I am a songwriter, poet, and a translator of songs from Russian. In this post, I share some of the best song lyrics from the most popular songs ever, songs I’ve written, songs with world-class poetry, and songs I’ve translated from Russian poets and songwriters.
Best Song Lyrics Of Any Song Ever: Bob Dylan’s Mr Tamborine Man
Here is a full, line-by-line poetry analysis of Mr. Tambourine Man. This song seems to take place in a dreamland world. It’s about a drug trip, but the way it’s written is magical, mysterious, inviting, and at times haunting. Here are some dreamy lyrics in this song:
And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind Down the foggy ruins of time Far past the frozen leaves The haunted frightened trees Out to the windy beach Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship
Here is one of the best and most haunting lyrics of this song:
And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind Down the foggy ruins of time Far past the frozen leaves The haunted frightened trees Out to the windy beach Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow.
Here is the song, so you can listen to it:
The Best Lyrics In My Original Songs: Oh Michelangelo
The most interesting lyric I’ve ever written was in a song called “Oh Michelangelo” in which I take Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel painting called “The Birth Of Adam” which depicts a sensitive touch between two hands, and reimagine it as a moment of lovers connecting in a magical touch. At one point of the song, there is a line that I think is my best:
Picture caressing a woman’s back so gently that it’s almost like painting something beautiful along her back, and not something simply beautiful but Sistine Chapels. As a writer, I am happiest with how this line came out more than any other line I’ve written. There is a perfect amount of metaphor, imagination, and sweetness packed into just a few words.
Here is the full song:
In the same song there is also a line:
As a writer, the lyric “our souls have met is quite satisfying. It took me weeks to put the magic of that touch into words. For me, this song has deep and meaningful lyrics. As the author of this song, I am happy how the lyrics came out. To me, this is a deep song with meaning.
Best Song Lyrics: Stairway To Heaven By Led Zeppelin
Arguably, the line “There is a lady who thinks that all that glitters is gold, and she’s building a stairway to heaven.” is a line in all of music that’s stayed with me the most.
Best Song Lyrics – When Shakespeare’s Lines Are In The Song
One of my proudest moments of writing was when I was able to take some of Shakespeare’s best quotes and use them in an original song. In this “Shakespeare song” for lack of a better song title, I took four of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes and sprinkled them throughout the lyrics of an original song. The song has two versions. Here is the acoustic, unplugged version with mostly my vocal and guitar:
If you want to guess which lyrics in the song are by Shakespeare, go ahead. If you just want to know the answer, these are the lyrics:
“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight til it be morrow.” – Shakespeare
In addition to Shakespeare’s lyrics, there are a couple I am proud of that are mine:
“It was us in his new tale of love. Fifty years we’ll dance with stars above, on Romeo and Juliet’s balcony….”
The line itself is just OK, but in the song, when it’s highlighted and elevated by music, the image of you and your partner dancing on Romeo and Juliet’s balcony is quite a powerful visual.
WIND OF SIGHS – Song Inspired By Shakespeare And Socrates
This song asks the question: what is beauty? This question was first explored by Socrates in one of his dialogs. My answer in the song is that “beauty is that which inspires.” It is an abstract definition of beauty, but simple and direct definitions don’t work to define such an abstract concept.
The title of this song “Wind of Sighs” is inspired by Shakespeare’s quote: “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.”
What Makes Some Of Best Song Lyrics
Songs are poems, but only kind of. It’s not a 100% overlap. Song lyrics are quite different than poetry lyrics in that song lyrics get a lot of their power from their musicality and how they work with the overall musical arrangement, and the melody of the song.
The goal of poetry and music writing is to create relatable imagery in a person’s mind. If the lyrics can create an image, that image will evoke an emotional response. In music, the emotional response can come from additional sources like the way the singer sings, the music that’s played, or their combination. Music just has more elements at work that create a more powerful effect when they all work at their peak potential.
Best Song Lyrics – When They Are A Slice Of Life
Here is a war song that starts out as a farewell song about naive cadets who seek adventure and don’t know what’s coming. That’s common and can be found in many songs and poems. But there is a “lightning strike” moment just past the middle point of the song where the cadets are going off to fight while the lyrics are “…while another man comforts your lady.” Since this is a translation from a Russian song, when I play it to live English-speaking audiences who hear that lyric for the first time, there are often gasps in the audience. Here is the full song:
WHO BY FIRE by Leonard Cohen – Example Of Best Intense Song Lyrics
Below is a cover song of Leonard Cohen’s incredible song Who By Fire. This song explores how each of us will die, and of course, with that asks what are we like while we are alive.
This is one of Leonard Cohen’s poetic masterpieces, and in this cover of it I attempted to add a darker and more intense tone to the music and the vocal performance.
Best Song Lyrics In A Song For My Daughter Or Any Newborn
When my daughter was born, I held her, looked her in the eyes, and wondered about how her life will go. Of course, there are no answers in that moment so I imagined the answers in a song. There are many nice lines in this song, but my favorite line is:
I wanted to paint the picture of flowers blooming wherever she goes in life, and have that image be a gift to her. This is something most new parents can relate to so I was hoping that this song would be a nice Father’s Day or Mother’s Day song. Here is the full song:
BITTERSWEET MIRAGE – BEST SONG LYRICS INSPIRED BY FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
This is a song about chasing dreams, and failing to reach them. In a way, it’s a sad and a bitter song, but it’s also a song that doesn’t seem to have lost all hope.
The interesting lyric inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche is paraphrased from the original, and reads something similar to:
This just means that if you find a hope or a goal that inspires you, you’ll go through great challenges and suffering if you think there will be some meaningful reward at the end, although there often isn’t. Here is the link to the full page about this song with song lyrics.
Another simple, but great lyric in this song is: