiracy, and "Capital Imperial" from The Rebel Soul Sound System. The singers are hard enough to understand when they're singing clearly, but on these lo-fi hardcore punk tracks, it's well-nigh impossible to make out anything.
  • Sum 41 is this with their short, fast songs. The most egregious example is 'Never Wake Up', in which the only intelligible line is the Title Drop. Another example is the bridge from 'Motivation', in which Deryck sings a mouthful of words at an insane speed, which ends up sounding like "LeaLeavingfriendsjustbecomeatrendjanamsnsndnIcan'tpretend, afraidofbeingthisway, it'snotthrsamebutwho'stoblameforallthe STUPID THINGS I NEVER SAID!" Have fun singing that on Guitar Hero.
  • Randy Newman's singing style, and his habit of composing enjambment in his lyrics, frequently makes him an example of this trope.
  • E.S. Posthumus has their lyrics in a fictional Latin derivative. People still try to translate them.
  • Korn has their song "Twist".
  • Starflyer 59 has a lot of these, especially in their first couple of albums.
  • Lampshaded in Flight of the Conchords in the song "Leggy Blonde", which even the subtitles cannot decipher:
    Oh leggy blonde you got it goin' on
    Wanna see you wearing that thong thong thong
    See you get it on til the break of dawn
    mumblemurblemrr panties on
  • Not a band, but Dennis Edwards' 1984 song "Don't Look Any Further" has a chorus that nobody understands and that may not even be in English.:
    Day o umba day o mambu ji ay o
    Don't look any further. Don't you look no further
    Day o umba day o na jam bay um bay o
    Don't look any further.
  • "Bleeding Heart Theory" by Straight Line Stitch has the word "SUFFER!" screamed repeatedly in the chorus, but it sounds for all the world like "SHERBERT! SLOBBER!" if you don't know what it's supposed to mean.
  • Wakusei's cover of "Gigantic" by The Pixies, owing to the fact that they're a Japanese band who apparently attempted to learn the original's lyrics phonetically. The chorus is much more intelligible than the verses, although they do consistently pronounce "gigantic" with two hard g's, making it sound like the separate words "gig" and "antic".
  • Try understanding the lyrics in "Ants" by Devin Townsend... Good luck.
  • The Decemberists, frequently. The most triumphant example is probably The Perfect Crime #1, said to be a consequence of an absinthe binge (if you can tell apart the English and the French, congratulations). It's pretty common in all of their songs, though, thanks to Colin's...distinctive accent.
  • Good luck trying to understand more than three words in Foo Fighters' "White Limo". And its spiritual predecessor, "Weenie Beenie" (which is already in an album chock full of Word Salad Lyrics, but like "White Limo" has modulated vocals to top it).
  • Most of Mew's discography, intentionally so.
  • Most English-speaking Versailles fans don't realize that 90% of the lyrics to "The Revenant Choir" are in English until it's pointed out to them. Kamijo's pronunciation is that bad. The fact that the song has Word Salad Lyrics doesn't help.
  • Most of Converge's music would fall under this trope.
  • A lot of songs by the French band Phoenix fall under this trope. For some reason (possibly because of his French accent), Thomas Mars just doesn't tend to pronounce a lot of the words very clearly, and it isn't necessarily all of the lyrics that can't be understood. A lot of their songs tend to switch back and forth between words that are actually quite clear, and then phrases that are nearly impossible to understand unless you look up the lyrics. "1901" is a perfect example of this.
  • Forbidden Broadway parodied Patti LuPone's performance in Anything Goes, with her sloppy diction making the lyrics increasingly incomprehensible.
  • Parov Stelar's "The Mojo Radio Gang" has only one line, repeated over and over, but beyond the words "I gotta..." (or maybe "I got a") it's anyone's guess what the heck is it supposed to be.
  • Caravan Palace's "Clash" is not as bad as other examples, since you can more or less understand about half of the words, but still, good luck trying to comprehend the singers. (The lyrics come from a song called Shadrack, but they're jumbled and garbled.)
  • Crystal Castles, mainly due to the deliberate audio distortion of Alice's vocals.
  • Waking the Cadaver's "Chased through the woods by a rapist". This song about brutally raping a woman somehow gets interpreted as a song about food, of all things. The fan-translated lyrics actually fit the vocals better.
