Hey, so this week (no I’m not dedicating a whole article to the Power Ballad ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme, no one needs to be doing that) I am having a geeze at my favourite lyricist – sorry not all local, something I can’t help. It’s obvious that music is amazing, that’s why I write it and write about it non-stop. Lyrics though, they can make or break a track. It’s all well and good having great instrumentation and in some cases that’s all it takes, but to really connect you need those words to be hitting home with your listeners.
So I’ll start by saying lyrics are very subjective and can mean something different to anyone on any day. Connecting with lyrics truly depends on the way you are feeling a certain day and we all know that changes as quickly as the chords in a 280bpm track. Writing lyrics is just as important as listening to them, for me anyway. It’s a great exercise to release emotions and feelings you’ve been having and it’s pretty much the only outlet I feel comfortable with truly expressing how I’m feeling – but enough of about me, let’s get down to business.
In no particular order:
Conor Oberst // Bright Eyes // Landlocked Blues
Conor is a true poet. He is a wordsmith along the lines of a Bob Dylan and his vocals fit them perfectly. I got into Bright Eyes when I was around 16 years of age and it cannot be understated the effect his words had on me at such a growing time in my life. All his songs has lyrics that are thought provoking, intricate and layered on thick. I could post all his songs up here for you to listen to/read but I’ll go with the one that stopped me in my tracks as a 17 year old who was lost in love.
‘And the world's got me dizzy again
You think after 22 years I'd be used to the spin
And it only feels worse when I stay in one place
So I'm always pacing around or walking away’
Justin Furstenfeld // Blue October // The Money Tree
OH MANNNNNNNN Justin hits me right in the feels every time I put Blue October on. His had a hard life, his battled serious mental health issue and has gone through a hell of a bitter relationship/divorce. His lyrics are not for the light hearted, sometimes they are outright mean and hateful and I love them for that. His gotten a lot happier as he has grown older, something that reflects in his music but by god his older music will slap you in the face like a tonne of bricks and they don’t let you get a moment of recovery in between the next stack of bricks comes storming down on you.
‘I need support, not a slap in the face
You have to trust me or I'm sure this will blow up in your face
Our love was such an angel, she doesn't even know
We've torn each other down in ways we don't even know’
Wil Wagner // The Smith Street Band // Suffer
NAH MATE HOW CAN YOU BE SO CONNECTED WITH ME WHEN YOU ARE NOT ME. Wil gets me, he gets lots of people, that’s half the reason he is as successful in this music game as he is. His vulnerable and honest. Not afraid to take a long look at himself or the others around him and really tell it how it is. Suffer was a track that when I heard it my first thought was, ‘Fuck me? Did I write that?’ Not because I’m a wordsmith like him, nowhere near it. Just because it’s how I was feeling at that exact moment. What a song, what a man and what a band.
‘You only want me to change
when the way that I have Always been
has a new negative effect on you’
Eso // Bliss n Eso // Reflections
Bliss n Eso have always been my favourites rappers/artist/group whatever you want to call them. They were the reason I got into Hip Hop as a 18 year old. I love their message, their music and their whole demeanour. But Eso is the icing on the cake. His lyrics are relatable, up lifting and really heartfelt. He doesn’t waste your time on too many metaphors going for the more relatable approach and telling you how it is. His verse in ‘Reflections’ is still my favourite rap I’ve listened to.
‘On the brink stop and think
I'm telling you dreams don't cost a thing
I know we all die alone but I feel faith within that cosmic link’
Elliot Smith // Rose Parade
Elliot is much like Conor, real honest and a wordsmith that will more than likely never receive the recognition he should have and unfortunately has passed away so I can’t see it changing anymore. He was a man who didn’t enjoy the limelight, from what I could tell anyway. He was a great musician though and a great artist – his words paint pictures of heartache and sadness, but they paint it beautifully.
‘The trumpet has obviously been drinking
'Cos he's fucking up even the simplest lines
They say it's a sight that's quite worth seeing
It's just that everyone's interest is stronger than mine
When they clean the streets I'll be the only shit that's left behind’
So those are my main standouts. There are a lot of other whose lyrics have hit home with me and still do, but these are the ones that really hit me hard even still to this day. From being a teenager and feeling like it was me against the world, from my early twenties when it was me trying to change the world, to me now accepting I’m not going to be able to change much about the world and being fine with that, these artists words still have an effect on me that will never go away.
Who are you favourite lyricist?
Nostalgic Track of The Week
Concrete Blondes // Joey
Dan’s Local Track of The Week
Lifeboat // Mixed Metaphors