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Who are the "Great" lyricists in popular music?

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starsailor    20

Here's one of the new kids on the block Ne Yo, does Hip hop R&B etc., started off as a Songwriter written stacks of hits and for the last couple of years he's been doing his own songs, not everyones cup of tea but I like his style. This is one of my favourites. catchy:winkthumb:

YouTube - Ne-Yo - So Sick

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scotty_b    16
No-one's mentioned Paul Simon yet - great tunes too.

I was going to mention Paul Simon, and from an Australian perspective I think Midnight Oil and Paul Kelly have written some great lyrics.

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starsailor    20

How about Sigur Ros - couldn't resist. :winkthumb:

:laughingg: :laughingg: Saw an interview with the lead singer, he was asked what his lyrics meant his answer was nothing they're complete Bull etc. you kind of hear what you want to hear with them they are pretty cool though.

Thanks for the heads up on Josh Ritter Carol and Doug he's very good enjoyed listening to him:winkthumb:

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starsailor    20
To all...

So what is it that makes your choice? The lyrics themselves or how they were presented, a combination, or the "Star factor" as in they have so many great tunes?.....Hmmm...

Well for me on this thread it was the lyrics that's why I thought Cole Porter should be in there, sought of just thought the words should be looked at first so I was concentrating on wordsmiths, I remember when I first heard Steely Dan loved the music then I started listening to the words some of them went over my head at the time as I was very young, when I found out where the name Steely Dan came from I was a bit shocked at my tender age, I think Steely Dan introduced me to a sordid world I blame them for being corrupted:isaynothing:

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carol m    64
when I found out where the name Steely Dan came from I was a bit shocked at my tender age, I think Steely Dan introduced me to a sordid world I blame them for being corrupted:isaynothing:

What a tease you are Chris, now I'm going to have to go and look it up. Obviously I haven't been corrupted yet!:innocent:

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Doug    12
What a tease you are Chris, now I'm going to have to go and look it up. Obviously I haven't been corrupted yet!:innocent:

I think the beach boys wrote a song about it too. What was it... "good vibrations"?

:dunno:

I know - that's really bad.:yeahhh:

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starsailor    20
What a tease you are Chris, now I'm going to have to go and look it up. Obviously I haven't been corrupted yet!:innocent:

I bear no responsibility for the knowledge you are about to gain Carol:escape:

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carol m    64

Kenny: getting back to 'Great Lyricists'.......for me it's the whole package of words, music and voice. However for it to be a 'great lyric' for me it has to say something a bit more than 'boy meets girl'. Often it's a line that is really memorable but usually that line is part of the whole style of a songwriter's work. I think it's the use of metaphor to say something in a new and interesting way, that hits you with the image and/or emotion and makes you feel it like a blow. Sometimes, like with Dylan, it's also the delivery.

For example the sneering contempt of

'Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is,

Do you, Mr Jones.

plus the contempt of Like a Rolling Stone - possibly the best song ever (?), as a complete package, esp the organ/blues-harp/electric solos weaving in and out of the vocal plus those take-no-prisoners lyrics.

Another example in Paul Simon's America, right in the middle of a happy rolling along travelogue lyric he suddenly says

"Kathy" I said, "I'm lost, though I knew she was sleeping,

I'm empty and aching, and I don't know why" - that really resonated with me as a teen-ager.

Oops, neither of them is a metaphor........

The whole of Paul Simon's Boxer is a metaphor.

Or in Gracelands - he's got the bus rhythm thing happening again - The Missisippi Delta is shining like a National guitar (technically a simile) and then suddenly in the chorus

And she says, 'Losing love is like a window in your heart'

Bang! Right there, and he follows it up with

Everyone see. you're blown apart

Everyone sees the wind blow".

Damn, still a simile.......

Dylan is riddled with images that were never thought of until he put them into his songs. Especially his early songs like Blowing in the Wind, Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, Desolation Row, Mr Tambourine Man or Like a Rolling Stone.

"How many years must a mountain exist

Before it is washed to the sea'

Not a great example but it is at least a metaphor!

I'm trying to remember which song has that 'Poet who cries in the gutter' line....anyone?

Leonard Cohen who often writes the lyrics first as poetry and then makes them into songs.

Too many to mention........all great.

