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25 May 2004 @ 09:18 pm
 
I guess my favourite band of all time has to be The Beatles, and pretty much their entire catalogue is made up of great songs.

However, at least the early stuff didn't necessarily have the greatest of lyrics.

Which got me thinking.

What bands, artists or songwriters have the best lyrics?

Off the top of my head:

Bob Dylan (the obvious number one choice)
Crowded House
Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel)
Aimee Mann
Pink Floyd

What else do people think?

I find it interesting that there are all these posters and t-shirts proclaiming Jim Morrison to be the "Greatest American Poet".
Without arguing the relative merits of Walt Whitman or Edgar Allan Poe, let's just look at Morrison's work alone:

The time to hesitate is through,
no time to wallow in the mire.
Try now we can only lose
and our love become a funeral pyre.
Come on baby, light my fire.

Probably The Doors most famous song, yet (as poetry) it's the worst kind of doggerel.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of The Doors musically.

Anyway, I digress.
My point really was to see who others thought were/are great lyricists.
 
 
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
 
 
 
Eliseephant on May 25th, 2004 04:37 am (UTC)
I will of course say that I think Barenaked Ladies have some GREAT lyrics. others may not agree.
Jacobyak_boy on May 25th, 2004 04:40 am (UTC)
I love If I Had A Million Dollars.
Eliseephant on May 25th, 2004 04:42 am (UTC)
I'm actually listening to it at this very moment!
Jacobyak_boy on May 25th, 2004 04:46 am (UTC)
Creepy. :)

I guess I'd put them on a list of funny lyrics with:

They Might Be Giants
Ween
TISM

Ooh...

I just thought of another band with great lyrics.

Cake.
melbournian on May 25th, 2004 05:09 am (UTC)
Weird Al Yankovic


Reminds me of the geek test, 'cept I don't think the makers of it know about TISM.
Jacobyak_boy on May 25th, 2004 05:16 am (UTC)
How could I forget Weird Al?

Trey Parker has also written some killer songs.
See:

Cannibal the Musical
Baseketball
South Park (series/movie)
Eliseephant on May 25th, 2004 04:24 pm (UTC)
BNL have some funny lyrics. Like Million Dollars... but they also have some superb lyrics that aren't funny at all!

Like.... Break Your Heart... and The Flag... and Off The Hook
Jacobyak_boy on May 27th, 2004 05:02 pm (UTC)
To be honest, I don't know many of their songs at all.
Eliseephant on May 28th, 2004 12:13 am (UTC)
bad yak!
John Doe: Righteous oneg00b3r on May 25th, 2004 04:52 am (UTC)
The rock group Creed have some pretty deep and meaningful lyrics, and dont forget Elvis..
Jacobyak_boy on May 25th, 2004 05:04 am (UTC)
A lot of Elvis' lyrics are pretty lame (although he can't really be blamed for it).

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,
crying all the time.
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog,
crying all the time.
You ain't never caught rabbit
and you ain't no friend of mine.

Some are quite bizarre, with some pretty strange sexual things going on:

Dating your ex-girlfriend's Little Sister and of course the homo-eroticism of Jailhouse Rock.

But he did have some genuine calssics lyrics-wise (as did The Beatles, of course):

Heartbreak Hotel
In The Ghetto
Suspicious Minds

Of course, the real reason Elvis was/is so popular is his amazing voice. No other pop singer has ever come close.
John Doe: eLVISg00b3r on May 25th, 2004 01:34 pm (UTC)
But he did have some genuine calssics lyrics-wise (as did The Beatles, of course):

Heartbreak Hotel
In The Ghetto
Suspicious Minds


Those are the ones that sprang to mind, along with Wooden Heart
Gregpeachofpain on May 25th, 2004 06:40 am (UTC)
Pink Floyd all the way... Tool lyrics are just fine aswell...
Prisspr1ss on May 25th, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC)
What made the Beattles great was that they were excellent musically. If you listen to their covers of popular songs of the day, the notes and timing are identical to the originals, interestingly they never tried to copy vocal styles. Laying some originality on top of those skills explains their success. And yeah, none of their lyrics make me cringe. I really love Paul Simon, but more for melody and arrangements than for lyrics.
Jacobyak_boy on May 27th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC)
A lot of the early Beatles songs have very simplistic lyrics, but you're right they aren't particularly awful. In fact, The Beatles started to innovate very early on, even in the simple love song phase. She Loves You, despite having the simplistic love song lyrical structure, is a real departure in that it's about someone else's relationship and not the singer: She loves you, not I love you.

I think a lot of the Simon and Garfunkel songs have awesome lyrics, whether emotional (Bridge Over Troubled Water), funny (At The Zoo) or just weird (Cecilia).
Mr Sinisterglintsinisterglint on May 25th, 2004 08:45 pm (UTC)
Lyrics-wise, I have a penchant for Eminem, Rage Against The Machine, Saul Williams, Tool and Bob Dylan.
Jacobyak_boy on May 27th, 2004 05:16 pm (UTC)
Eminem: The man that made me like rap.

Rage Against The Machine: The Michael Moore's of music.

Saul Williams: I've never heard of him...

Tool: The band that introduced me to Bill Hicks.

Bob Dylan: Best. Songwriter. Ever.

Not to mention that he's the man that inspired Hendrix to sing ("If he can get away with singing that badly, I might as well sing too").
Steph: qaf-bribadman by lily_blossoms_megalomania_ on May 26th, 2004 12:35 am (UTC)
*agrees with you on the Bob Dylan, Aimee Mann, Crowded House, Paul Simon etc*...

Black Sabbath have some interesting lyrics. Not sure how deep and meaningful most would consider them, yeah, but I quite like them. I'm thinking mostly of the mid-late 70s stuff. Things like Spiral Architect, A National Acrobat, Megalomania etc...
Jacobyak_boy on May 27th, 2004 05:16 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... Megalomania.
im_abstract_artim_abstract_art on May 26th, 2004 03:37 am (UTC)
if your mentioning Dylan as a given then tom waits can not be far behind. his inebriational travelogues and beaten but not broken delivery make him a firm contender.

'there's a blur drizzle down the plateglass
as a neon swizzle stick stirrin up the sultry night air
and a yellow biscuit of a buttery cue ball moon
rollin' maverick across an obsidian sky
as the busses go groanin' and wheezin',
down on the corner I'm freezin';
on a restless boulevard at a midnight road
I'm across town from EASY STREET
with the tight knots of moviegoers and out of towners
on the stroll
and the buildings towering high above
lit like dominoes or black dice
all the used car salesmen dressed up in
Purina Checkerboard slacks
and Foster Grant wrap-around,
pacing in front of EARL SCHLEIB
$39.95 merchandise'

(Anonymous) on June 11th, 2004 11:16 pm (UTC)
I hate the doors but in Jim Morrison's defense I do believe Robbie Krieger actually wrote Light my Fire. And yes it is dirge and I think Wood Guthrie would be up there with great American writers, Jack Kerouc, Gary Snyder Ginsberg even, the list is endless