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The Best lyricists of all times

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What artists have written the best lyrics of all time?

Rated 89 points - posted 5 years ago by Peter in category Music.
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Bob Dylan Report Abuse
Although some don't like his voice, Dylan's lyrics are pure genius.
1099 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 3 comments
Comments:
If Shakespeare got in a time machine, and went to the 1960's to become a beatnik, he would have changed his name to bob dylan.
Added 2 years ago by redbarron80, 19 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Dylan should top this list. Mj and veder are good, but Dylan is unparrelled. Neither has written anything as beautiful as I want you, as ambitious as desolation row, as backhandly snark as positively 4th street, don't think twice. And so on... And it's the entire catalog. Dude has songs he's played once or twice that are lyrically amazing. Abandoned love, carribean wind, 4th time around. Listen to the bootlegs and live stuff. He is constantly changing lyrics to songs and improving upon them. Hell tangled up in blue (popular) has changed from first person to third over the years... Dylan tapped into woody guthrie's (should be on the list) spirit and ran with it and eventually surpassed Guthrie. He captured the ear of an entire generation with blowin in the wind and held it for years and years. I'm a 23 year old guitar/harmonica and look up to dylan as my number 1 influence 40 years later. He resonates through music lore, as he should. Find me an MJ line that touches a nerve like "how many roads must a man walk down/before you call him a man" Dylan is a phenomenal lyricist and in my opinion, one of the greatest poets America has ever seen. PS if you haven't read Dylan's short novel "tarantula" I highly recommend it.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 13 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
I can't help but wonder why Dylan isn't topping the list. "Desolation Row", "It's Alright Ma", "Tangled Up In Blue", "Forever Young", etc. are some of the most lyrically brilliant songs of the rock canon and maybe ever.
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2.

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John Lennon (The Beatles) Report Abuse
Who could argue with Lennon being #1 for lyricists? His lyrics and songs are some of the most treasured.
1033 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 3 comments
Comments:
"in my life" is still disputed, I believe. "Strawberry Fields" is great. "Imagine" is great the first couple times you hear it, then it appears be less art and more poltics. - Overall Lennon was definitely a great lyricist, though not he lost some edge when the Beatles broke up and he no longer had Paul to compete with.
Added 1 year ago by guest, 0 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
^You, sir, obviously know nothing about the Beatles or even Lennon's solo career. Paul was the saccharine one. John wrote the great lyrics like "Strawberry Fields Forever", "In My Life", and "IMAGINE"! Freaking Imagine! If that song isn't enough proof of the quality of his music, listen to the entire Imagine album. Jealous Guy, Gimme Some Truth...his lyrics are phenomenal.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
I can argue it. John Lennon's lyrics are overly romantic, saccharine and hypocritical. They explore no true emotional depth, but just the same shallow ideals as the times they represent. The quality of the melodies can be argued - the lyrical quality, however, cannot; as is there is none.
Added 3 years ago by guest, -6 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking

3.

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Paul McCartney (The Beatles) Report Abuse
1023 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

4.

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George Harrison (The Beatles) Report Abuse
899 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
because he was "the third Beatle"
Added 11 months ago by guest, 3 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
why do people automatically assume that Harrison was "the third beatle"?
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George Harrison before Paul McCartney??? Yikes....
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5.

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Michael Jackson Report Abuse
Michael Jackson was a genius lyricist, for example - his song Liberian Girl and many other his songs.
664 points - added 2 years ago by Ellen - 1 comment
Comments:
MJ was a good lyricist, has written some amazing things, but he should not be number 1 on this list, not even in the top 10. There are dozens of more worthy candidates.
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6.

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Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel) Report Abuse
325 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 2 comments
Comments:
Should be #3, behind Dylan and Oberst.
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Should be higher.
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7.

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Eddie Vetter Report Abuse
Greatest lyricist ever. His lyrics are poetry. It's absolutely incredible. Look up the lyrics to any Pearl Jam song and you will understand what I mean.
285 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
no. not at all.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 12 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
I agree but it's Vedder.
Added 3 years ago by hrebollo, 3 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
It's "It's". :)
Added 3 years ago by guest, 14 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Its Vedder :)
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8.

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Jim Morrison (The Doors) Report Abuse
258 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 1 comment
Comments:
Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws
Added 2 years ago by redbarron80, 22 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking

9.

