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Old 08-11-2008, 11:16 PM   #1
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Top 10 Songwriters,

Name your top 10 songwriters, and name the track you think best represents there talent.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:22 PM   #2
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this sounds like an assignment. and you mean BUSINESS.

this also sounds very hard.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:02 AM   #3
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Ummmm I hate challenges like this...but at the same time I always try and contribute, I'll get back to this, but have to wonder what criteria you're looking for, individual songwriters, or collaborators included, etc.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:15 AM   #4
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I'll split my list between top 5 classic songwriters, and the top 5 present day songwriters

The classics

1. Bob Dylan

Best song: I could choose just about anything, but I'll go with It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding.

Notable excerpt: "While preachers preach of evil fates/Teachers teach that knowledge waits/Can lead to hundred-dollar plates/Goodness hides behind its gates/But even the president of the United States/Sometimes must have/ To stand naked."

2. Bruce Springsteen

Best Song: Jungleland

Notable excerpt: "Outside the Streets on fire in a real death waltz/ Between flesh and what's fantasy and the poets down here/Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be/ And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment/ And try to make an honest stand but they wind up wounded, not even dead/ Tonight in Jungeland"

3. Tom Waits

Best Song: Singapore

Notable excerpt: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"

4. Neil Young

Best song: Ambulance Blues

Notable exerpt: "And there ain't nothin' like a friend who can tell you you're just pissin' in the wind"

5. Leonard Cohen

Best song: Suzanne

Notable excerpt: "And you want to travel with her/And you want to travel blind/And you know that she will trust you/ For you've touched her perfect body with your mind"

Best modern songwriters

1. Joanna Newsom

Best Song: Only Skin

A note about this Notable excerpt:There are two voices, the second voice is represented with italics

"All my bones they are gone, gone, gone Take my bones, I don't need none / Cold, cold cupboard, Lord, nothing to chew on! ,suck all day on a cherry stone /Dig a little hole, not three inches round,Spit your pit in the hole in the ground /Weep upon the spot for the starving of me! Till up grow a fine young cherry tree /Well when the bough breaks, what'll you make for me? A little willow cabin to rest on your knee /What'll I do with a trinket such as this? Think of your woman, who's gone to the west /But I'm starving and freezing in my measly old bed! Then I'll crawl accross the salt flats to stroke your sweet head /Come accross the desert with no shoes on, I love you truly, or I love no one.

2. John Darnielle (of the Mountain Goats)

Best song: No Children

Notable excerpt: "I am drowning/ There is no sign of land/ You are coming with me Hand in unlovable hand/ And I hope you die/ I hope we both die"

3. Elliott Smith

Best song:Between the Bars

Notable excerpt: "Drink up baby, stay up all night/The things that you could do, you won't but you might/The potential you'll be that you'll never see/The promises you'll only make"

4. Will Sheff (of Okkervil River)

Best song: Black Sheep Boy (from the appendix)

Notable Excerpt: "And inside the mirror, Well I saw you staring, staring out/ I'd recognize your eyes/You fell for any of the lines that come flying out/ Nothing I've heard from you sounds sane or safe/Words falling down from the ceiling/where the mirror is stealing/the light to reveal us both tonight/and we're both kneeling in the black pool of your shadow"

5. Nick Cave

Best Song:O'Malley's Bar

Notable Excerpt: "I swooped magnificent upon her/As she sat shivering in her grief/Like the madonna painted on the church-house wall/In whale's blood and banana leaf/Her throat it crumpled in my fist/And I spun heroically around/to see Caffrey rising from his seat/I shot that mother fucker down"
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:34 AM   #5
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my quick list

bob dylan
bruce springsteen
tom waits
morrissey
bono
ryan adams
jeff tweedy
conor oberst
neil young

i dont know 10th place would be some sort of coin toss
elvis costello/leonard cohen/
andrew bird/ matt berninger/ rufus wainwright
etc...
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:38 AM   #6
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ah I forgot about Jeff Tweedy.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerhour24 View Post
Ummmm I hate challenges like this...but at the same time I always try and contribute, I'll get back to this, but have to wonder what criteria you're looking for, individual songwriters, or collaborators included, etc.
Bands can be included aswell, if there is more than one songwriter, such as with U2 [Bono/Edge] that is fine too,

I'm Ready seems to have his top 10 done v well.
great idea splitting old and young into two sections!
GREAT choices aswell,
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:51 AM   #8
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Bob Dylan
Bruce Springsteen
R.E.M.

and a few other people...
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:15 AM   #9
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having just heard love and theft again the other day... dylan pretty much has to be number 1.
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:31 AM   #10
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maaan forgot about stipe
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:24 AM   #11
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I wish I had the time to comment a little more on each artist, but a simple list will just have to do for now. I assume, based on the replies, that the focus here is more so on lyrical quality than the music.

1. Roger Waters (most of his solo material and his work with Pink Floyd circa 1973-1983)
1. Leonard Cohen (no, that's not a mistake in the rankings - I can't choose between the two of them)
3. Nick Drake
4. Bob Dylan
5. Neil Young
6. John Lennon
7. Colin Meloy
8. Jeff Tweedy
9. Conor Oberst (I hate the guy's voice, but he writes good songs.)
10. Bono (circa 1987-1991. It's a small window, I agree, but a mostly brilliant one.)

