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Thread: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

  1. #1
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Question Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Welcome to the companion thread for the Who Are The Best Live Acts of 2011.

    In this thread, we'll be discussing who the best songwriters from the 2011 lineup are. Perhaps I'm just a cantankerous old bastard, but it seems to me that we live in an age in which songcraft is not as valued as it was in the past. I'm not saying it isn't valued at all; just that production and arrangements are at least as equally, if not more important, to the success of a modern day musician. It seems that as audiences we are engaged by compelling "soundscapes", shall we call them, over well written songs. Again, broad generalizations here, I know. I'm as guilty of this as anyone. Furthermore, this isn't intended to be some angry condemnation of the state of things in music; just an observation.

    With that said, who do you think are the best songwriters on the lineup? The artists whose songs have the best shot at posterity. Whose songs could be stripped down to just a voice and a piano or guitar and still make an impact. Here's what I'd ask you to do. Strip away any of the arrangements/orchestrations, the special stage effects, lighting, costumes and just concentrate on the craft of songwriting.

    I recognize that this discounts the talents of the majority of Sahara acts. Again, not my intention. My only intention is to honor the true songwriting talent on the lineup. What prompted my creation of this thread was listening to PJ Harvey all weekend and being struck by how little of the new music I listen to these days can compare to her ability to write an absolutely devastating song. Yes, she's got stage presence, yes she has amazing vocal abilities, yes she has interesting concepts for her albums and yes she often has great arrangements, but at the core of her work are stunningly well crafted songs.

    Guidelines...
    1. Include the artist's name.
    2. Include 1 or 2 (not seventeen!) embedded youtube examples.
    3. Include a brief description of what makes him/her/them such compelling songwriters.
    4. If your answer is The Bloody Beetroots; you're doing it wrong.

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    The Swell Season



    If you've ever seen the movie "Once" you'll know what I'm talking about. Pure Irish talent.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Songwriting is a subject, not objective categorization. It's like saying who's the best president that ever lived. Half the population will say a Democrat, while the other half will say Ronald Reagan.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobberson27 View Post
    The Swell Season



    If you've ever seen the movie "Once" you'll know what I'm talking about. Pure Irish talent.
    This is EXACTLY who I was thinking about when I was reading the OP. I keep forgetting they are on the lineup. Don't know why because they are pretty amazing. Definitely going to try to check them out. As for PJ Harvey, I haven't really heard much of her stuff but people keep talking about her so I think she'll be next on my list of artists to research.

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    old school juloxx's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Watch Tiesto find a way to win this
    Last edited by juloxx; 01-25-2011 at 05:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?



    Matt Houck - the lead singer from Phosphorescent is hands down my favorite song writer at this festival. His lyrics mix a feeling of urban perceptions with a beautiful naturalistic tone - it feels like a little piece of everything is wrapped up in everyone of his lyrics. You can feel the dirt and hear the cars buzz by. You understand what it feels like to be dead on a road - you know who are compared to the man in his songs. It's like reading Grapes Of Wrath or watching The Wire- there's someone, something, someplace that feels real within the story story - you can not only understand, but you can relate to emotion behind the songs.
    Last edited by DaFunkyPrecedent; 01-25-2011 at 05:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Conor Oberst

    Last edited by BayAreaIsBetter; 01-25-2011 at 05:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    The National.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?


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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by vintij View Post
    Songwriting is a subject, not objective categorization. It's like saying who's the best president that ever lived. Half the population will say a Democrat, while the other half will say Ronald Reagan.

    Which is why I reckon the thread is about opinions on said SUBJECT.
    I don't think we came here for an end all objective answer.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Conor Oberst and Win Butler.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by travelfan View Post
    It's a bit unfair though, when I change an MP3 halfway through a song at a party I get yelled at, whereas Skrillex probably got a blow job.

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    Coachella Junkie MissingPerson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    I cannot believe how bad people are at following bullet pointed, colour highlighted rules, posted in the very first fucking post of the same page of the thread.

    For God's sake.

    Anyway. That said. Matt Berninger.

    The National's songs generally aren't big barnstorming anthems, and the lyrics are just obscure enough to be thoughtful without being offputting or reading as pretentious art student poetry. The literal meaning isn't instantly clear, but the overall sense of each song is plain to feel. The National don't write about the end of the world or the death of disco in New York or faux working class roots invented for the sake of the song; they craft strong, compelling little scenes around ordinary blokes trying to pay their mortgages and be good husbands and dads, and find their place in the world in the meantime.



    Last edited by MissingPerson; 01-25-2011 at 11:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissingPerson View Post
    I cannot believe how bad people are at following bullet pointed, colour highlighted rules, posted in the very first fucking post of the same page of the thread.

    For God's sake.


    But, uhhh.... shall we just let this thread die in peace?

