If the lyrics are good, I listen to them. Sometimes they contain a whole other dimension that isn't apparent on the surface, which can be especially poignant when it wasn't actually intentional. For instance, the popular Jim Croce song "Time in a Bottle" was actually written for his (at the time) unborn son. How tragic that the song is about not having enough time to spend with the people you love, and that Jim ended up dying before his son's second birthday. It's almost as if he knew, though of course that's impossible. It's hard to stay dry-eyed whenever I hear this song now, and I'll admit there was a period right after I discovered all this where I didn't even try.
And then, there's Yes. There aren't enough drugs in the world for those lyrics to make any sense, though I'm sure Jon Anderson and co. made a valiant effort when they wrote it all up. Especially things like 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' (yes, I can make it through the whole album) are grating and incoherent lyrically, and I just try to ignore it and listen to the music. Which can be difficult sometimes with Yes, which you know if you've ever tried sitting through some of the more obscure stuff--almost always musically fascinating, but often lyrically cringeworthy.
Overall, I tend to listen to music with good lyrical content more than that with prosaic or pretentious lyrics. It just makes a better overall package, and it also tends to be more musically interesting, anyway. If the artist put some effort into the music and performance, then they probably felt the need to put some effort into the lyrics as well.
Edited by Argyris - 10/22/12 at 3:55am