I'm finding it difficult to decide which of their songs best represent their lyrical abilities. There's really no question in my mind when it comes to Leonard Cohen, though. I fell in love with "Master Song" on my very first listen.


I believe that you heard your master sing
when I was sick in bed.
And I suppose that he told you everything
that I keep locked away in my head?
Your master took you travelling,
well, at least that's what you said.
And now do you come back to bring your prisoner wine and bread?

You met him at some temple
where they take your clothes at the door.
He was just a numberless man in a chair
who had just come back from the war.
And you wrap up his tired face in your hair,
and he hands you the apple core.
Then he touches your lips, now so suddenly bare
of all the kisses we put on sometime before.

And he gave you a german shepherd to walk
with a collar of leather and nails.
And he never once made you explain or talk
about all of the little details;
Such as who had a word and who had a rock
and who had you through the mails.
Now your love is a secret all over the block,
and it never stops, not even when your master fails.

And he took you up in his aeroplane
which he flew without any hands.
And you cruised above the ribbons of rain
that drove the crowd from the stands.
Then he killed the lights in a lonely lane
and an ape with angel glands
erased the final wisps of pain
with the music of rubber bands.

And now I hear your master sing.
You kneel for him to come.
His body is a golden string
that your body is hanging from.
His body is a golden string,
my body has grown numb.
Oh, now you hear you master sing.
Your shirt is all undone.

And will you kneel beside this bed
that we polished so long ago,
before your master chose instead
to make my bed of snow?
Your eyes are wild and your knuckles are red,
and you are speaking far too low.
No, I can't make out what your master said before he made you go.

And I think you're playing far too rough
for a lady who's been to the moon.
I've lain by this window long enough;
you get used to an empty room.
And your love is some dust
in an old man's cuff, who is tapping his foot to a tune.
And your thighs are ruined, you want too much.
Let's say you came back sometime too soon.

I loved your master perfectly,
and I taught him all that he knew.
He was starving in some deep mystery,
like a man who is sure what is true.
And I sent you to him with my guarantee
I could teach him something new.
And I taught him how you would long for me
no matter what he said, no matter what you do.

And I believe that you heard your master sing
while I was sick in bed.
And I'm sure that he told you everything
I must keep locked away in my head.
Your master took you travelling,
well, at least that's what you said.
And now do you come back to bring your prisoner wine and bread?


I've no idea what it's about, but it's bloody perfect. The words, the delivery...just perfect.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm Ready View Post
2. Bruce Springsteen

Best Song: Jungleland

Notable excerpt: "Outside the Streets on fire in a real death waltz/ Between flesh and what's fantasy and the poets down here/Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be/ And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment/ And try to make an honest stand but they wind up wounded, not even dead/ Tonight in Jungeland"


What is that song actually about?
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COBL_04 View Post
What is that song actually about?
Jungleland is about EVERYTHING

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Old 08-12-2008, 04:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I'm finding it difficult to decide which of their songs best represent their lyrical abilities. There's really no question in my mind when it comes to Leonard Cohen, though. I fell in love with "Master Song" on my very first listen.
"Suzanne" always gets me:

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from china
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes you hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From salvation army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind


I really need to listen to his work more often. He really is a fantastic songwriter.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:25 AM   #15
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1. Bob Dylan - because it's fuckin Dylan
2. Lennon - no need to explain
3. Leonard Cohen - just the fact that everyone in the world needs to do their version of 'Halleluiah' speaks volumes.
4. Springsteen - Bruce has a way of putting the politician, the blue collar worker, and the spiritual all in one song without pretension.
5. Bono/Edge - Well we're on a U2 fansite so I'm sure most of know the strength of their song-writing abilities. But, I'd like to point out Two Shots of Happy, to me this is a perfect example of a songwriter who has the ability to step out and write for someone else, I think it shows diversity.
6. Ryan Adams - It's almost impossible to find that one song that shows everything he has, but I would have to say 'Oh My Sweet Carolina'. But Ryan is also one of those guys who can write for others as well and his songs translate well when others cover them.
7. Eddie Vedder - Sure this guy has a great band behind him, but I think he has proven himself as a great songwriter on his own. Apparently he wrote Betterman when he was 18. He's also one of those that can do the emotional, political, etc...
8. Elton John - Elton isn't someone I put in the CD player a lot, but I recognise that he's an amazing songwriter, especially his ballads. Tiny Dancer
9. Pete Townshend - Just one title: Baba O'Riley
10. R.E.M. - Now I list the band instead of just Michael because I'm not sure how much of the music side Michael brings, it doesn't seem like Michael is one of those that comes into the studio with songs already written. And the reason they come in at 10 is a lot of their stuff wouldn't transfer well if someone else was performing it, but the times when Michael really writes a great lyric it's beautiful. Find the River



Honarable mentions:

Prince (1980's)
Roy Orbinson
John Fogerty
Cobain
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