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#818140 - 05/16/10 05:52 AM Who are today's talented lyricists?  
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ScottWendy Offline
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John Lennon once said "say what you want to say, and put a backbeat to it" when asked about his songwriting method.

One will never argue that Lennon was an extremely skillful melody writer, with a unique ability to say so much with so few words. When time permits, read the lyrics to " Imagine", "Mind Games" or "All You Need Is Love" as standard prose. Very simple stuff, isn't it? Now sing those words to the melody of those songs, and see how the lyrics come to life!!

The classic writers of the Brill Building era [e.g. Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin/ Carole King] employ the same modus operandi to the same effect.

Let's roll it forward to the present day, and let's focus on Top 40 pop music. I'll admit that I'm a little behind the times in being up-to-date with "the latest thing", however I am curious to know as to how today's successful singer-songwriter pop writers compare to previous generations.

Rap & Hip-Hop can be excluded from the comparision, as these genres focus on very "wordy" lyrics to attract the listener's ear.

Folks - it's open forum. Who are today's talented lyricists?

Regards
Scott Williams

http://teakbreath.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/liewwilliams
http://cdbaby.com/cd/liewwilliams
http://cdbaby.com/cd/liewwilliams2

#818152 - 05/16/10 07:52 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: ScottWendy]  
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WriterTomYeager Offline
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Elton John's lyricist-Bernie Taupin is definitely in the top 5 in my opinion


Tom

#818161 - 05/16/10 10:06 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: ScottWendy]  
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Mike Caro Substudio Offline
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Originally Posted by ScottWendy
John Lennon once said "say what you want to say, and put a backbeat to it" when asked about his songwriting method.

One will never argue that Lennon was an extremely skillful melody writer, with a unique ability to say so much with so few words. When time permits, read the lyrics to " Imagine", "Mind Games" or "All You Need Is Love" as standard prose. Very simple stuff, isn't it? Now sing those words to the melody of those songs, and see how the lyrics come to life!!

The classic writers of the Brill Building era [e.g. Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin/ Carole King] employ the same modus operandi to the same effect.

Let's roll it forward to the present day, and let's focus on Top 40 pop music. I'll admit that I'm a little behind the times in being up-to-date with "the latest thing", however I am curious to know as to how today's successful singer-songwriter pop writers compare to previous generations.

Rap & Hip-Hop can be excluded from the comparision, as these genres focus on very "wordy" lyrics to attract the listener's ear.

Folks - it's open forum. Who are today's talented lyricists?

Regards
Scott Williams

http://teakbreath.blogspot.com
http://www.myspace.com/liewwilliams
http://cdbaby.com/cd/liewwilliams
http://cdbaby.com/cd/liewwilliams2


Hi Scott

With all respect to Tom, Bernie & Elton are like 30 years ago already smile

You mention killer people when you talk about Lennon, Carol King etc...
The problem with excluding hip hop or rap is that is IS thee most popular music in the WORLD now. It is Pop music and has totally replaced Rock as the forefront music. That was the last century.

Not that it has surpassed it "musically" or even success wise or
any other wise lol... But it is the choice of today's youth, at least the charts seem to think so as they feed it to us Non Stop.
While there are great songwriters around, some cool bands, and some very talented singer songwriters... They do not RULE the main CHART.
Singer Songwriter POP artists? of today are completely leveled and out gunned in EVERY aspect compared to past artists. EVERY! But since POP music has changed so much it is pretty irrelevant to compare. Nobody who buys it cares!

It's just basically been maxed out by past greats that is part of the reason why it's such a different ball game and we can't exclude Hip Hop & Rap. Can't compare pop. I mean GROUPS and BANDS are pretty much out of the picture when it comes to that Top ten scene.

What we forget about the past is that not only was GREAT music really popular, even [b]pop based groups and artist were really great.[/b]

The biggest POP artists in the world today on a consistent basis are:

Taylor Swift
Beyonce
Lady Gaga
Black Eyed Peas
Justin Timberlake
Jay Z
Kayne West
Hannah
Alicia Keys
etc... etc....

Without bringing The Beatles into it at all.
Even ONE pop artist from the past evaporates all of them in every possible regard except dancing and that is Stevie Wonder

Incredible, successful 20x over, Past POP artists, artists that were on the RADIO EVERY time you turned it.

Stevie Wonder
Elton John
Billy Joel
Chicago
The Bee Gees
Paul Simon
Earth Wind & Fire
Michael Jackson
Carol King
Beach Boys

ALL POP!

Those are a few, so really Justin Timberlake isn't half of Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys or John Legend can sit at the keyboard all they want Stevie is a BETTER drummer than they they are at all they do period! And honestly Taylor Swift is NO Carol King and never will be.

