As I was doing my daily rounds of other metal websites towards the end of last week, I happened upon an article by Invisible Oranges’ Justin Norton, who was running down a list of the top ten metal lyricists. He rightly made the point that “metal has evolved to the point where the best lyricists could be considered writers, even outside their songs”. Now, that’s pretty obvious in of itself, but that’s an argument regarding the semantics of what to consider a ‘writer’, and not the point I’m getting to at all.
Now, aside from being crestfallen that Every Time I Die‘s Keith Buckley didn’t even make the list – let alone top it (and I extolled his virtues myself last Thursday) – it got me thinking about lyrics in general, and how awesome they are – but on the flipside how terrible some lyrics are, despite being delivered by some quality frontmen.
It’s very much the same as being able to play the guitar really well, but having no skill at writing your own material whatsoever. A terribly-written tune is pretty obvious to spot, but is it the same for poor lyrics, especially in a genre where words aren’t always so easy to make out?