My favourite lyricists:
All of the following artists do something unique or extra special in regards to lyric writing. They are talented, interesting and write lyrics that are remarkable (in the actual use of the word.)
1. Maynard James Keenan (Tool) – Covers a large amount of ground, with humour, intrigue and genuine insight. Consistent and impressive.
2. Neil Fallon (Clutch) – One of the most unique and memorable lyricists I’ve ever heard. Very humorous but also very learned.
3. Drew Mailloux (Rishloo) – Insightful, inventive and consistent.
4. Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) – Some things he does are quirky and interesting, some things are humourous and some things are very insightful. Overall he is an immensely talented and varied lyricist who covers a lot of ground very well.
5. Jamie Jasta (Hatebreed) – Positive messages delivered in an anthemic and easy to digest style.
6. Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) – There’s some things I don’t like but his level of quality and consistency overall is almost unparalleled.
7. Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God) – You wouldn’t imagine it on first impressions, but the man can deliver very intelligent and important points in creative and dramatic ways. Its not all just vengeance fantasy.
8. Ronnie Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – A very concise and interesting lyricist who can perfectly construct an engaging story or political point within tasteful and clever limitations.
9. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) – There’s some high profile things that I don’t like but his level of quality and consistency overall is very good.
10. Chad Grey/Matt McDonnagh (Mudvayne) – Despite an overabundance of swearing on their debut, almost everything they write is intelligent, fresh and interesting.
(Honourable Mentions: Eddie Vedder, Dave Wyndorf, Trent Reznor – All are great lyricists and would definitely be next in line if the list were longer, but I just don’t like them as much as the ones in the current list.)
My least favourite lyricsts that I still like:
All of the following lyricists are artists that I do like, but which I would place as the least favourite in terms of exclusively lyric writing.
This is not a deliberate or ill-natured attack as they have still sometimes written some things that I like, and this is all subjective and based on my personal taste anyway.
1. Corey Taylor (Slipknot/Stone Sour) – Often contradictory, often over-elaborate, often too negative, often too much swearing, rarely concise, rarely creative.
2. Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) – Rhyming is placed as priority number one, at the expense of grammar, flow, structure, taste, decency and anything else. Too self-referential and too much swearing.
3. Johnny Van Zant (Lynyrd Skynyrd) – Pandering. Obvious, constant pandering.
4. Ollie Sykes (Bring Me The Horizon) – Some interesting or creative lyrics but overall too much violence against women and too much negativity.
5. LG Petrov (Entombed) – Perhaps it the language barrier, but there are a lot of things that are silly or in poor taste.
6. Max Cavelera (Soulfly/Sepultura) – Too much repetition, too many portmanteaus and no particular insight.
7. Dani Filth (Cradle Of Filth) – Too much lyrics. An absolute barrage of too many words, often overtly sexual in nature, sometimes containing bad puns. Never, ever concise. I am not a fan of fantasy lyrics anyway.
8. Ozzy – Possible Pandering. Sometimes too saccharine, sometimes too silly, sometimes too self-referential, rarely insightful.
9. The Whole Band (Kiss) – Most of their lyrics aren’t to my tastes.
10. Jonathan Davis (Korn) – Too much repetition, possible pandering and rarely covers new ground.
(Honourable Mentions: Phil Anselmo, Ivan Moody and Dave Mustaine – all were not included because of the large proportion of good or great lyrics they have written, but came close because of the small proportion of lyrics I roll my eyes at. (‘Kissed a fuckin freight train,’ ‘They can lick my sack,’ ‘His man-pussy was sold’ etc
Also; Marilyn Manson on albums after Holywood would be number one, but the lyrics on the three albums that I do love prevent him being on the list.)