The Top 5 Rock Songwriters in the past twenty years

For teenagers like us, rock music has always been around. In the past twenty years, however, this style of music seems to be dying out. The current music industry is turning towards hip hop and country music, while rock seems to have “rolled” its course. In my opinion, today’s popular music lacks emotion. Good music should touch many people on a deep level. Songs like “Call Me Maybe” or any Flo Rida song are catchy don’t get me wrong; however, I don’t feel that these songs leave people thinking on a deep level the way other songs do. All styles of music have meaningful songs, but no genre quite affects the world like rock. Here is a list of five of the best rock songwriters in the past twenty years. No matter what direction music goes, these songwriters will always be remembered for how they made everyone think just a little bit deeper about life and what it could be. 5. Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) – Cuomo is a guitarist and lead singer of the band Weezer. Formed in 1992, the band has many recognizable hits such as “The Sweater Song”, and “Perfect Situation.” Cuomo is very different from other lyricists in famous rock bands because he is a Harvard graduate; not something you would expect of a rock musician. His lyrics stand out because he shows just how powerful a song can be without cursing or swearing. Cuomo rarely ever curses in any of songs because that’s what most other bands were doing at the time. Instead of cursing, Cuomo uses satirical lyrics to show his discontent with society. Weezer continues together as a band today and Cuomo even has a solo side project. Rivers Cuomo will always be remembered for his catchy lyrics, and also for being different. He is one artist that is truly in it for the music, and not the money 4. Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins) – Billy Corgan is one of the greatest lyricists of all time in my opinion. As the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, Corgan’s lyrics revolutionized 90’s alternative music. While most songs have a depressing tone to them, they are still beautiful in a way. Corgan struggled growing up because of his parent’s divorce. He took his feelings of sadness and loneliness and made music out of them; very touching, actually. Any teen who is feeling lost and alone can definitely relate to Corgan’s music. One of his greatest songs is “Today.” For the verses, the song is light and happy sounding, and it talks about how today was one of the greatest days he’s ever known. In the chorus however, the mood switches to pessimistic and gloomy with Corgan saying he’s upset that he’ll never get the day back. If you’re looking for another amazing sad song (yes, those do exist) listen to “Disarm.” 3. Thom Yorke (Radiohead) – If one argues that Yorke is not one of the best songwriters; it can’t be denied that his song, “Creep”, is one of the best written songs of all time. The whole song revolves around the idea of feeling like an outsider and not belonging, but it does this by turning the guilt on one’s self. Yorke begs the question of why he feels so alone and can’t fit in with the world, a feeling that many people have at times. “Creep” is definitely not Yorke’s only song. He tends to write soft, mysterious ballads. Sometimes his lyrics can be confusing as well. Nevertheless, Yorke always has something to say, even if it is not said outright; this is something that should be appreciated from a truly great songwriter. 2. Paul David Hewson A.K.A Bono (U2) – Even though U2 has been around since 1976, their music continues to inspire many bands. Singer Paul David Hewson, more commonly known as Bono, is a very talented songwriter and musician. His lyrics bring a sense of unity to the world. Bono is not only a musician, but also a humanitarian. His vision for world peace comes across in his music, especially in the song “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Bono’s lyrics give people an indescribable sense of hope in the world which is something many artists have tried doing, only to come up short. Instead of bashing what is wrong with society, Bono offers optimism in that one day love and peace will conquer all. 1. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) – If you could give credit to one person for making alternative music popular, it would have to be Cobain. Kurt Cobain and Nirvana revolutionized rock music and what it could be. They single-handedly killed the days of praising rock stars like they were gods, and made fans realize that rockers had a lot of deep feelings and emotions. “Smells like teen spirit” is probably Cobain’s most known songs, and the best part is, it is not one of his best. The song does capture teen’s angst towards society, and this is probably why the song became so popular, but Cobain himself even said he didn’t think there was anything special about it. Many people dislike Cobain because of the fact that he was a heroin addict and committed suicide, but he is considered one of the best if not the best songwriter of all time. His lyrics come off as satirical and bitter, but he never fails to save the song with a catchy melody. One of the most surprising things about some of Cobain’s songs is how happy sounding they can be even though the lyrics are so dark and gloomy. A great example is the song “Lithium.” The whole song is supposed to resemble what a bi-polar person would say. One minute Cobain is saying he’s happy, and in the next, he’s saying he cares about nothing. In my opinion, Cobain is the best lyricist in the last 20 years, period. Not only were his lyrics amazing, but he had so much emotion when singing his songs. He was a tattered soul, and he put every ounce of that tattered soul into his songs. Not too often does someone come along who can touch as many people with their music as much as Cobain did.