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Ray Davies (The Kinks) Report Abuse
Listen to Village Green Preservation Society or Arthur or Muswell Hillbillies or Something Else or Face to Face and see what I mean. Pete Townshend once said Davies should be the Poet Laureate for England
243 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Waterloo sunsets is one of the best ever
Added 2 years ago by redbarron80, 13 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
In my opinion, he is #1. Please listen to "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" or "Well Respected Man", I can't stop smiling while listening to his songs. By the way, #2 is David Bowie.
Added 3 years ago by kholles, 0 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking

10.

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Bruce Springsteen Report Abuse
239 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 7 comments
Comments:
Bruce is not just a great musician and performer, but a great poet.
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Everyone today likes pop, because it requires a simple mind, but Bruce is rock and brings out a poetic "flavor" and is the best lyricist ever.
Added 1 year ago by guest, 2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
I love the song "Glory Days" and "Thunder Road" and the Boss is great. He expresses himself clearly and in a poetic way. Jonathon Stewart said that when he listens to Bruce, he is not a loser, he is part of an epic poem-about losers.
Added 1 year ago by guest, 2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
All of his songs are epic poems about life and sadness and he is not the boss- he is god
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The Boss needs to be higher. Thunder Road, Backstreets, and Jungleland are some of the best lyrics ever written, and that's just the Born to Run album. Definitely top 5.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 3 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Thunder Road is my favorite song ever
Added 3 years ago by guest, 4 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), Incident On 57th Street, Meeting Across The River&Jungleland, My Father's House, Racing In The Street, Sinaloa Cowboys, Black Cowboys, Stolen Car, Point Blank, Streets Of Philadelphia, The Hitter, The Promise, The Promised Land, The River, Thunder Road, Wild Billy's Circus Story.... well the list goes ever on.. Look up the lyrics to those songs and you'll see that Bruce Springsteen is the best lyricist of all time!
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11.

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Billy Joel Report Abuse
236 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Agreed with the other guest. Nonsense phrases that you have to be high in order to tie into something else are in so many songs just to get from one verse to another.
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Needs to be in top 10. His lyrics are so tight and void of nonsense phrases.
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12.

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BERNIE TAUPIN Report Abuse
OMG - can't believe has not been mentioned yet! the consistency of his creative juices have been AMAZING THRU DECADES.........
235 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
Bernie Taupin # 51 are you kidding me. He is easily top 10 and probably top 5.
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Amen. Like Elton John said himelf.....There would be NO Elton John without Bernie Taupin.
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13.

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Joni Mitchell Report Abuse
224 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

14.

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Morrissey Report Abuse
203 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
Personally, I think Morrissey belongs somewhere in the late teens or early twenties, not top 1.
Added 3 years ago by guest, -3 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
My bad, there not their
Added 3 years ago by Shaggs, 0 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
His lyrics are some of the best I've ever heard, and even though it was their biggest hit, Their is a Light that Never Goes Out has the most amazing arrangement. Not to mention the lyrics are superb
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15.

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Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) Report Abuse
203 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 3 comments
Comments:
Could probably be #1 here. He's a poet like Dylan but of a different style. Dylan was a beat poet. Waters is closer to a romantic poet.
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Yes. Listen to "The Final Cut" Great!
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He is number one no doubt.His lyrics must be too over you peoples heads.
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16.

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Bono (U2) Report Abuse
202 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 1 comment
Comments:
bono should be top 10. just go read the lyrics from "the fly"
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17.

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David Bowie Report Abuse
190 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 1 comment
Comments:
Being an artist, he is able to create images in his lyrics. Space Oddity was one of the best examples, and of course we have to mention "Life On Mars" (Isn't it the "Comme d'habitude/My Way" written in a parallel universe?)
Added 3 years ago by kholles, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking

18.

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Jimi Hendrix Report Abuse
186 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Jimi Hendrix's lyrics were pure poetry, having him this far down on the list is disgraceful. Voodoo Child? good lord. Little Wing? Gypsy Eyes?
Added 2 years ago by guest, 12 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking

19.

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Neil Young Report Abuse
186 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

20.

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Stevie Wonder Report Abuse
His lyrics and concepts are out of this world, and by the way he is blind
181 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
A true prophet..
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21.

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Bob Marley Report Abuse
180 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

22.