Boy it goes on & on & on. And this without getting into the British Invasion, Super groups.. All Of Motown, all those other killer singer songwriters like Hank Williams, Cat Stevens, Chapin, James Taylor, Dylan, Joni Mitchell etc...
And pop bands like Three Dog Night (massive hits)

Anyhow that's over with as far as what the biz is promoting as POP music. And that KIND of talent the kind that requires musicians as well as songwriting lyrically...The level also went with it.

POP lyricists? Couldn't give you one that was anywhere near BillY Joel, Paul Simon, not even close....

Well you mentioned POP and you can go find underground more obscure artist on the net as well, there still not besting "Yellow Brick Road" "The Stranger" "Born To Run" etc...

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful smile they just don't compare. And I don't what's worse, competing with the best ever from the past with competition so thick in talent you have NO CHANCE! Or trying today where what you do is nothing like what there playing on the radio every single day. Again no chance! smile

Now can we consider Paul McCartney a Pop Artist? smile

Oh man it's like sending some player today in the local orchestra or whatever orchestra back in time to compete with Beethoven, that's what anyone making pop music today is like next to Paul. smile It's not even FAIR!

Peace
Sub


Thanks!
Peace Mike
Sub

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#818182 - 05/16/10 01:01 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
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Ray E. Strode Offline
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Aw Wells me's don't know for sure but,

I imagine you could find at least 10 top songs from writers right here on this board, if not a hundred or more. You can name drop but I ain't impressed. No one knew a song would hit it big until, ah, it hit it big.


Ray E. Strode
#818193 - 05/16/10 02:42 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Kolstad Offline
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I think of musicians like:

Bruce Springsteen (he's still of today - check out "Magic")
Bryan Adams (allthough he's not writing much new stuff now)
Dave Matthews (I think one of the best today)
Mark Knopfler (more dedicated to songwriting than ever these days)
John Mayer (very talented)
John Hiatt (still a great songwriter)
Randy Newman (still going strong)
Tori Amos (a VERY big influence in contemporary melodies)

All of these writes excellent lyrics and are widely influential.

A lot of good stuff has also come from bands in later years:
U2
Coldplay
The Killers
more.

Mike, you mention few artists that actually write, and compares them with past artists that does write?:

Taylor Swift (yes a writer, but has not been active long)
Beyonce (does she write?)
Lady Gaga (ONE record?)
Black Eyed Peas (group)
Justin Timberlake (Boyband)
Jay Z (Rapper, yes one of the best writers IMO)
Kayne West (the worlds greatest :-)
Hannah (I don't even know who this is?)
Alicia Keys (I think she qualifies)

I don't think any of these artists are particularly influential and great writers (at least yet).

I don't think it's fair to compare generations like this. Past generations could piss up a wall and be celebrated as original because there were nothing before them, and the music industry worked waaay differently.

Today artists can write the greatest song ever, without anyone recognizing it. They don't get any support from the industry, and fans don't have moral to pay for music.

Times are different, but despite of that, I think there still are some that shines through, but I tend to agree great lyric writing is in danger of being a lost art. Why? I think because noone really cares, and the accelerating nepotism in the music industry.

#818204 - 05/16/10 03:06 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Kolstad]  
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Ray E. Strode Offline
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Ray E. Strode  Offline
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Past Artists could do what up a wall and what! Sounds like you are saying I can sell Iceboxes to Eskamoos. I don't think so.


Ray E. Strode
#818221 - 05/16/10 05:31 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Mike Gowen Offline
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John Mayer is a talented writer. From his first album to now.


Mike Gowen

Los Angeles, CA

#818245 - 05/16/10 08:53 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Mike Gowen]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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I am.



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#818278 - 05/17/10 12:04 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Mike Gowen Offline
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I dig your style Jean


Mike Gowen

Los Angeles, CA

#818342 - 05/17/10 11:37 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Mike Gowen]  
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spidey Offline
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Max Martin, although he does co write a lot with other producers writers, but some songs he has written/co-written/produced:

Baby One More Time (Britney)
Show me the meaning of being lonely (Backstreet Boys)
Who Knew (Pink - he writes a lot with Pink these days and are fab in my opinion)
My Life Would Suck Without You (Kelly Clarkson)
Hot n Cold (Katy Perry)

Just a few there.

