Favorite Lyricists?

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Retrology
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Favorite Lyricists?

Postby Retrology » June 20th, 2017, 2:10 am

With favorite bassists, guitarists, drummers covered, only appropriate that we cover our favorite lyricists (can include hip hop if you want, but my favorite hip hop lyricists will be excluded here as this covers non hip hop).

Brandon Boyd (Incubus): Heavy on creative metaphors.
Chino Moreno (Deftones): Lyrics are mysterious and add to the mystical quality of the Deftones' atmospheric sound.
Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend): Lyrics are random and seem cut out, but fit the VW sound perfectly and sound extremely interesting.
Martin Gore (Depeche Mode): God, I love his lyrics. Comes up with the most interesting rhymes of any non rapper I've ever heard, plus like Moreno, adds to the mysterious quality of the Mode's music.
Maynard James Keenan (Tool): Paints spiritual and philosophical goodness with his lyrics.
Chris Cornell (Soundgarden): Lyrics were bleak and clever with how he came up with phrases.
Layne Staley (Alice in Chains): Brutally honest lyricist, made you see into the eyes of the life of a drug addict and made you feel like you were there with him.
Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes): Folk lyrics at its absolute best. Also, they just released a new album so I gotta check that out.
Beck: Lyrics on Odelay are free form jazz and they fit the music perfectly.
Michael Stipe (REM): As well as having an awesome voice, Stipe's lyrics are cryptic and often take a few listen to decipher.
Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers): They said you couldn't like RHCP and Mike Patton. They were wrong. I love Kiedis' melodic rap lyrical style as well.
Thom Yorke (Radiohead): Duh.
Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle): It's hard to decipher what he's actually saying, but how he says it and how cryptic the lyrics are easily make up for it.
Bradley Nowell (Sublime): Made you feel like you were living the live of a rebel, a frat bro, peace lover, a gangster, and an anarchist at the same time.
Rivers Cuomo (Weezer): Most of anything after the Green Album pales in comparison to the masterful lyrical writing he showcased for the first 3 albums.

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velcrozombie
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Re: Favorite Lyricists?

Postby velcrozombie » June 20th, 2017, 11:11 am

I'll also keep it to rock music to prevent the list from getting too long - I'll add more commentary later:

- Neil Fallon (Clutch): My favorite lyricist of the moment. Lots of colorful wordplay and imagination (with a bit of Southern flavor) and a great sense of humor and the absurd.
- Greg Dulli (Afghan Whigs, The Twilight Singers, The Gutter Twins, solo)
- Rob Wright (Nomeansno)
- Greg Graffin (Bad Religion)
- David Bryne (Talking Heads)
- Jarvis Cocker (Pulp, solo)
- J.R.Hayes (Pig Destroyer): You're not going to be able to make them out through all the screaming, but look them up online and it's like reading an anthology of short horror stories.
- Lord Worm (Cryptopsy - only three albums): Some of the most hilariously evil lyrics ever - and he's an English teacher.
- Eugene Robinson (Oxbow)
- Nick Cave (The Birthday Party, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, solo)
- Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)
- Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)
- Layne Staley (Alice in Chains, Mad Season)
- Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead)
- Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)
- Michael Stipe (REM)
- Beck
- Bob Dylan
- Art Alexakis (Everclear - first two albums only): I'll be frank - Everclear has been a mediocre band for probably two decades at this point and Alexakis is an ordinary singer. Having said that, the first two Everclear albums (and probably at least a few songs from the later albums) have some lyrics that are disarming in their honest and heartfelt nature about Art's difficult upbringing and his struggles with poverty, broken relationships and substance abuse.

Steve
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Re: Favorite Lyricists?

Postby Steve » June 20th, 2017, 2:07 pm

I only have one and a group honorable mention

Fish (Marillion/Solo) - Probably the best lyrics in all of rock music. His lyrics have saved me on more than one occasion. They can be a little political and certainly not a great singer but the lyrics more than make up for that.

Genesis (Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford) - Most people probably assume that either Peter Gabriel or Phil Collins wrote all their lyrics as lead singers but this is completely untrue. Some of the best lyrics on Genesis albums as well as some of the best lyrics overall in any band are done by the other members of the group with my personal favorite being Tony Banks.

jon
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Re: Favorite Lyricists?

Postby jon » June 28th, 2017, 12:20 pm

I also think that Art Alexakis is a great lyricist. And I agree the first two albums are the best. They went unbelievably pop after that lol. I think Kurt Cobain was great too. I think that his lyrics were just vague enough that they weren't too obvious, but not too vague that you can't say you don't completely understand what he's singing about.

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velcrozombie
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Re: Favorite Lyricists?

Postby velcrozombie » June 28th, 2017, 5:24 pm

jon wrote:I also think that Art Alexakis is a great lyricist. And I agree the first two albums are the best. They went unbelievably pop after that lol. I think Kurt Cobain was great too. I think that his lyrics were just vague enough that they weren't too obvious, but not too vague that you can't say you don't completely understand what he's singing about.


I like Cobain's lyrics as well, for pretty much the reason you cited. I'm not usually a fan of lyrics that are too on-the-nose - I like some room for personal interpretation. Art Alexakis is very straightforward, but it works because of his everyman persona and delivery.

Somehow I forgot:
- Lou Reed
- Tom Waits
- Jimmy and Dennis Flemion (The Frogs) - these guys could be wildly uneven (which was also part of their charm, as you could often hear them improvising/rewriting the song on-the-fly on many of their recordings) but they wrote some of the most provocative, hilarious, politically-incorrect material ever - and they could also go on these flights-of-fancy that didn't make much sense but were fascinating anyway. The Smashing Pumpkins were big fans and promoters of their music and even Spike Lee gave them props for their take on race.

jon
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Re: Favorite Lyricists?

Postby jon » June 29th, 2017, 9:56 pm

I also think Michael Stipe writes amazing lyrics. They conjure up an image in your head. I was always amazed at the consistency of his lyrics over the years. They were still right on even in the mid 90's.

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Retrology
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Re: Favorite Lyricists?

Postby Retrology » June 30th, 2017, 12:04 am

jon wrote:I also think Michael Stipe writes amazing lyrics. They conjure up an image in your head. I was always amazed at the consistency of his lyrics over the years. They were still right on even in the mid 90's.


+1. Murmur's lyrics are classic.


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