In an age of music industry PR dominance we see factory formulated success with hit after hit. Who isn't getting tired of this sad ol' routine when we know poetic greatness when we hear it.
A quick glance back through the best-selling singles of the last 10 years in the UK makes for depressing reading. Many of the top tunes since 2002 have included protege's of Simon Cowell's money-making juggernaut... think Will Young, Michelle McManus, Steve Brookstein, Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, all releasing covers of other Artists' work. And don't forget the 2005 chart-topper from Tony Christie and Peter Kay on their quest to find Amarillo.
Add to these the resurgence of dance music and the development of drum and bass among other less lyrically-led genres and it might seem that this decade has been lacking in the kind of poetry on show during the days of Lennon or Morrissey. The Beatles publicly announced "Rock and roll will be whatever we make it." But does that mean the musicians of today are less interested in sharing their thoughts, and more interested in simply releasing tunes just to make money?
Perhaps we are judging this era too harshly. Coldplay have kept up the good work with their fourth and fifth studio albums to produce great tracks such as "Violet Hill" and "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" which will stick with us for decades to come. Lady Gaga for all her odd outfits and bizarre antics has proved herself to be a classy songwriter through tracks such as "Bad Romance" and "Paparazzi". But some of the most memorable lyrics of the last 10 years have to have been written by Mike Skinner of The Streets. In "Dry Your Eyes" he expressed exactly how it felt to go through a break up with "I know it's hard to take but her mind has been made up".
There are also several Mercury Prize winners and nominees that stand out from the crow. Dizzee Rascal won the 2003 with his machine-gun delivery of lines reflecting the harsh reality of urban life and his own rise to success in songs such as "Just A Rascal". With their first big hit "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor" the Arctic Monkeys went from world's biggest unsigned band to one of the most successful, thanks to lyrics such as:
I wish you'd stop ignoring me, because you're sending me to despair,
Without a sound yeh you're calling me, and I don't think it's very fair,
That your shoulders are frozen (cold as the night),
Oh and you're an explosion (you're dynamite).
For Indie anthems you need look no further than the Kings of Leon and their remarkable "Sex on Fire":
The soft lips are open,
The knuckles are pale,
It feels like you're dying,
And you, your sex is on fire.
But the final word must go to Adele, who has produced two best-selling and multi-award-winning albums including Grammys, Brits and Ivor Novello Awards. "Hometown Glory", "Set Fire to the Rain" and "Rolling in the Deep" have all been praised for their lyrical content but the singer/songwriter from Tottenham hit new heights after releasing "Someone Like You". Sometimes the simplest and most profound lyrics are the best, and in the last 10 years nothings come close to Adele when she tells us, "Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead."
by Liam Carey @Bandpages