Cheers

Alan

#818441 - 05/17/10 04:14 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: spidey]  
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Kevin Edward Rose Offline
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Originally Posted by spidey
Max Martin, although he does co write a lot with other producers writers, but some songs he has written/co-written/produced:

........Hot n Cold (Katy Perry)


My daughter is upset now. She loves that song, but is troubled by the possibility that the line "You PMS like a b*tch, I should know" could have been written by a dude. whistle


Kevin Edward Rose
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#818511 - 05/17/10 10:38 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Kevin Edward Rose]  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Thanks, Mike! grin


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#818519 - 05/17/10 11:07 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Jean Bullock]  
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Russ Clayton Offline
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I'll throw out Yusuf Islam (AKA- Cat Stevens).
He dropped out of popular music back in 1977, and returned 30 years later with two new albums (Another Cup & Roadsinger). It's like he never left. Beautiful music and lyrics.

#818546 - 05/18/10 12:02 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
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Sausagelink Offline
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I was raised on country and it's hard to separate lyrics from the music. I look at great lyrics as words that stand alone away from the music. You can read 'em and catch a rhythm and they are just as good spoken as they are sung.

I think one of the best is "The Gambler" by Don Schlitz.

"My Way" is a great lyric.

"Carroll County Accident" by Bob Fergueson is a great lyric.

"Green Green Grass of Home" is a great lyric.

"Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine" is a great lyric.

Paul Simon wrote some great lyrics.

Kris Kristofferson wrote some great lyrics.

Dianne Warren wrote some great lyrics.

I think Alan Jackson's about the only one left.laugh


#818634 - 05/18/10 07:57 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Sausagelink]  
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spidey Offline
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Kevin,

Sorry for upsetting your daughter, but as I said Max cowrites a lot, and one of the co-writers on this was Katy herself, so let your daughter know, and tell her she has great taste smile I think Max co-wrote I kissed a girl as well. And that line PMS like a bitch is so good.

Ok so i did stretch it a bit and Max isn't a lyrics only, they write music and lyrics and arrange the songs and produce the songs. But I do believe he is one of the talents today, and has been since the 90s. Whataya want from me is a MArtin co-write with Pink, and Friday I'll be over u is Martin as well.

Cheers

Alan

#818635 - 05/18/10 08:03 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: spidey]  
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spidey Offline
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Hi Sausage,

Diane Warrne is good as well (for doubters check out There You'll Be...lovely) and the others you mention are great as well.

A lyrics only person I like is Tim Rice, so many great lyrics. Another and he writes the music as well is Jason Robert Brown, so deep and excellent. Check out a song called Someone to fall back on (also featured in the film Band Slam) or check out the Last Five Years and the song I can do better than that. Just pure class!!!

For great story telling lyrics check out Brian Yorkey in the musical Next to Normal, deep, straight forward, and passionate. Another class act.

Alan

#818643 - 05/18/10 09:05 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: spidey]  
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Sausagelink Offline
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I'll check out those writers you mention Spidey. Thanks for the names.

I looked up the lyrics to the Katy Perry song. I can't find the greatness. I see some rhymes and some lines I like in the song but "PMS like a bitch?" I can't dig it, man.

#818991 - 05/19/10 10:12 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Sausagelink]  
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The trouble nowadays with most POP is that there is really no such thing as a proper song...it is just a bunch of production tools and a sexy video used to deliver a beat.
Take away the overused Melodyne and snazzy production and there is little or no substance left either lyrically or melody wise. Kids just follow the beat and watch the pretty bodies dance. Most have no idea what the song is about or even what the shallow moronic lyrics mean (just as well). They just admire the scantily dressed, sexy bodies.
Sadly I have come to the conclusion that I will not make it as a popstar now...I do not have the body for it.

#819165 - 05/19/10 09:30 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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JesseH Offline
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#1 Dave Matthews
#2 Jack Johnson
#3 Mat Kearney is coming out with some really good stuff as well.


Life's a journey, enjoy the ride.
#819233 - 05/20/10 04:40 AM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: JesseH]  
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Kevin Edward Rose Offline
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Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,478
Richmond, IN U.S.A.
I'm impressed with a lot of Jason Mraz's lyrics.


Kevin Edward Rose
Celtic, Americana, whatever the folk.
Hailed by Performing Songwriter magazine as a "valued subscriber".
More music sold than Elvis and the Beatles combined!*
http://www.KevinEdwardRose.com
http://www.youtube.com/KevinEdwardRose
#819296 - 05/20/10 12:02 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Kevin Edward Rose]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 2,856
Nigel Quin Offline
Nigel Quin  Offline

Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 2,856
Birmingham, UK
Here’s a couple of my current faves:

Colin Molloy – The Decemberists
Steve Knightley – Show of Hands

Both fine lyrical songwriters and both have something worthwhile to say

#819525 - 05/20/10 10:54 PM Re: Who are today's talented lyricists? [Re: Nigel Quin]  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 371
spidey Offline
Serious Contributor
spidey  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 371
A band called The Script are pretty good as well.


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