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Open Mic: What Are Your Favorite Lyrics?


Some of the most successful songs of all time have been deemed so simply due to the lyrical content. While the music or the melodies may be what people recognize, the message within the lyrics can, and have, changed lives all around the world.

Lyrics can tell stories, they can directly or metaphorically convey the most inner emotions, and lyrics can even address issues with society and relationships. A strong lyric can connect with the listener in such a deeply personal way that they can actually become a mantra for how they live the rest of their lives.

So for this week’s Open Mic discussion, we will be discussing your favorite lyrics and what makes them so meaningful.

Below is a short list of some of the worlds most popular lyrics, but we want to hear from you about which lyrics you love and why! The idea here is to share any lyrics, from any song that you find important to you and your life, so that others too can discover songs that could possibly change their lives.

1. John Lennon – Imagine

Easily considered to be one of the most important songs ever written, Lennon’s Imagine is a vision of a peaceful world without war or conflict and has since become the soundtrack to the peace movement worldwide:

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

2. Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A Changin’

In the 1960’s, Bob Dylan became the voice of the generation through his powerful and politically charged lyrics that specifically reflected on the times:

For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it’s ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a changin’

3. Neil Young – My My, Hey Hey

Often deeply personal and introspective, Neil Young music reflected on the times, war, the hippie movement, drug abuse and popular music, but in a way that was less political and more emotionally charged. Young’s My, My, Hey, Hey was all of these things in one package:

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey

4. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Pink Floyd went through many different iterations of the band, but the one that was by far the most successful occurred right after founding member Syd Barrett left the group (due to mental health issues). While much of Pink Floyd’s music was a direct reaction to the troubled times in England, Shine On You Crazy Diamond was a message of hope directed towards their troubled friend:

You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon
Shine on you crazy diamond

5. Notorious B.I.G – Things Done Changed

Considered by many to be the greatest rap lyricist of all time, Notorious B.I.G. used his lyrics to paint personal and incredibly vivid pictures of what it was like to live in Brooklyn in the early 1990’s; gang warfare, crack cocaine, widespread poverty were all common issues. B.I.G’s Things Done Changed is a reaction to how bad it had truly become, and how the only way to escape the streets of Brooklyn was to make money from drugs or basketball:

If I wasn’t in the rap game
I’d probably have a key knee deep in the crack game
Because the streets is a short stop
Either you’re slingin’ crack rock or you got a wicked jumpshot

What Are Your Favorite Lyrics?

Join the discussion below by letting us know what your favorite lyrics are and why. It can be any song, from any time, written by anyone in any part of the world. If you find it meaningful, we want to hear about it!

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21 thoughts on “Open Mic: What Are Your Favorite Lyrics?

  1. I’m going to go with another Floyd track. ‘Sheep’ always got me:

    ‘Meek and obedient you follow the leader down well-trodden corridors into the valley of steel.’

    1. Oh very good one! The Floyd have a LOT of great lyrics. A favorite of mine has always been ‘So you run and you run to catch up with the sun as it’s sinking’. Paints such a great picture!

      1. Now you’ve opened Pandora’s box. Another classic is from ‘Time’:

        ‘Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.’ 

        1. haha I see we have a Pink Floyd-head in our midst! (Im right there with you). The Waters + Gilmore era really produced some mega lyrics.

  2. It’s difficult to pick out just one but Deaf Havana always have good lyrics.

    1. Any examples a Deaf Havana song that really stick with you?

      1. As bad as it sounds, it’s all the cynical lyrics that appeal to me, like The World or Nothing “We’re a self destructive generation whos obituaries will be, due to excessive boredom the body gave in to liver failure and heart disease.” or in Smiles All Round “I’ve got this great ability to ruin everything that’s good for me.”

        1. Nothing wrong with cynicism in lyrics! Love it!

  3. Nice Strawberry Fields pic! I have a cool one myself:

    I love these Cloud Cult lyrics. Pushed me through more than a few difficult days:

    You can take it in stride

    Or you can take it right between the eyes

    Suck up, suck up

    And take your medicine

    It’s a good day, it’s a good day

    To face the hard things

    1. Great stuff Wes, thanks so much for sharing! I’m not actually all that familiar with Cloud Cult so I’ll definitely have to sink my teeth into them a bit more – those lyrics are great!

  4. I’m a sucker for Springsteen’s “Better Days”:

    I got a new set of clothes and a pretty red rose, and a woman I can call my friend
    These are better days

    1. Ah thats a great one, thanks for sharing David! I’ve always been a sucker for very descriptive lyrics that can paint a perfect picture. That way no matter where I am, I can always be transported back to that spot.

      1. Absolutely – or transported forward in time, depending on the content ;]

  5. I’d like to add a favorite of mine from Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. An absolute favorite of mine is the song ‘Too Afraid To Love You’ from Brothers:

    It’s heaven on earth, in her embrace, her gentle touch and her smiling face.

  6. Paul Simon is easily my favorite lyricist, and while it’s quite obvious, I’m going with Graceland.  I love his word play and the way he shifts the meaning of Graceland from verse to verse.  Lyrical brilliance 

    1. Great choice there Jason! Any specific lines that jump out at you most?

  7. It’s not really “my kind of music,” but I’ve always loved Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” In fact, it was in my high school poetry textbook!

    1. Hey Brian! Thanks for chiming in – any specific lyrics from the song that jump out at you?

  8. May God bless and keep you always may your wishes all come true, may you always do for others and let others do for you, may you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung, may you stay, forever young. Bob Dylan.

    1. Ah another great Dylan example! Thanks for sharing Alex!

  9. I love Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit Of Happiness” the lyrics in the hook sum it up for me:

    “I’m in the pursuit of happiness and I know
    Everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold but hey
    I’ll be fine once I get it, I’ll be good”

    It just shows the actual pursuit of your dreams isn’t always the happiest pursuit.

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