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Hi Carol, to me it's the lyrics themselves, although I am biased somewhat, as I've always liked writing. Like you said, they have to say something to mean anything to me. I always found the more intriguing the words/message, the more they stood out as great writing. Lyrics are like the first chapter of a book, if they don't capture your attention in the beginning, not much chance of reaching the end.

The delivery has saved many a tunes and made as many if not more, but to me thats just icing on the cake. I may be wrong{happened "once" before..lol} but how many song's are remembered for their delivery or chord progressions, very few in comparison, to how many one can almost recite word for word.

I can find a favorite in just about every genre, so to me that says something about whats written more than how it's delivered....just my thoughts.

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Noodler    1

Hmm. In terms of lyrics that could stand on their own merit like a poem, Jim Morrison would have to be up there. eg

I'll tell you this...

No eternal reward will forgive us now

For wasting the dawn.

Back in those days everything was simpler and more confused

One summer night, going to the pier

I ran into two young girls

The blonde one was called Freedom

The dark one, Enterprise

We talked and they told me this story

Now listen to this...

I'll tell you about Texas radio and the big beat

Soft driven, slow and mad

Like some new language

Reaching your head with the cold, sudden fury of a divine messenger

Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god

Wandering, wandering in hopless night

Out here in the perimeter there are no stars

Out here we IS stoned

Immaculate.

Scottyb, Sleep by Midnight Oil is well written, Read About It, etc. Yeah, politically aware without being preachy like Bono. +1. Looking for Armistice Day as we speak. Can't find my CD!

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carol m    64

As far as Midnight Oil goes, Beds are Burning has great lyrics. How many people would ever think using beds (home, safety, security) and burning together plus the image that is immediately put in your head plus all the meanings and implications that lie behind it - inspired.

Kenny: I agree absolutely.

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Noodler    1

Although the meaning of Beds Are Burning is obvious ("It belongs to them, let's give it back), I never really understood the image of beds burning.

The song "From Little Things Big Things Grow" is a great yarn.

YouTube - Archie and Sarah

It gets into your head. About a real pioneer of land rights in Australia (Vincent Lingiari).

The players, so it makes sense:

Lord Vesty - Station owner where the aborines worked.

Vincent Lingari - Aboriginal leader

Mirangi - the group of aboriginals who walked off from working from Vesty and waited 8 years for their land.

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carol m    64

The other key player in the drama was Gough William, the new Prime Minister at the time who is referred to as the Tall Stranger from the South (or something like that). He's the guy who spontaneously (?) bent down, picked up a handfull of earth/sand and poured it into Vincent Lingari's hand. A great piece of symbolism and drama.

The song was written by Kev Carmody - an aboriginal drover who at a 'mature' age was accepted into Sydney University to study Arts. He wasn't crash hot at writing essays, so he wrote and sang songs for his assignments and thesis and passed with flying colours. He used to rock up to lectures with his beat-up guitar and sing his opinions/views etc

A great songwriter - usually in the narrative 'telling of tales' style. Has recently released a double CD with his versions on one disc, and other Aussie singers sing one track each (the same songs) on disc 2.

These days he hangs out in Kirk's area but more inland in the 'droving country' he grew up in.

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Noodler    1

Gets more interesting by the minute. I didn't know that was Gough the song talked about. I'm a fan of Gough because I benefited from a "free" tertiary education I couldn't have gotten otherwise.

I also didn't know the song was by Kev Camody. Thought it was Paul Kelly. Kev Carmody sounds like an interesting fellow. There's supposed to be a picture of the sna dmoment, but I haven't seen it. Oh wait, here it is:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/53/133358753_7b520ce190.jpg

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carol m    64

Here's the whole gang - Kev Caromody centre, John Butler left and Paul Kelly (The Australian Dylan) on the right. Then a whole swag of no-good Aussie musos....

YouTube - From Little Things Big Things Grow - Make Poverty History

He says at the beginning it was written by himself and Paul Kelly so we were both right Noodler.

(are you watching the cup final Noodler, it's neck and neck!)

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Noodler    1

Paul Kelly - the Aussy Bob Dylan! I like it :winkthumb:

Saw the first half hour or so of the footy. My folks are visiting and watching the Bill now. That Haka was full-on tonight.

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carol m    64

Oops, that clip didn't have the whole swag of aussie musos - in the actual concert that was the finale song and it went on for ages with all the other singers taking a verse each, plus audience!

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