Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good Lyrics?

I need some examples of songs with great lyrics and/or songwriters who are particularly good at writing lyrics.

9 comments:

Kirk said...

Fuck it, make it instrumental!

dubtrain said...

Fuck it, we'll do it live!

But seriously, Nick Cave's songs are all extremely well written, and he actually teaches a yearly class at an Italian university about lyrics & classical song form construction. I have a copy of the lecture if you want to check it out.

flamingbanjo said...

Well, there's a (somewhat misspelled) version of a Tom Waits song "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" here. Tom Waits always goes near the top of my list. Also, I second Pete's recommendation on Nick Cave. Here's one of my faves, "Song of Joy" off Murder Ballads. It features one of the best unreliable narrator twists I've ever seen as well as allusions to Milton's Paradise Lost.

There's also Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Mariner's Revenge is an obvious gem, but I'm sure you have your own favorites.

Other notables: Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan. And, of course, Steve Miller:
Billy Mac is a detective down in Texas
You know he knows exactly what the facts is
He ain't gonna let those two escape justice
He makes his living off other people's taxes.

Rachel said...

John Gorka, a singer songwriter from Minneapolis writes beautifully subtle and silly lyrics. I'm not smart enough to post the songs here. If you tell me how, I'll do it. I could also send mp3 files to someone's email.

There's one love lost song called Out of My Mind, that starts "You're out of my mind, guess that makes two of us..."

There's Semper Fi about when his dad met Eleanore Roosevelt and a nice spooky one called Jack's Crows.

Another song called Flying Red Horse tells the tale of the gas station icon who decided to fly off one day.

He lacks your complex arrangements and harmonies. He's not all that hip either, but he's got a beautiful voice and his wistfulness and whimsy go with the Awesome vibe.

evan said...

Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) writes evocative stuff in a kind of low-rent (read: midwestern) poetic vein. Sorta like someone's most literate/pseudo-encoded journal entries, lightly edited, then plugged into Dad-Rock. (This is why I'm neither a music critic nor a salesman.) I'm thinking mostly of Being There and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Kirk said...

Why it deleted my comment I have no idea, but it was this:

Joni fucking Mitchell.

"Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire"
"Amelia"
"Refuge of the Roads"
"The Hissing of Summer Lawns"

Mitchell / Dylan / Cohen set the bar pretty high.

Fuck it, we'll do it live, instrumental!

Basil said...

There's this Canadian folksinger named David Francey who had some great stuff when I saw him. Louden Wainwright III (Rufus's dad) is also a winner.
Also, I have to say, I'm a flat-out sucker for the lyrical stylings of our pal, Mr. Sean Nelson.

Basil said...

Oh yeah, and Stevie "Guitar" Miller, like flamingbajo said.
And Glen Frey.
Just kidding.
Not really.
Yes, actually.
Kidding, that is.

Smuggler's Blues!

johnO said...

A Day In The Life

M. Doughty's lyrix circa Soul Coughing