Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fun List: The Greatest Lyricists of All Time


He comes from Chino, so all your threats are empty.

In rough order of importance, I listed below just about every songwriter I believe to be noteworthy in the great pantheon of lyric writing. Yes, I left off Bono and 2pac, wanna cry about it? I might've left out a handful, but I certainly covered the majority of personally significant artists I've experienced.

Bob Dylan
Liz Phair
Eef Barzelay (Clem Snide)
Travis Morrison (The Dismemberment Plan)
Eminem
Tom Waits
Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers)
Buck 65
Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground)
Kimya Dawson (The Moldy Peaches)
Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)
John Darinelle (The Mountain Goats)
Rhett Miller (Old 97's)
Jay-Z
Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields)
Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan)
Polly Jean Harvey (PJ Harvey)
Shane McGowan (Pogues)
Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)
Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley)
John Linnell/John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)
Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)
Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service)
Dean Wareham (Luna, Galaxie 500)
Thom Yorke (Radiohead)
John Lennon (The Beatles)
MC Paul Barman
Lucinda Williams
Nellie McKay
Craig Finn (The Hold Steady)
Amy Rigby
The Notorious B.I.G.
Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)
Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth)
James Mercer (The Shins)
Tim Kasher (Cursive)
Anna Waronker (that dog)
Jemina Pearl (Be Your Own Pet)
Paul Simon
Jens Lekman
Cody ChesnuTT
Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)
Ani DiFranco
Jonathan Richman (The Modern Lovers)
Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, The Folk Implosion)
Del The Funky Homosapien
Regina Spektor
Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)
Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing)
Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft)
Todd Snider
Colin Meloy (The Decemberists)
Brother Ali
Vast Aire (Cannibal Ox)
Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers)
Ludacris
Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse)
Elliott Smith
Tricky
El-P
Black Francis (Pixies)
Serj Tankian (System of a Down)
Corin Tucker/Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney)
Stephen Malkmus (Pavement)
Jack White (The White Stripes)
Kanye West
Warren Zevon
Black Thought (The Roots)
Beck
(EDIT: Nas)
Ed Hamell (Hamell on Trial)
Sage Francis (Non-Prophets)
Leah Archibald (Wide Right)
Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre)
Erykah Badu
Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo)
Exene Cervenka (X)
Jill Scott
Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian)
Doug Martsch (Built to Spill)
Adam Schelisinger (Fountains of Wayne)
Freedy Johnston
Mr. Lif
Bradley Nowell (Sublime)
LL Cool J
Slug (Atmosphere)
Britt Daniel (Spoon)
Rhymefest
David Byrne (Talking Heads)
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello)
Layne Staley/Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains)
Pete Townshend (The Who)
Canibus
Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips)
Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)
Bruce Springsteen
Cee-Lo (Goodie Mob, Gnarls Barkley)
Fiona Apple
Iggy Pop (The Stooges)
Lauryn Hill (Fugees)
Jean Grae
Rufus Wainwright
Neil Young
Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)
E (Eels)
KRS-One (Boogie Down Productions)

4 Comments:

Blogger jen. said...

pssst. guess who?

6:03 PM, October 16, 2006  
Blogger kiss out the jams said...

penguing?

2:29 PM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger Janssen McCormick said...

His output might be extremely limited (because honestly, most of the tracks on The Big Picture were freestyles put to new beats with guest verses tacked on) but Big L warrants mention when discussing the greatest lyricists. He had some of the best one-liners and his narratives were damn good.

I'm a huge DefJux fan but I'd probably put Nas and Prodigy (at least on Mobb Deep's first three albums and H.N.I.C.) ahead of Vast Aire and Mr. Lif.

11:30 PM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger kiss out the jams said...

i'll have to check out big l again, cuz he's been recommended to me by alot of people and i like what i've heard (even though i don't remember it at all). i'm pretty embarassed that i forgot nas and i'd stick him in between beck and ed hammell. let it be known that i'm strictly stillmatic/lost tapes/god's son/street's disciple. illmatic is one of the most overrated albums i've ever heard, and his other pre-stillmatic albums are musically a joke, though i admittedly didn't pay attention to the words on say, "nastradamus". i hate mobb deep and prodigy. vast aire is a clever, clever guy. have you heard that el-p track that he puts like 6 jimi hendrix references in one stanza? plus, he singlehandedly reinvented the word "son". lif is admirably straightforward in his delivery if a little corny, yeah. but he's underrated.

6:42 PM, October 23, 2006  

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