Lou Reed Named Rock's Most Overrated Lyricist

Lou Reed has been named as Rock N' Roll's Most Overrated Lyricist.

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Lou Reed has been named as Rock'n'Roll's Most Overrated Lyricist.

The Velvet Underground man came top of a list complied by Flavorwire, which saw him beating Paul Banks of Interpol and Serj Tankian of System Of A Down into second and third place.

Other songwriters featured in the list were Matt Bellamy of Muse, Jim Morrison of The Doors and Bob Dylan. The full Top Ten can be found below.

Lou Reed made the top of the list because: "Reed has been responsible for a surprising number of pretty awful lyrics. When he's on form, he's up with the very, very best. But we think he's dropped enough stinkers over the years to not entirely merit his reputation as a consistently great lyricist."

Rock'n'Roll's Most Overrated Lyricists are:

01. Lou Reed 02. Paul Banks of Interpol 03. Serj Tankian of System of a Down 04. Bernard Sumner of New Order 05. Matt Bellamy of Muse 06. Conor Oberst 07. Jim Morrison 08. Robert Plant 09. Chris Martin of Coldplay 10. Bob Dylan

Lou Reed and Metallica are set to release their collaborative album "Lulu", which is based around German playwright Frank Wedekind's 1913 play about the life of an abused dancer.

Thanks for the report to Nme.com.

