Thursday, January 31, 2013
10 lyricists we hope to hear from in 2013
Adele, Nas, and Alicia Keys, to name a few.
With Awards Season upon us and the Grammys just a few weeks away, here’s our comprehensive list on which exceptionally talented singer-songwriters you should be keeping an eye on as the awards finish up.
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Adele made her debut in 2008 and has slowly risen to super stardom in both the U.S. and the U.K. Her voice has a wonderful smoky and scratchy sound that you don’t hear much anymore, but her lyrics stand out on their own. They are riveting and never contrived; they are one of the reasons she’s become such a huge success. Her latest song for the James Bond film Skyfall is just one of many examples.
"Skyfall is where we start / A thousand miles and poles apart / Where worlds collide and days are dark / You may have my number, you can take my name / But you’ll never have my heart" – Skyfall
2. Ed Sheeran
I have a bias when it comes to Ed Sheeran. He’s English, ginger, quirky, and a poet when it comes to songwriting. He was nominated for his first Grammy this year for his hit song "The A Team." While he currently has only released one full-length album, he’s written songs for hit artists like One Direction and co-wrote "Everything Has Changed" with Taylor Swift, who is a phenomenal songwriter on her own. Sheeran’s lyrics stand out for making even the most mundane things, like drunk-dialing, seem surreal and beautiful.
"Give me love like her / ’cause lately I’ve been waking up alone / Paint splattered teardrops on my shirt / Told you I’d let them go / And that I’ll fight my corner / Maybe tonight I’ll call ya / After my blood turns into alcohol / No, I just wanna hold ya." – Give Me Love
3. Emeli Sandé
Continuing with the theme of talented U.K. artists, Emeli Sandé is slowly rising to the top. She's penned songs for Rihanna and Alicia Keys. She has a special skill in matching both the vibe of the music with her lyrics. ”River” has a softly majestic piano medley playing as she belts out mighty and beautiful lyrics. Her U.S. hit “Next to Me” demonstrates her lyrical prowess.
"When the money’s spent and all my friends have vanished / And I can’t seem to find no help or love for free / I know there’s no need for me to panic / 'Cause I’ll find him, I’ll find him next to me." – Next to Me
4. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean was a big deal this year. With six Grammy nominations and a truly inspiring coming-out story, Ocean has proven himself to be a voice for this generation. He also is an exceptional lyricist.
"A tornado flew around my room before you came / Excuse the mess it made, it usually doesn’t rain / In Southern California, much like Arizona / My eyes don’t shed tears, but, boy, they bawl." – Thinking Bout You
5. R. Kelly
R. Kelly has been around for ages, but with good reason. With the release of his album Write Me Back, he reminds us of why he’s a lyrical force to be reckoned with.
"Like the world goes around everyday baby / That is how you spin me / Might as well call me a telegram baby / ‘Cause darling that’s just how you send me, yeah / I’m might as well take me a pen and sign a wave / To be yours for the rest of my life / You rescued me from heartache just like a savior / Now being in your arms is like my paradise." – Love Is
6. Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo is another one of those quirky singer-songwriters that I can’t seem to get enough of. His single "Forget You" was charming and catchy, much like many of his works.
"Silence is like a spirit / That picked my house to haunt / But I know it’s there so I’m nonchalant / Now the question is just what do I want." - I Want You
When he’s not writing his own music, Ne-Yo is often collaborating with other artists, such as Rihanna, Mario Vasquez, and even Beyonce. And it’s no wonder all these big names want to collaborate with him. His lyrics are beautiful and thoughtful.
"Came in here and shut the world out / Nothing to get into, nothing to be about / Just grab a little bite, quiet little night / By no means looking for Miss Right." – Miss Right
Even if you’re not familiar with The-Dream, I can guarantee you’ve heard his lyrics on your radio. He’s co-penned tracks like Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” While his own lyrics aren’t always on the cheery side, they’re poetic all on their own.
"I don’t know how to please you / Everything was lookin’ up but now it’s lookin’ down / And I don’t know what I’m supposed to say / It seems your mind is on the other side of town / And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do / Another day with you is just another [expletive] day / Somebody please tell me what to say / Or is it OK to feel this way?" – Long Gone
It’s general consensus that when it comes to lyrics, Nas is one of the best (if not the best). Nas’ lyrics are best left to speak for themselves.
"And I ain’t tryna mess ya thing up / But I just wanna see you dream up / I finally understand / It ain’t easy to raise a girl as a single man / Nah, the way mothers feel for they sons, how fathers feel for they daughters / When he date, he straight, chip off his own papa / When she date, we wait behind the door with the sawed off / 'Cause we think no one is good enough for our daughters / Love." – Daughters
10. Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is a musical legend. As one of the major faces of R&B, it’s no surprise that she’s exceptionally talented when it comes to lyric writing. She wrote her first song “Butterflyz” at the age of 14 and only improved from there.
"Lonely, own me nobody ever shut it down like you / You wore the crown / You made my body feel heaven bound / Why don’t you hold me / Need me, I thought you told me / You’d never leave me." – Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart
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