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Mick jagger Report Abuse
"If I could stick my pen in my heart, and spill it all over the stage"
167 points - added 2 years ago by redbarron80 -

23.

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Peter Gabriel Report Abuse
Both Genesis and solo, he was the best.
167 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

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Robert Smith (The Cure) Report Abuse
164 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

25.

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Richey James Edwards (Manic Street Preachers) Report Abuse
He is one of the most brutally honest lyricists ever. He saw the hypocrisy, stupidity and carelessness of people and putted it all in he's lyrics. He should be higher.
156 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
A human being in pain writes the most beautiful and honest poems in a world made of cruelty and truth. 'I want to walk on snow and not leave a footprint.' he says in 4st 7lb and theres no one today who can express such a painful and deadly concept in such a delicate and poetic way. His lyrics and not just lyrics, are poetry...
Added 1 year ago by guest, 0 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Neil Peart should be #1. BY FAR the greatest lyricist. I think it's honorable that he's mentioned-he just isn't the frontman.
Added 2 years ago by guest, -2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Richey wrote the best lyric ever in 4st 7lb, he should be number 1
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why isn't Richey Edwards no 1??? outrage!!!
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26.

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James Maynard Keenan Report Abuse
156 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
Eulogy - great writing
Added 1 year ago by guest, -1 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Maynard is so above the rest it's not even funny, just look up one of his songs in Tool or A Perfect Circle and you'll see for yourselfes. It doesn't matter wchichsong, they're all pure poetry.
Added 1 year ago by guest, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
His lyrics are much more emotional and intelligent and deep than anyone else's, with the exception of thom yorke.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Actually, it's Maynard James Keenan. And his are the most intelligent lyrics I've ever heard.
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27.

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Axl Rose Report Abuse
November Rain, Estranged, pure poetry
155 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

28.

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Nas Report Abuse
Genius, illmatic
154 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 6 comments
Comments:
All his songs have extreme deep meaning that u have to think to get his message. Never had I said WTF did he just say with beatles and majority of rock and pop. Most won't say he's the best because they don't know him. His word play is unmatched by any artist in history period. He also influenced every lyrical rapper after him. Much credit should go to rakim who is most influential NAS nit onlynhad content but it sounded so good it's almost impossible to believe he does it. I would put him against anyone and his lyrics are better and he write the greatest dis song of any genre is history. If u don't know the name u won't understand where I'm coming from
Added 1 year ago by guest, 0 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
No doubt best lyricist of all time. better than Eminem and a little better than tupac.
Added 2 years ago by guest, -1 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Seriously nr 50. he is the nr. 1 best hip hop lyricist so he should be above Eminem. ... Freedom or jail, clips inserted, a baby's bein born Same time my man is murdered, the beginning and end As far as rap go, it's only natural, I explain My plateau, and also, what defines my name. that he is nr 50 makes me mad
Added 2 years ago by guest, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
''I opened up Shakespeare's tomb, stole his remains, grinded his bones, then smoked 'em and got in the game''...or...''True in the game, aslong as blood is blue in my vein, I pour my heineken brew, to my deceased crew in Memory Lane''...perfect examples of why he is atleast top 5.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
he should be in top 5.his way of presenting the streets is just outstanding.
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NaS is illmatic. Memory Lane is ill
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29.

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Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) Report Abuse
Smashing Pumpkins truly had some gorgeous songs.
154 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 1 comment
Comments:
Today is one of the greatest songs ever written, he should be number 2
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30.

