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Is Neil Peart your favorite lyricist?


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Is Neil Peart your favorite lyricist?  

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  1. 1. Is Neil Peart your favorite lyricist?

    • He is absolutely #1 on my list - the undisputed lord of lyrics!
      1
    • He's #1 - others come close, but he edges them out!
      4
    • He's #1 sometimes, but the battle for top spot never ends!
      4
    • He's in my top 5 for sure!
      4
    • He's possibly a top 10
      7
    • He doesn't even break my top 10 list
      0


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Once more unto the breach!

 

Is Neil Peart your favorite lyricist?

We know that he dazzles with drumming, but does he wow with words as well?

 

Key distinction time yet again! - "favorite", not necessarily "the best"

 

 

What say you? Is The Professor the top of the class when it comes to lyrics?

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My vote assumes that half of the lyrics for Test for Echo were typed at random by monkeys rather than written by Peart.

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Neil is responsible for some of my favourite lyrics - but on occasion some of my least favourite (Half the World, Dog Years, Color of Right). I think Dylan is my favourite, as he`s funnier than Neil ever tried to be (but just as capable of producing the occasional shocker - "Wiggle Wiggle", "Man Gave Names to all the Animals").

 

I really do care about lyrics in songs, whereas I know a lot of people are not bothered at all. Lou Reed was probably right when he said you don`t read a good book and think "wow, let`s put that to music!", but for me it`s an integral part of any great track.

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13 hours ago, laughedatbytime said:

My vote assumes that half of the lyrics for Test for Echo were typed at random by monkeys rather than written by Peart.

The monkeys did their best. It wasn`t random! :sad:

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Probably top 10 for me although at times he would be in my top 5.

My favourite would be Dylan.

 

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He's written some good songs but I wouldn't put him on the same level of Petty, Dylan, Taupin and Lennon/McCartney.  Hell, there are two better Canadian song writers, Neil Young and, someone who I've been getting into this year, the late Leonard Cohen.

Speaking of which, I've pondered getting into Joni Mitchell of late.

Edited by invisible airwave
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He has some absolutely brilliant moments.

 

The Pass is brilliant - his lifting of Oscar Wilde’s passage is beautiful.

 

Vapor Trail is another moving piece.

 

So much of his 80s work is really inspiring. Between the Wheels, Time Stand Still, Red Barchetta. Just evocative and almost illustrated.

 

I think he burned out around Presto - while the Pass is gorgeous, we see an abundance of pablum on that album. 
 

It really got bad at Test 4 Echo. Every track was cringe. Even the best song “Totem” seemed like he was singing about his dick.

Edited by chemistry1973
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He sometimes rises to the top, but there are others up there too.

I've often found him a bit of a hit or miss lyricist....when he's good he's very very good, but when he is bad......Jesus wept.

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Overall he's written some fabulous songs, some stinkers that other referred to here.  Still can't beat Lennon/McCartney completely and Sting has a claim on my admiration for some beautiful and catchy songs.

 

Still love that Neil quoted Shakespeare in the lyrics for Limelight, it is a perfect song IMHO.

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On 9/13/2022 at 8:15 PM, chemistry1973 said:

He has some absolutely brilliant moments.

 

The Pass is brilliant - his lifting of Oscar Wilde’s passage is beautiful.

 

Vapor Trail is another moving piece.

Neil was great at paraphrasing great writers and filling songs with big ideas.  The downside is that he could be a little too prosaic for my tastes.  I think the album Vapor Trails contains some of his best work as a lyricist, as they are more personal, emotional, and poetic.

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On 9/13/2022 at 10:27 AM, IbanezJem said:

 Lou Reed was probably right when he said you don`t read a good book and think "wow, let`s put that to music!"...

Exactly what Neil did, lol

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He is not my favourite, no.

But for darn sure, he went through such effort to get permission, to give perspective, to explain why, to share his purposes for using lyrics.

As a rock musician he is way up on my list because of his pure effort. While there are many songs that I hugely love and respect for what he wrote, let's remember that the music his words were written to, two other guys put them to music (generally).

 

Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Gord Downie, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Daniel Lanois - all wrote amazing lyrics and put them to music as they wished them to sound. And those are just the Canadians that come to mind.

 

Yes I really like Neil's lyrics and have spent too many hours collating and printing many of them into my own little RUSH folders, but I think I need to realise my bias and admit that many, many others had more time to really express words-to-song than he was able to achieve.

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Ugh. I have a confession to make.

I thought I was trying to be objective and recognising other great lyricists. Perhaps even trying to sound smarter or more aware than I really am.

Who is a favourite? Who is the best? See, I often find the difference between those qualifiers a challenge in the polls of these forums.

 

I spent the day in my front yard helping a contractor demolish an old (110 years) retaining wall so a new one could be built.

It was hot and humid and my mind kept playing this topic over and over . I have to admit, I felt a little guilty. Or put in my place?

