In my opinion lyrics add the most substance to a song’s worth as art.. Unfortunately, most songs that have come out recently (well, for a while now) are just plain terrible. This of course is a subjective opinion, and if you don’t like it… well then you better not put a ring on it.
As a writer I am fascinated by words and stories, and songs often transcend mere storytelling by being textured with so many levels of passion. These levels include songwriting, melodies, harmonies, performance and the likes. I’ve put together a little list of 10 songs written since the 90’s (I don’t want to fight with Queen, Dylan or Lennon loyalists) that I think contain some of the best lyrics, and have shared my personal favourite lines as well. Give them a read and a listen, and feel free add to the list in the comments. There is obviously so much that I have missed.
I Sing I Swim – Seabear
I miss you, even when you’re around
I’m a black cloud,
Sending lightning to the ground.
Dress Up in You – Belle and Sebastian
If I could have a second skin
I’d probably dress up in you.
Talk Tonight – Oasis
All your dreams are made
Of strawberry lemonade
And you make sure I eat today
You take me, walking
To where you played when you were young.
Another Universe – Arno Carstens
From the galaxy of blues
To a universe we choose
No more crying and just maybe
Somebody to hold.
Wolves in the Garden – The Deadly Syndrome
I know I could have saved us
But we’d have never known this day
If this is where we had to go
Well then I’m glad we went this way.
All that’s left to see is
What kind of flowers we’ll become
I’m sure we’ll be the kind that
Bring children out into the sun
Modern Jesus – Portugal. The Man
You don’t need sympathy
They got a pill for everything
And when the wave approaches
Take our ashes to the ocean
Who cares if hell awaits?
We’re having drinks at heaven’s gate.
Paranoid Android – Radiohead
When I am king, you will be first against the wall
With your opinion which is of no consequence at all.
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
And I told you to be patient,
And I told you to be fine,
And I told you to be balanced,
And I told you to be kind,
And now all your love is wasted,
Then who the hell was I?
‘Cause now I’m breaking at the britches,
And at the end of all your lines.
New Slang – The Shins
New slang when you notice the stripes, the dirt in your fries.
Hope it’s right when you die, old and bony.
Dawn breaks like a bull through the hall,
never should’ve called.
But my head’s to the wall and I’m lonely.
I’m looking in on the good life I might be doomed never to find.
The Whole Damn Song – Gold Day, Sparklehorse