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Eminem Report Abuse
153 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 13 comments
Comments:
I absolutely agree rap doesn't get much credit as rock or pop and believe me I like those genres of music too, but Eminem should be at the top
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Eminem should 1#
Added 1 year ago by guest, -4 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
^ is right. Everyone who doesn't like rap immediately thinks that his lyrics aren't good enough because it's rap. But no one actually listens to what he's saying.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 2 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
I'm excited about finding this list and in many cases I agree. Bob Dylan is beyond brilliant. In fact, he penned one of my favorite songs of all time. Ani DiFranco should definitely be higher on here, but she hasn't the exposure of most of these artists and yes, it matters. Vetter: sure. Fiasco: a stretch. Tupac: crickets. Cohen: hard to argue. Eminem: take the time to listen, without an agenda or preconceived notions. If you can't appreciate it, it is a shame, however don't fret, there may be art forms that you can appreciate that some of the rest of us can't wrap our minds around. He has no contemporary equal whom I've had the pleasure of hearing.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Eminem should be the no#1 in this list. no one can write lyrics like him. When he raps he means what he say's not phony like other artist. They don't even know what they are saying. they sing wats written by some ghost writers.. He raps about reality. EMINEM is the only artist in this list who deserves to be no#1. Can anyone give a better inspiring song than "Lose Yourself ". Whether you admitted it or not. Eminem is a lyrical genius.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 0 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Eminem is not even close to the best hip hop lyricist!!!! Why is he number six for all types of music.....maybe number six in hip hop,
Added 3 years ago by guest, -4 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
Just like Morrissey, Eminem does not deserve to be this high on the list. I like his lyrics, but they just don't compare to the company he's around. Just one place below Dylan, and he even beats Marley, Cohen, and the Boss. Maybe people are just more familiar with him.
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he is the bgest at what he does
Added 3 years ago by guest, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
He is good but why don't I see Jesse Lacey on this list?
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Im a huge Dylan and Lennon fan. HUGE. Eminem IS a Genius.
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eminem is a genius!! his lyrics r pretty amazing and r deep! xx
Added 3 years ago by guest, -1 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
If you think he is a lyrical geniuses you obviously haven't heard of John Lennon or Bob Dylan.
Added 3 years ago by guest, -6 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
On his new album recovery he is a lyrical genius, not to mention his other albums such as The Eminem Show, Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers LP and so on
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31.

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Tom Waits Report Abuse
a master of storytelling
147 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

32.

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Jim Croce Report Abuse
time in a bottle, i got a name, dreamin, all self explanatory if you know of them
145 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

33.

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Elvis Costello Report Abuse
An absolutely brilliant wordsmith. A cursory listen to literally any of his albums will tell you that.
143 points - added 2 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
What's So Funny Bout Peace Love and Understanding was written by Nick Lowe
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what's so funny about peace love and understanding!!!! Epic
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34.

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Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) Report Abuse
139 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

35.

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Neil Peart Report Abuse
Okay, easily the greatest. Look at the song "The Trees" off of Hemispheres. Is that not a great metaphor? Or "Bravado," come on, "If we keep our pride, though paradise is lost, we will pay the price but we will not count the cost." those are all great lyrics and if you disagree, something is....not right not right in your head. And please, someone comment on Rush's song "Resist" so I don't look like I'm the only one who thinks Neil Peart is the greatest.
138 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
Neil Peart is also the greatest drummer / percussionist of all time.
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Plus ca change, Plus c'est la meme chose, The more that things change, The more they stay the same. (circumstances) I don't think he's a great lyricist, but still he has to be int this list.
Added 3 years ago by kholles, 1 point Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
My three favourites are Neil Peart, Roger Waters and Jim Morrison. They are by far more advanced lyricists than anyone else and probably are still ahead of their time. I'm shocked that they are not 1, 2 and 3
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I think Neil should be at number 1.
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36.

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Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) Report Abuse
137 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

37.

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Leonard Cohen Report Abuse
a poet, artist and unbelievable talent!
135 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
best there ever was
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His words create vivid pictures and evoke strong emotion never before attempted by other artists.
Added 2 years ago by guest, 4 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
He should be number 1.
Added 3 years ago by guest, 3 points Vote + to improve this comment's ranking Vote - to decrease this comment's ranking
this is number one, without a doubt
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38.

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Alex Turner - arctic monkeys Report Abuse
he's greath at both telling stories, painting pictures with words and using analogies. his lyrics have only gotten better since their debut
134 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
best lyricist ever, should be number 1
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39.

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Eric Clapton Report Abuse
130 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 1 comment
Comments:
really the best RAP lyricist :)
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40.

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Ronnie Van Zandt Report Abuse
Skynyrd
127 points - added 2 years ago by redbarron80 -

41.

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Gordon Lightfoot Report Abuse
if you could read my mind and the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald are epic!
124 points - added 2 years ago by redbarron80 -

42.

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keith Richards Report Abuse
115 points - added 2 years ago by redbarron80 -

43.