 

Neil has to be my favourite lyricist.

His words filled my head as a boy delivering the morning newspapers on my Globe & Mail route.

They sang on long road trips over my entire life.

I listened to his lyrics on long bicycle trips.

I know they were at times delayed before publishing rights were granted, it mattered that much to him.

Geddy has discussed the back and forth of some passages for better comprehension and presentation.

And it has to be acknowledged that it's Geddy's approach and voice to the lyrics that kept me listening to the band my whole life. Yes Alex, too, the band culture also - but this is about lyrics.

 

And it's not just, I realise, that Alex and Geddy made music for his lyrics (as other artists were able to make their own music to their own lyrics, as mentioned above) but that they made music to his lyrics.

And then he got to accent his expressions with percussion. Very cool. Maybe Phil Collins can say the same, Stewart Copeland? Or other musicians?

Properly ironic or not, arguably their most famous song Tom Sawyer to this day credits Copeland for the lyrics - maybe that is indicative of a mature and able lyricist?

 

Yup, Neil is my favourite.

 

Edit: Oops, Mr. Copeland is not behind Tom Sawyer. It was Max Webster's Pye Dubois. 

 

Edited by Bahamas
Wrong credit for Tom Sawyer
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On 9/16/2022 at 3:40 PM, Fridge said:

He sometimes rises to the top, but there are others up there too.

I've often found him a bit of a hit or miss lyricist....when he's good he's very very good, but when he is bad......Jesus wept.

 

:goodone:

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I love a lot of what Neil does, and it was very formative for me as a young music fan, but he wouldn't honestly be my favourite.  He is totally unique...and like the band itself, I kind of approach his lyrics in that vein.  I find it hard to "compare" him to other lyricists, because he often has that slightly removed, analytical bend to his writing that you don't find that often.  He talks about emotional things, and I do find a lot of that stuff (as opposed to something like Cygnus X1) moving...but it is a very specific kind of emotional reaction.  His lyrics, for me, never "cut deep" like many great writers I love - Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Aimee Mann, Pete Townshend, Costello etc etc... 

 

Growing up as a Rush fan, I can remember thinking that someone who writes about black holes and Greek gods and tide pools is music for smart people, and someone who writes about girls and relationships is for dumb people.  And, I think, having some friends who were into Kiss and that kinda think, I did feel justified in that perspective.  But then you mature a bit and discover that binary does NOT exist, and very smart, insightful poets write about emotion.  The umbrella of what I like is so much broader than it was when all I did was eat sleep and breathe Rush.

 

But I could rattle off tons of Neil lyrics that I adore and that always stay with me.  I love his word play, I love his attention to detail.  I love, as a drummer, his rhythmic sensibilities around language.  But it is a pretty specific thing, and sometimes it hits more in the head than the heart.  Although they make very different music, I often think that he has a little in common with David Byrne as a lyricist - they're both kinda like aliens observing the human condition, haha.

 

A Rush song popped up on a playlist when I was on a road trip with my then girlfriend now wife...and she is always willing to listen to different types of music.  It was Spirit of Radio...and that 2nd verse came around, and I always think of that as such a great piece of writing, such a truth to power moment of righteousness.  And the line went by "One likes to believe in the freedom of music..."  And she said, "That's such a weird way to say that.  Who says 'one' like that.  It's so disconnected and impersonal".  And having heard that lyric countless times for 40 years, I hadn't really thought of it that way.  (And of course it made me also think of "one must put up barriers", another lyric that I think of as being among his best).  It was a bit of a moment of insight for me, because seeing this thing I take for granted and am so used to...seeing it from the outside was interesting, and only underlined that slightly removed feeling that his work has.  And again, I love a lot of it. 

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For me he is absolutely #1 and its not even close.  He started out writing lyrics based on sci-fi / fantasy (and did it well).  Then went more progy (and did it well).  Then went slightly more AOR is his writing (and got even better).  Then with Signals he really started to hit his stride.  Amazing given how good his lyrics were before that.  For me his very best albums were Power Windows, HYF & Presto.  Not a bad song on any of those 3 albums.  After a slight dip on RTB he came back with Counterparts which is just amazing.  Sort of an intellectual relationship album.  Really good lyrics.  He dropped of with T4E and VT but then came back with S&A which is loaded with wonderful lyrics.  CA was the end of his career and it still has songs that others would love to write - even though I think its far from being his best work.

 

Nobody wrote so many good songs that touch me in so many ways over so many albums, years and decades.  Others might have moments of brilliance that match him but nobody did it as well or better for even close to as long as he did it.  At least that my reaction to his lyrics.  

Edited by TheAccountant
corrected some typo's
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Yes. He really has a way with words. He had some weak moments but his strong ones outweigh them in my view, and no brilliant musician is at their best 100% of the time. But his lyrics have had a profound impact on my life, especially Subdivisions, The Pass, Bravado, Afterimage....just to name a few top ones.

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