Monday, October 19, 2009

FAVE LYRICISTS a non-definitive list

Ian Dury

Jim Morrison (but perhaps only his delivery could get away with some of that stuff)

Robert Wyatt (king of bathos)

Kevin Ayers (recently got into into him in a big way ... "Decadence" and "Song from the Bottom of A Well", amazing words)

Bryan Ferry (a genius of delivery also)

Marc Bolan (best spangly pop nonsense)

Edwyn Collins

Morrissey (not after a certain cut-off point which is almost as early as The Queen Is Dead except there are moments in the later smiths stuff and one really great later solo song I Am Hated For Loving...

Roy Harper

Billy Mackenzie

Green (the early stuff .... the songs to remember just is too cute and smugly in love with himself .... some moments on Cupid... the last LP, very much)

Jarvis Cocker

Martin Bramah

Kristin Hersh -- I used to adore, have a feeling I might be embarrassed a bit by this stuff now but meant a lot at the time

Poly Styrene

John(y) Rotten/Lydon

Pete Shelley

Syd Barrett (actually there is also one song that was a B-side early on, by Rick Wright -- amazing lyrics, strange fragile emotion i can't think of any prototype for in rock. 'Paintbox" -- well worth checking out if you have any time for Floyd at all)

Captain Beefheart (not always but often)

Lawrence from Felt makes it just for "Primitive Painters" and some of the Denim lyrics.

David Byrne (not always but quite often -- "Mind", "Animals", side 2 of Remain)

Iggy Pop when he was in the Stooges

Stevie nicks, in a funny sort of way

Rapping is almost like another thing, it doesn't look good written down often, but Jay-Z, LL Cool J, DMX

SPECIAL CATEGORY: can't say i adore exactly but you can definitely see why they're so rated

Lou Reed, Ray Davies, David Bowie

OVER-RATED LYRICISTS an equally non-definitive list
(it's not that they're bad, they might even be "good", but just substantially over-rated)

Thom Yorke (just very few really memorable lines)

Manic Street Preachers (I warm to them as people but the lyrics are just fucking wretched aren't they! as is the singing come to think of it.)

Ian Curtis (it's very young, isn't it)

Elvis Costello (used to really like but it's rubbish, not rubbish but really masturbatory -- I kind of enjoy it on that level, as grotesque showing off, and also as sensuously sounded nonsense)

Nick Cave (used to like him a lot but now it seems so posey -- the over-written Birthday party stuff is still pretty great i think, what's worse is when he tries to do "simple" later in a sort of King James Bible/Faulkner kind of way, sort of language of parables and common folk, cod-"timeless").

Brian Eno (the story ones are good, the ones about people marooned on beaches or twilight states of vegetative indolence... but the other warm jets type stuff is just twee )

Kurt cobain (some great one or two liners and the odd verse but…)

Jesus and Mary Chain, bobby gilespie, spacemen 3, spiritualized -- it's like the cooler, slightly higher brow version of how metal bands write lyrics, like they've gone to the School of Rock

X, violent femmes, etc -- American wannabe poets

vic godard (good lines here and there, don't quite understand the fuss)

patti smith (has her moments, but…)

Joe Strummer (the clash lyrics pale next to the pistols)

Paul Weller (what is "Going Underground" actually saying then?)

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