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Tupac Report Abuse
Maybe not the best when it came to spitting rhymes over the same word for 45 seconds straight, but his lyrics weren't just words that rhymed; they had a message about topics to which we can all relate, and his words could really touch you. Definitely one of the best.
115 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
His lyrics were/ are an inspiration to the oppressed, I know that doesn't apple to many but for the few living threw what he depicted with his every word, not only did it have a galvanizing effect but also provided that glimmer of hope which ultimately was enough to mark his legacy as one of the greatest lyricists of all times.
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44.

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Fiona Apple Report Abuse
She is one of the best song lyricists because she can be so powerfully honest, extremely clever, and original.
111 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

45.

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Laura Nyro Report Abuse
She was groundbreaking. She influenced many of the people who are already on this list.
110 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

46.

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Thom Yorke Report Abuse
can't believe he wasnt already on
92 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
I think he is on this list twice!
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Him and Maynard James Keenan are my favorites by far
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47.

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Jesse Lacey Report Abuse
88 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

48.

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Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) Report Abuse
Kurt Cobain was a genius lyricist who died far before his time.
88 points - added 5 years ago by Peter - 2 comments
Comments:
'Throw down your umbilical noose so i can climb right back.' 'Rape me, rape me, my friend' 'Come as you are, as you were, as i want you to be, as a friend, as an old enemy' 'Its ok eat fish, they have got no feelings...' May disturb, may offend, may confuse or be completely incomprehensible but it all comes from emotion, pain and overwhelming feelings.
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His lyrics are beautiful... deep... depressing.
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49.

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Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) Report Abuse
Amazing and beautiful poetry
78 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

50.

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Jackson Browne Report Abuse
Listen to ANY of his songs and you'll see why he should be ranked in the top 10.
69 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
Sky Blue and Black is a masterpiece.
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The lyrics kinda run together, sorry.
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The entire Late For The Sky album should put him in the top 10. People just aren't as familiar with him as, say, Eminem. Some samples: I'm gonna find myself a girl Who can show me what laughter means And we'll fill in the missing colors In each other's paint-by-number dreams And so they traded their tired wings For the resignation that living brings And they exchanged life's bright and fragile glow For the glitter and rouge Now the angels are older They know not to wait out for the sun They look over my shoulder At the maps and the drawings of the journey I've begun -From "The Pretender", "Before The Deluge", and "Farther On", respectively.
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His combo of having a great voice and great lyrics make him not only one of the better lyricists of all time, but one of the best musicians of all time as well
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51.

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Roddy Woomble (Idlewild) Report Abuse
68 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

52.

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Syd Barrett Report Abuse
67 points - added 2 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Mind blowing Lyrics.
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53.

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Pink Report Abuse
She write the most of her songs!!! She and her songs are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!
67 points - added 2 years ago by nikolchan - 2 comments
Comments:
Seriously I'm not saying anything bad against her or anything but no way is she a lyrical genius ... Especially at no.18....Like, come on...
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Wow above Roger Waters??!! This is a sick sick world.
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54.

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Rabindranath Tagore. Report Abuse
The greatest song lyricist and composer to have ever lived.
66 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
Truly genius, has won noble prize for "Gitanjali".
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The greatest ever. He's the only one with a Nobel prize in this list!
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He is the best.Indians are proud on him as he is a noble award winner.According to me he should be at number 1.
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55.

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Elliot Smith Report Abuse
64 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Elliott Smith makes me high everytime i listen to him.
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56.

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John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) Report Abuse
61 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
John is one of the best lyricist ever. Like Dylan and Cohen he is often looked over because of his voice. He writes lyrics that are smart, funny and touching.
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Absolutely Incredible! Should definately be near the top!
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57.

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James Hetfield (Metallica) Report Abuse
Amazing lyrics, angry, depressed or otherwise.
54 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
this guy is good
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58.

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Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) Report Abuse
53 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 4 comments
Comments:
Conor Oberst is a lyrical genius
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conor oberst is too great to be true
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seriously, he should be up way higher.
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Conor Oberst is by far the second greatest of all time (After Dylan)
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59.

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ALICE COOPER Report Abuse
50 points - added 7 months ago by guest -

60.

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Lupe Fiasco Report Abuse
Listen to some of his lyrics on his mixtapes, such as A Rhyming Ape or Enemy of the State. He's quite simply, ridiculous.
44 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
best lyricist here. He deserves to be more famous than he is right now. He is not phony at all. Lots of people on this list have shallow lyrics. Not this guy!
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61.

