Neil Peart: Rock’s 2nd Worst Lyricist?

10 2097

You have got to be kidding me! I don’t know who reads “Blender” magazine, or more to the point, who responds to their surveys, but whoever they may be, I might suggest that they dedicate some effort towards extracting their heads from their rear ends.early-peart

With groups out there for decades writing lyrics that revolve around getting stoned, getting drunk, getting laid or “dis’n ho’s,” how anyone could put Rush lyricist Neil Peart on the list as the 2nd worst lyricist of all time is beyond me. It was Sting who occupied the list at number 1, by the way, and quite frankly, I can’t think of anything he ever wrote that I found particularly bad. At least not that I can think of right now.

Sure, we can look back to some of Peart’s early sci-fi-ish stuff like the lyrics on 2112 or Farewell To Kings or even Hemispheres, and realize they may not be the best lyrics of all time and probably not Peart’s best work, but give me a break! At least some serious thought and effort went into their creation. A lot more than a masterpiece like Clapton’s “Cocaine,” for example.

“She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie; cocaine.” Yeah, that line will have me awake half the night trying to decipher the real meaning behind it. Sure, lyrics don’t always have to be inspiring or particularly thought-provoking, but fans like myself appreciate it when they are.

I could have come up with about a million other good examples of bad lyrics, but for some reason, that one just sprang to mind.

You know what I’d really like to see now? I’d love it if this “Blender” magazine would conduct another survey and ask their readers who rock’s best lyricists are. They have told us who sucks, so now I’d like them to let us know whose lyrics are worth listening to.

Should I ring up Ozzy Osbourne and alert him to the possibility of coming in first?


  1. JohnQPublic October 25, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I read that article and I believe it wasn’t a survey but the critique by John Dolan. But I agree with your comments. Unfortunately, Dolan was not clear enough, in many cases, if the lyrics had bad metering, painted unsophisticated imagery, or were just too literal. I suppose Dolan thinks that Shakespeare’s 116th Sonnet about unwavering love, “O no! it is an ever-fixed mark/That looks on tempests and is never shaken/It is the star to every wandering bark/Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken,” isn’t absurdly maudlin. Personally, it makes the theme of “Bridges of Madison County” look cold hearted.

  2. RealRockNews October 25, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for that one, JohnQ.

    I could not have said it better myself!

  3. xander greene October 30, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    i too read the article………i have the impression the article was for shock value and getting non-readers to check the mag. sting and neil are my favorite lyricists in rock……period!
    xander greene

  4. Dave Hart January 8, 2009 at 3:26 am

    xander greene is correct. It was for shock value as it caused one hell of a stir in the Rush and The Police music community amongst others. Even Dolan himself admitted that it was for shock value. He isn’t a very big Rush fan though, but come on, even he isn;t stupid enough to actually consider Peart one of the worst lyricist of all time.

    I can only think of two somgs which the Rush lyrics were lacking, “I Think I’m Going Bald,” and “Dog Years,” but as any Rush fan knows, those guys have one hell of a since of humor and I do believe that those two songs sprung directly from a since of humor.

    Dolan is probably also one of those idiots that think that Rush do not deserve to be inducted into the hall of fame. I am speechless!

  5. Sam Kocsis March 23, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Insightful, thoughtful, creative, imaginative, clever lyrics rarely, if ever, insulting the intelligence of even the brightest rock fan (although some are just fun songs). Peart writes for the enjoyment; emotional and mental repose for what he assumes are a thinking fan base without preaching or imposing the “truth” about things as he sees it. Many lyricists use their talent to impose their political or emotional will ona captive audience – often ridiculous but always easy to dispose of – with their myopic, sophomoric view of things.

    Other writers are simply too shallow and glib to compete with Peart: The Who’s lyrics are great if you’re 14.

    Neil peart is the best rock lyricist ever, but you have to be evolved enough to appreciate that fact.

  6. RMD April 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Dude… Why did they put Neil Peart on the Blender magazine? That’s f****** stupid… I mean, really, they should put musicians that really suck, like those bands that are supposedly “rock” and write a lot of things that don’t make sense or that their songs are always about the same thing.

    In my opinion, Neil Peart is one of the best rock lyricists, because other rock bands usually talk about the same thing, for example things like “the girl next door”, “I wanna die”, “I’m not good at anything”. But Neil Peart, he can actually put stories in his songs, like the Cygnus X-1 duology, 2112, Xanadu, etcetera, etcetera.

    It’s sad that they put Paul McCartney in there, I think a lot of songwriters don’t deserve to be in there…

    I think the Blender Magazines are one of those “super star” gossip magazines, that appreciate commercial music and stupid bands, like Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and other bands that really suck and don’t write anything else than their emo experiences…

  7. Sean January 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    WOW, i couldnt believe it when i saw that.

  8. AL January 30, 2010 at 3:58 am

    I read that somewhere that on wikipedia about Neil Peart being considered one of rock’s worst lyricist by Blender. I was in shock and actually offended. What made me a fan of Rush in the first place was Peart’s lyrics. He actually always had something intelligent to say and I was further annoyed when I found out Sting was number 1 on that list. Who reads Blender? Mostly stone heads? Lay off the drugs people please.

  9. Dan November 7, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Peart is widely regarded in the music industry as one of the best lyricists. Also on the list are Bernie Taupin, Ian Anderson, David Crosby and Paul McCartney ? I’ll assume this was a joke or else the co-authors are a little less intelligent than a mentally challenged lobotomized turkey on opium laced hash.

  10. Marion D January 20, 2022 at 12:17 pm

    Worst. Not 2nd worst, worst. Or do you agree you can choose free will, for example?

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