  • Most of Guitar Wolf's songs, due to Seiji's Japanese accent and screaming vocal style, and the fact that said vocals can get drowned out by very loud distorted guitar. Without looking at a lyric sheet you might think the lyrics have occasional bouts of Gratuitous English instead of actually being entirely in English (the most commonly intelligible lyrics are song title drops, "rock n' roll", and "One, two, three, four"). Their Cover Version of "Summertime Blues" received a Gag Sub via Adam Buxton, despite ostensibly retaining the English lyrics of the Eddie Cochran original.
  • Darby Crash of The Germs would fall under this in studio most of the time (not aided at all by terrible production quality), however live - and especially towards the end of his life - he would go onstage completely intoxicated, heavily slurring his words, and sometimes being too wasted to properly finish a show. A good example of this would be their performance in The Decline of Western Civilization.
  • The Jesus Lizard, so much so that even the lyrics sheets are sometimes wrong. Just try to figure out what the hell Yow is saying on most of their songs, particularly off their "Down" album.
  • The Agonist, due to the singer's tendency to combine growling vocals with Motor Mouth. She is very much aware of this and has stated in interviews that she would enjoy seeing what the "misheard lyrics" videos would be like.
  • Desmond Dekker, one of the first internationally popular reggae artists, had a heavy Jamaican accent which made many of his lyrics difficult to understand to non-Jamaicans. The most commonly cited example is his 1969 single "Israelites"; the opening lines became "Get up in de morning, baked beans for breakfast!" and the refrain, "Poor me, Israelites" was often misheard as "Ohh, me ears are alight". An advert for non-dairy spread took advantage of this, claiming the song was about Vitalite spread.
  • Ice MC combines this with Motor Mouth.
  • Some Mogwai songs seem to have lyrics. Or at least sounds made using a human mouth. There might be words in there. If you can figure it out there are probably some guys in signal processing research who will pay you a lot of money.
  • Whenever Enzo Siffredi puts lyrics in his songs, they end up like this. (Granted, it's hard to tell if the lyrics are even supposed to be Italian or English, but still.) The Looped Lyrics of "I Don't Care", for example, sound mostly like "Why-donk-yoo"—it just might be the Title Drop, but then again, maybe not. Then there's "My Blue Ray-Bans".
  • DeVotchKa. Nick Urata's singing style can leave what he's singing hard to understand. It's worse when he sings in another language (mostly Spanish) as his mastery of them is...questionable. They also dip into Something Something Leonard Bernstein.
  • Coldplay's song "Chinese Sleep Chant" (which is a Hidden Track inside of "Yes") is virtually impossible to discern lyrically. Why? Because it sounds as if it were recorded in a ridiculously long & echoing hall, with the singer at one end, and the recording equipment at the other. The instruments also drown the lyrics out even more.
  • Missy Elliott's "Work It" has the line "Is it worth it/Let me work it/I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it/[incomprehensible gibberish]". The gibberish is actually the previous line played backward.
  • Just try to listen to "Disco Volante", by Mr. Bungle and find the words. Even with the lyrics in hand, they are almost impossible to decipher. Granted, their other albums are also known for unintelligible lyrics, but this one takes the cake.
  • Everything on Clap Your Hands Say Yea's "Coming Down" qualifies as this, especially when Matt Berninger comes on. Also the ending. "nenenenenennennenenenememehnehnehnehmehnemehIT'S THE WAAAY THAT IT IS STAY RIGHT THERE YOU KNOW I'M COMING DOWN"
  • "Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die" by Brand New. Jesse Lacey sings the chorus in a rapid-fire manner, making the lyrics completely unintelligible unless you already know them.
    "You constantly make it impossible to make conversation/We're comatose but audible/But I like it the farther I get out"
    "We pass it up/But it's all on us/For common conversation, it took everything I got/I like it the farther I get out"
  • Vampire Weekend are known to be mush-mouthed, but especially in "A-Punk" where almost none of the lyrics are comprehensible (and it having Word Salad Lyrics certainly doesn't help).