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Christina Aguilera Report Abuse
When there's no one else, look inside yourself, Like your oldest friend just trust the voice within, Then you find the strength, that will guide your way, You will learn to begin. just trust the voice within.
43 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

62.

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Nick Cave (The Bad Seeds) Report Abuse
43 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 3 comments
Comments:
This man is a true lyrical genius. He's right up there with Dylan,Lennon & McCartney, Morrison. He's a poet. His lyrics form pictures. he'll sing about murder,depravity,serial killers,multiple murders and freaks of nature. However on the flip side to that, he's written some of the beautiful love songs in existence, and not your "candy coated, sickly sweet, holding hands in the park at sunset" type love song, which seems to sweep the world off their collective feet ( generally speaking), but REAL love songs, the anguish of love, the hurt of love, deep possessive love, unrequited love, but also the joys of love, the pleasure it brings to you. All done in such a way, you'd swear these were songs handed down from generation to generation. Theres not many Song writers will ever aspire to the heights this man has reached. He should definately be in the top 3 of all time.
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Nick Cave should be much higher.
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how is he this far down???????????hes not even my fav singer or performer but he is the best lyricist
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63.

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Dave Grohl Report Abuse
How is he not already on the list? Foo Fighters have 50+ songs that represent some of the best writing (musical and lyrical) of this generation, not to mention the few songs he added to Nirvanas repertoire.
39 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

64.

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Nick Drake Report Abuse
Predict your own story in your first album? Sad story but truly the greatest lyricist of all time. They'll stand and stare when you're gone.
37 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

65.

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Dave Matthews Report Abuse
His lyrics are great at eye level and even greater when looked into. This man is definitely one of the best lyricists of all times.
37 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Dave Matthews' lyrics relate to everyday situations and puts them into song form. Almost all of his songs, if not all, are easy to relate to and apply to anything.
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66.

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Kris Kristofferson. Report Abuse
Not a great singer but has written some of the most poetic lyrics.
36 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
didn't he write "Me and Bobby McGee" - Joplin sang that song like no one else. Possibly her best performance.
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67.

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Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) Report Abuse
Stipe has written provocative yet catchy lyrics for many years now.
34 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

68.

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David Byrne (Talking Heads) Report Abuse
33 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

69.

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Dan Fogelberg Report Abuse
Pure poetry
32 points - added 1 year ago by guest -

70.

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Issac Brock Report Abuse
32 points - added 4 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
45 lol. but I agree. songs like Bukowski, Blame it on the Tetons, Styrofoam boots/its all nice on ice, 3rd Planet and this list goes on. love love love modest mouse
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man he needs more props than 62; Brock is in my top ten of the best lyricist in today's music industry.
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71.

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Kerry Livegren (Kansas) Report Abuse
Listen to any of his songs. They are some of the deepest, most philosophical writings I've ever heard. Here are some notable songs-- Incomudro-Hymn to the Atman Song for America The Pinnacle The Wall Dust in the Wind Closet Chronicles
31 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

72.

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Ben Harper Report Abuse
26 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

73.

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Jack White Report Abuse
25 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

74.

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Thom Yorke (Radiohead) Report Abuse
25 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

75.

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Maynard James Keenan Report Abuse
Easily one of the greatest writers of our generation and of all time. Everything he writes is golden
24 points - added 1 year ago by guest -

76.

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Ice Cube Report Abuse
A genius, from hip hop in the 80's to now. One of the best rap lyricist
23 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

77.

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Common Report Abuse
23 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

78.

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Jay-Z Report Abuse
Reasonable Doubt + The Blueprint were both 5 Mic albums as voted by The Source Magazine, he is one of only two rappers to achieve this honor. He is the favorite rapper of Lil Wayne, Drake, and Kanye West among many others. He doesn't write his lyrics down, and recites them all from memory while still including multi-syllable rhymes that last for multiple bars. It's an absolute joke that Kid Cudi and Wiz Khalifa, though both very talented, are ranked above him.
23 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 2 comments
Comments:
UH NO! If u look the Sources 5 mic album pantheon u will clearly see 2pac(twice), Nas (twice), Gza liquid swords, Biggie twice, Rakim twice Kool G Rap thats 7 including Jay-Z. U need to 2 do ur hip hop homework son.
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reasonable doubt was not a 5 mic album, its rating changed later
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79.

