With lyrics ... yeah, it's always curious. Dunno. Sometimes I pay attention to them, other times
some lyrics are akin to poetry, so I don't really worry about trying to nut out
the precise meaning.
One thing's for sure -- I like to listen to albums with the lyrics in front of me, at all times -- if possible. So whenever I get an album, I try to get the lyrics from online. In a way because I want to DOMINATE them, so they don't get in the way of the music / melody / etc. Kind of like -- okay, these are the words, let's get that out of the way and concentrate on the important stuff. Also, having lyrics in front of me can help me see the structure of each song -- which can also help me appreciate the music more.
Now, if I CAN'T get the lyrics to an album, I just live with not understanding some words ... I don't feel the need to hunt down what the singer has said. And yes, sometimes I imagine it's a particular word (when it might not be) -- I don't let that bother me.
I do kind of feel that it's the music that's the important part -- but it's not of course. It's always music combined with words, and sometimes certain phrasings can be just wondrous ... certain words going with certain music. And sometimes some lyrics are so amazing .. that one can actually live one's life according to some lines! (as I do with Springsteen)