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    Peaceful Oasis TomAz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissingPerson View Post
    I cannot believe how bad people are
    I can.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    John Grant's The Queen of Denmark is an amazingly beautiful album. Haunting, satirical, synical, and silly. He channels the spirit of Harry Nilsson like no other.
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    Peaceful Oasis TomAz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Not one mention of The Tallest Man on Earth?



    an acquired taste, perhaps, but riveting songs.

  18. #18
    Member le cab's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomAz View Post
    Not one mention of The Tallest Man on Earth?



    an acquired taste, perhaps, but riveting songs.
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissingPerson View Post
    I cannot believe how bad people are at following bullet pointed, colour highlighted rules, posted in the very first fucking post of the same page of the thread.

    For God's sake.
    You think we're that incompetent? I just don't feel like following an arbitrary set of rules for you lazy fucks. Either you appreciate my contributed artist or you don't, you can do your own homework on the allotted musician.


    Quote Originally Posted by TickleMeElmo View Post
    Perhaps 5% of this board is familiar with this artist simply by his hipster photo. You mind letting us in on his secret identity?

  20. #20
    Member rjadams90's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Julian Casablancas



    Why do we end up imitating
    All the ones that we once were hating
    Man are clumsy violent fools
    Women are a delicate pool of flowers
    and cobras


    I found the lyrics in his solo stuff very inspiring. With his work with the Strokes, He uses more catchy phrases and great lyrical structure but has less depth IMO. Checkout Ize of the World, Ask Me Anything, Razorblade, Take it or leave it. Yes, the Strokes are my favorite band. So Im probably being biased but whatevs.

  21. #21
    Coachella Junkie MissingPerson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesMills View Post
    You think we're that incompetent? I just don't feel like following an arbitrary set of rules for you lazy fucks. Either you appreciate my contributed artist or you don't, you can do your own homework on the allotted musician.
    If you can't bother your hole answering the actual request in the OP, fuck off and make your own thread. Otherwise, you might as well be sitting on a bench listing your favourite fucking sandwiches to a post box.

    This shit is not hard. I'm a patient girl, but it's fucking waterbrained to just babble to yourself completely oblivious to the intentions of the thread starter, and even more so to try and rationalise it afterwards. For Christ's sake he spelled it out in numbered steps, do you want a fucking handpuppet example of what he's asking for and why?
    Last edited by MissingPerson; 01-26-2011 at 09:40 AM.

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    Member JamesMills's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    All due respects to Aoki, this is a forum for music. If you don't appreciate the contribution, ignore it and move on. Asking for a particular criteria / response seems pretty egotistical to me. The idea is a good one, so I responded with how I felt like responding.

    Perhaps you should cry about it, MissingPerson.

  23. #23
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by MissingPerson View Post
    If you can't bother your hole answering the actual request in the OP, fuck off and make your own thread. Otherwise, you might as well be sitting on a bench listing your favourite fucking sandwiches to a post box.

    This shit is not hard. I'm a patient girl, but it's fucking waterbrained to just babble to yourself completely oblivious to the intentions of the thread starter, and even more so to try and rationalise it afterwards. For Christ's sake he spelled it out in numbered steps, do you want a fucking handpuppet example of what he's asking for and why?

    Let it go, lady, let it go....

  24. #24

    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Oh, yeah, Toms not surprised. Good grief.
    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
    Albert Einstein

  25. #25

    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesMills View Post
    Perhaps 5% of this board is familiar with this artist simply by his hipster photo. You mind letting us in on his secret identity?
    That is PJ Harvey. I'm like 99% sure on this.

  26. #26
    Coachella Junkie Miroir Noir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    I hate to turn this into a one-artist thread, but The National.



    Matt's material hits me so close to home, and it's stuff no one else -- in indie or anywhere for that matter -- is really writing about: the pressures of sharing your life with another person in a small space, the pressures of working in a soul crushing white collar 8 to 5, the pressures of debt and parenthood. I know how it feels to be "in my sauvignon fierce, freaking out," or to put on an argyle sweater and fake a smile.


    And as MissingPerson said, he writes with this beautiful style that is neither pretentious or obvious.
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    It's hard to argue with that.

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    I'm not going to say they are THE BEST and I'm hesitant to post this suggestion as they mere mention of their name seems to produce levels of vitriol only surpassed by the mention of KOL ...but I think the songwriting from Mumford and Sons is quite good particularly for a debut album.



    Why are they good?
    1) It's their debut album, I think most songwriters take a few records to grow into their craft
    2) They're great storytellers - Swell Season betters them with respect to storytelling though
    3) I like their use of language, it's both lyrical and intellectual at the same time
    Last edited by stewboss; 01-27-2011 at 01:02 PM.

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    Coachella Junkie MissingPerson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    That's right, little thread, live! You've got to LIVE!

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    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    Quote Originally Posted by amishCYBORG View Post
    That is PJ Harvey. I'm like 99% sure on this.
    1% chance it's skrillex.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Who are the best SONGWRITERS of 2011?

    i'm not following guidelines, but sharing the recent re-listening of pj harverys body of work only exemplifies she's a phenomenal artist

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