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Robert Hunter Report Abuse
The grateful ****in dead
22 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

80.

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Rakim Report Abuse
One of the first, one of the best
19 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

81.

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Joanna Newsom Report Abuse
Her lyricism is unparalleled because it is almost inconceivable that a human being could write such staggering pieces. To listen once is to capitulate all control and succumb to addiction.
18 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

82.

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Tracy Chapman Report Abuse
Lyrics are in sync with the reality.
17 points - added 1 year ago by guest -

83.

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Notorious BIG Report Abuse
R.I.P Biggie Smalls. One of the best
17 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

84.

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Martin L Gore Report Abuse
Lyrical genius, his lyrics are so powerful and timeless. He's been underrated but amazing songwriter.
17 points - added 2 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Depeche Mode amazing band!
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85.

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Ben Gibbard Report Abuse
This guy is a lyrical wizard
16 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
I couldn't agree more. The songs title and registration and crooked teeth are probably my favorites with death cab. The Against all odds cover by the postal service was amazing as well.
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86.

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Dustin Kensrue (Thrice) Report Abuse
Lyrics often derived from myth or legend that can be read as stand-alone poetry, particularly many songs from The Alchemy Index .
15 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
The way Dustin can tell a story is really captivating, and beautifully reflected by the music.. His lyrics are incredible.
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87.

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Chris Cornell Report Abuse
15 points - added 3 years ago by guest - 1 comment
Comments:
Chris Cornell is probably one of the best lyricist from the 90's. Besides expressing pain lyricly in his songs, he has the nessecity of enchanting us manifesting anger vocally...
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88.

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Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields) Report Abuse
see 69 Love Songs
15 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

89.

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Ani Difranco Report Abuse
15 points - added 5 years ago by Peter -

90.

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Neil Diamond Report Abuse
"I am...I said", Brooklyn roads", "Shilo", "Solitary man", "Holly Holy", "America" Just to name a few.
14 points - added 9 months ago by guest -

91.

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Ian Curtis (Joy Division) Report Abuse
Gone far too soon from the world at the age of 23, leaving behind only the faintest whispers of all the art that would have been. His lyrics on both Unknown Pleasures and Closer are purely distilled poetic brilliance. Often dark and twisted, but still beautiful, he reminds me of an Edgar Allan Poe from the 70's and 80's. Unfortunately his life played out a lot like Poe too. Ian Curtis lives!
14 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

92.

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Damien Rice Report Abuse
14 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

93.

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Brandon Boyd (Incubus) Report Abuse
Most people have only heard his 'radio' songs, but the songs that don't hit the waves are some of the most intellectual and creative pieces of work available in mp3. 9 songs out of 10 will have words in them you'll need a dictionary for.
14 points - added 4 years ago by guest -

94.

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Immortal Technique Report Abuse
A lot of you people probably haven't heard of him and that's why he is not up here, but listen to Leaving the Past, and Industrial Revolution, 2 of his many greats.
13 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

95.

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Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou) Report Abuse
I love Dylan and Lacey and Oberst and Chuck D and Tupac, but Aaron Weiss is my favorite lyricist, period. mewithoutYou songs cover some incredibly heavy material, and they do so by utilizing creative metaphors and complex rhyme structures. Aaron is well-versed in many religious texts and mythologies, and this is apparent in his songwriting. If you haven't heard mwY before, grab a copy of Brother, Sister or Catch For Us The Foxes. You'll thank me later.
12 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

96.

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Kid Cudi Report Abuse
His lyrics are just ridiculous. Way too good.
11 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

97.

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Big Pun Report Abuse
Not seing this genius on the list made me sad. R.I.P hip hop legend and lyricist
10 points - added 2 years ago by guest -

98.

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Cedric Bixler-Zavala Report Abuse
Has anyone ever given a listen to Frances the Mute from the Mars Volta? smashes everyone here to pieces....
10 points - added 3 years ago by guest -

99.

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Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) Report Abuse
Jon writes so many amazing songs all with fantastic lyrics. He's never to repetitive and always can amaze you with the artistry within is lyrics.
9 points - added 1 year ago by guest -

100.

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Anthony Kiedis Report Abuse
His words reflect the adventure, pain, and happiness that he experienced throughout his life, in the most impeccable way.
9 points - added 2 years ago by guest -
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