Let's talk about lyrics...what lyricists you like the most, what songs in particular, what style of lyrics do you like, how important are they to you? etc. etc. @FeloniousMonk @Jackonfire For me the lyrics are very important in music, not all music obviously...like I don't expect Shakespeare when I am groovin' it out to James Brown or something, but I love poetry and appreciate good lyrics which can often be as good. So this might turn into a bit of a ramble as I have had a few pints but here we go. To start with two obvious names, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison are probably favourite lyricists of all time. Even though their styles are very different. Dylan is generally more cynical, surreal (on his electric albums most obviously and that's the stuff I like the best, but on others too) and literary in a strange sense... it's filled to the brim with characters and allusions to all kinds of things, from Shakespeare, the blues, pop culture, early american history, French Poetry the King James Bible and lots more besides. It's a constant blending of high and low culture, exemplified by a song like Tombstone Blues I think. His lyrics are obviously very political too, in the early protest songs obviously but much better to my mind in songs like It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) for example. Which is one of my absolute favourite songs, the words just ring so true to me: I could list the entire song, every verse has something worth quoting but I love this section: For them that must obey authority That they do not respect in any degree Who despise their jobs, their destinies Speak jealously of them that are free Cultivate their flowers to be Nothing more than something they invest in Another favourite is Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, which is a reference to the poem My Bohemian Life by Arthur Rimbaud (one of my favourite poets, and Bob's of course). The title itself references 'Tom Thumb' and a section in the poem (in one translation anyway) reads: My only pair of breeches had a big whole in them. – Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way. My tavern was at the Sign of the Great Bear. – My stars in the sky rustled softly. Another line reads in the song reads - I started out on Burgundy But soon hit the harder stuff while in the poem there is a reference to: And I listened to them, sitting on the road-sides On those pleasant September evenings while I felt drops Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine (which is often translated as strong burgundy). So the song itself is a kind of ironic take on the concept of a 'bohemian' life, ie. maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be. I could go on about Dylan all day, he has so many songs and so many great lyrics with great imagery like, Tombstone Blues, Highway 61 Revisited, Desolation Row and so on. I came across this great video yesterday about All Along The Watchtower, which came at a time when his lyrics where changing a bit, becoming less blatantly surreal but still very interesting: As for Van, well his lyrics are very different but just as good I think. Plus since Van is from the same place as me (literally, as well as mentally I think) I do think I feel a certain connection to his music. When Van sings about Cyprus Avenue, Sandy Row, Fitzroy Avenue and so on it does make it feel more personal. Where Bob's lyrics can be poetic because of the surreal imagery, allusions, wit, social commentary and so on...Van's lyrics are extremely poetic largely because of the words themselves, which are usually very pastoral, or even mystical at times. As a writer Van strikes me as very much in line with someone like Yeats (in terms of their outlook rather than style), someone like Garcia Lorca. Lester Bangs juxtaposed the two quite successfully: If I ventured in the slipstream Between the viaducts of your dreams Where the mobile steel rims crack And the ditch and the backroads stop Could you find me Would you kiss my eyes And lay me down In silence easy To be born again Van Morrison My heart of silk is filled with lights, with lost bells, with lilies and bees. I will go very far, farther than those hills, farther than the seas, close to the stars, to beg Christ the Lord to give back the soul I had of old, when I was a child, ripened with legends, with a feathered cap and a wooden sword. Federico Garcia Lorca German Expressionists like Rilke and Trakl are very similar is style and tone as well I think. Expressionism is an attempt to: For me this sums up well the style of Van's lyrics. Or as Wim Wenders puts it: A perfect example is on Cyprus Avenue when Van sings: I think I'll go on by the river with my cherry, cherry wine I believe I'll go walking by the railroad with my cherry, cherry wine If I pass the rumbling station where the lonesome engine drivers pine Literally it really doesn't mean an awful lot, but yet somehow it still says something meaningful and speaks to a certain kind of emotion. Obviously the whole of Astral Weeks is filled with lyrics like this... And I will stroll the merry way And jump the hedges first And I will drink the clear Clean water for to quench my thirst And I shall watch the ferry-boats And they'll get high On a bluer ocean Against tomorrow's sky And I will never grow so old again And I will walk and talk In gardens all wet with rain And he only really touched on that sort of song a few other times on his other albums. Saint Dominic's Preview and Almost Independence Day would be two other examples. The other album that is considered Astral Weeks 'twin' is Veedon Fleece, it's not as popular though for whatever reason as it's just as good... My favourite song on that album is You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River", with images like: We're goin' out in the country to get down to the real soul, I mean the real soul, people, talkin' 'bout the real soul people We're goin' out in the country, get down to the real soul We're gettin' out to the west coast.... .....Blake and the Eternals, standin' with the Sisters of Mercy Looking for the Veedon Fleece, yeah William Blake and the Eternals, standin' with the Sisters of Mercy Looking for the Veedon Fleece, yeah I could talk about Van all day as well so I'll try and stop there, though I am sure I'll post more of my favourite lyrics in the future. As well as some of my favourite current lyricists like Father John Misty, The Tallest Man on Earth, Robin Pecknold etc. So anyway, as I said in the first paragraph...who are you favourite lyricists/lyrics, what sort of lyrics do you generally like and so on?