  • Ariana Grande has been cited for poor enunciation in her singing at times. One fan's youtube video featuring "more accurate" lyrics to "Break Free" includes lines like "I only want to dye a lime / never bite the hand of a broken harp" note , and when it comes to the bridge Even the Subtitler Is Stumped.
  • Spawn of Possession is an amusing example: the indecipherable part actually comes from how fast the lyrics are being growled than said growls themselves.
  • Most of the newer AutoTune rappers, led by Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan, whose lyrical prowess could easily be mistaken for mumbling at best and pure gibberish at worst. The two's song Lifestyle is a prime example of this.
  • Most Pale Saints songs are rife with this, particularly on The Comforts Of Madness. Mostly averted on Slow Buildings, however.
  • The opening lyric/chorus of "Gold" by Kiiara is indecipherable, with many people assuming that it's backwards (a la Missy Elliott), or just straight up gibberish. According to Rap Genius and other sites, it's actually various lyrics from the song cut up and pasted together.
  • It depends on the song, but Rusted Root's Michael Glabicki can be difficult to understand. Signature Song "Send Me On My Way" is rife with unintelligible sections, including at least one lyric that abruptly goes from scatting to English and back again, said to be a Permanent Placeholder that was left in because the band felt it fit the mood of the song better than anything else they could come up with: "oomba-see you / oomba-tell you to run".
  • Bratisla Boys, a "Slovakistanese" joke 80's band created by French humorists Youn, Desagnat and Morgaine in the early 2000s, and their nonsensical hit Stach Stach. According to the translation, it seems to be a song about wanting to own a fridge…
  • Billie Joe's singing on Green Day albums can be very difficult to understand at times, especially on the earlier albums. When they performed "Geek Stink Breath" on Saturday Night Live, they got away with saying "shit" because nobody understood what Billie Joe was saying.note 
  • Tears for Fears:
    • Most listeners have trouble discerning the backing vocals on "Head over Heels" at the 2:04 mark, so Curt Smith clarified in a tweet that the verses are:
      Nothing ever changes when you're acting your age
      Nothing gets done when you feel like a baby
      Nothing ever changes when you're acting your age
    • The Careful with That Axe parts at the end of "Sowing the Seeds of Love" can fall into this. Roland Orzabal at one point says "What about the workers?", but it's not printed on the lyrics sheet and isn't easy to make out in the studio version (it's more easily decipherable in some live versions).
    • "Year of the Knife" also contains a similar example: the screamed line after the second instance of "I made my bed on love denied" is "And now I ain't gonna sleep tonight." However, Orzabal's delivery is still difficult to parse even when one knows the words in advance.
    • There are two verses in "Who You Are" which are so distorted that they almost sound like the "wah-wah" noises spoken by the adults in Peanuts cartoons.
      Someone's folding paper planes
      Someone's on the line again
  • SZA is known for this, as like Ariana Grande she doesn't always enunciate when singing. For example the chorus of "All the Stars" is often interpreted as "This may be the night that my dreams might let me know/All the stars are kosher" instead of "All the stars are closer". And that's assuming they're able to understand the first line.
  • "sd_bbb" by Patricia Taxxon, best known for an accompanying animation called "EEEAAAOOO": the vocals sound like robotic scatting, but there are actually lyrics, albeit surreal and repetitive ones:
    Baby blue buildings far above the crystal grove
    Magenta plated terrace with a table and a stove
    Guarded golden railing just to frame the pretty stars
    Fix that old piano and the birds will fall apart
  • Averted but good by Neil Young. His lyrics may be strange, but his enunciation is crisp and clear.note  The Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert finale, "My Back Pages", features an assortment of legendary artists, who are all influenced by Bob and trying to mumble — er, sing — like him (including Bob Himself); Neil doesn't, and he is the only one you can understand. The only exceptions might be the majority of songs from the album Trans - six songs on the album had Neil making use of a vocoder, which could make some of the lyrics difficult to understand without consulting a lyric sheet.
  • "In De Ghetto" by dancehall house group The Bad Yard Club has comprehensible refrains, but unintelligible Motor Mouth toasting for its verses.
  • Very often, Glass Animals, especially on Zaba.
  • Infant Annihilator falls victim to this thanks to frontman Dickie Allen's absolutely demonic screams and growls.
  • Most of The Angelic Process' discography is this, especially Weighing Souls wih Sand