407 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Well of course Dylan is an overrated lyricist, everyone knows it's his angelic voice that has made his songs so memorable through the years. 'Top ten' lists are stupid.
    Metro Gnome
    This list is a joke. Most of the guys on it are great lyricists. Just because people recognize how good they are doesn't make them overrated. Conner Oberst is imo one of the top 3 best lyricists ever. But everything is just opinion. Why should one columnist's opinion trump everyone elses?
    Worst list of all time? This is the most pretentious shit I have ever read. And to put Dylan on this list is sacrilegious, obviously idiots who hear all the praise for Dylan and have never heard a Dylan song immediately compute that he must be overrated, but when 99% of all GOOD SONGWRITERS cite Dylan as an influence then there must something to his writing. He was the first one to bring true poetry to rock and roll and in my opinion no one has even come close to touching him in terms of lyrical writing and consistant output of great lyrics. Dylan and always will be an original. And funny how Lou Reed make's this list shortly after his critically panned song with Metallica. Coincidence? *cough* publicity stunt *cough* And there justification is "he's dropped enough stinkers over the years" Over the years??? That could be said about any band or artist who didn't break up or retire after their prime. The Rolling Stones are overrated cause their 80's output sucked! Fucking juvenile bullshit that has no place in the world of journalism, but of course it's from NME so what are we talking about integrity for.
    Surprised the dude from SOAD on this list because I ****ing hate him and that obnoxious band. I think I'm the only UG'er who feels this way.
    Next week, they need to post the 10 Worst Lists of All Time. And the week after, they can post the 10 Worst Arguments in the Comments For/Against Rankings on a List of All Time.
    WHAT!?!?! Conor Oberst is so underrated and in my opinion he is the best lyricist ever!
    Darktael wrote: WHAT!?!?! Conor Oberst is so underrated and in my opinion he is the best lyricist ever!
    Thank you! I thought i was the only person on UG that likes him and btw SOAD doesnt have bad lyrics theyre just overrated which id agree with. Sure some of their songs are political and well written but like somebody else said "banana banana banana terracota banana terracotta terracotta pie"... a lot of their songs are like that too
    Conor Oberst can't be overrated. Half of the general population doesn't even know of his and/or Bright Eyes' existence! That being said, yea, this is totally a troll list.
    no way dylan or morrision should be here. possibly the shittist list of seen, but hey they bring in comments so i'm sure they'll continue.
    super collasal
    if they were so overrated I don't think they would be in some of the most successful acts of all time, I'd puddle of muds guy and darkest hours guy needs to be up on this list and probably a shit ton of 80's hair metal guys their songs are the some things over and over again
    Ok that's it. I thought this site was a music news site. Whatever. Apparently 14 years old kids hating on music legends to be edgy and unique get their own official article nowadays. Fuck this.
    In what way is Jim Morrison overrated?? I dont get that... Doors - The Crystal Ship: Before you slip into unconsciousness I'd like to have another kiss Another flashing chance at bliss Another kiss, another kiss The days are bright and filled with pain Enclose me in your gentle rain The time you ran was too insane We'll meet again, we'll meet again Oh tell me where your freedom lies The streets are fields that never die Deliver me from reasons why You'd rather cry, I'd rather fly The crystal ship is being filled A thousand girls, a thousand thrills A million ways to spend your time When we get back, I'll drop a line
    I'm a huge Chili Peppers fan, but my number one would have to be anthony kiedis. Great music and entertainment, terrible terrible words 90% of the time.
    Serj Tankian? Seriously? His lyrics are a piece of genious! I'm not saying I understand them, but I'm saying they are freakin' awesome! And Jim Morrison was really good too!!
    Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Robert Plant should not be on this list.
    Top ten lists are stupid.. The word overrated is the stupidest word ever. This is ridiculoud, it's a pinnacle of immature stupidity, that is all. And in any case, the list sucks, Serj Tankian and Jim Morrison? This list is, as anything with the word overrated, "Things everybody liked that I don't".
    jimmydvn wrote: Bob Dylan?! Bob DYLAN?! I'm struggling to think of a single reason why he wouldn't be the BEST lyricist of all time..
    Half of the songs I've heard by him have been completely meaningless. Maggie's farm and New Pony? He's overrated because a pretty good amount of his songs have the lyrical complexity of I wanna Hold Your Hand. I like about 51% of the Doors stuff, but to me a lot of it is just Jim Morrison being a sex feind and a junkie. A lot of it isn't THAT creative or profound. SOAD is awful on all levels. I'm not sure about Robert Plant being overrated, he had a lot of really beautiful songs and lyrics. I guess the amount of songs that were traditional by Led Zeppelin, covers they did that people don't always know are covers, and everything after Led Zeppelin makes it understandable. I'm surprised Connor Oburst is on here, I'm pretty impressed by his lyrics every single time I listen to his stuff, and he uses words in his songs that I don't think any other artist ever has or could. He's always creative too. I've never really heard of the others being considered great lyricists, nor am I that familiar with their stuff. Some Underrated ones; -Eddie Vedder -Bill Ward (from what I understand he wrote a lot of Black Sabbath's lyrics) -Jimi Hendrix -Jerry Cantrell
    i've never thought of matt bellamy as being a highly rated lyricist, but i agree with the rest of this list
    Bob Dylan is the best songwriter of all time. That's an absolute fact. It's been proved. With science. Other than that, I don't get Bellamy on this list. Sure he's a bad lyricist, but I thought that was the consensus (even among muse fans like myself).
    adamzam wrote: rabble! rabble! rabble! rabble!
    lol, south park is awesome
    The_Wilrus wrote: Wait.....this whole list is just pathetic. All these artists have touched thousands. Whether one group of people believe them overrated lyricists simply doesn't matter. Grow up.
    So because they're popular, they're suddenly immune to criticism, and all because they simply got lucky and got more attention than the hundreds/thousands of their peers, a lot of which were better than them? People who call anyone like Jim Morrison anything BUT an overrated lyricist have obviously never actually listened to the lyrics, or read them. And Plant. You always hear about their voices, the guitars, the drummer! But never the lyrics.
    ryan1234321 wrote: You could say the "tables" have turned.
    1 trillion internets for you.
    I personally think Serj is a great lyricist, but besides him, I'm all for the list. Although not sure why Dylan is on there. This list just sounds like a giant troll to me.
    I don't agree at all. Every artist on the list is great and not overrated.
    guitaristben wrote: anthony kedis should be number 1!
    This! love the chili peppers but not a fan of their lyrics
    Stratus475 wrote: Seeing Lou Reed's face staring at me every time I get on this website is starting to creep me out...
    I couldn't agree with you more!
    I think the list is stupid... Ithink Lou Reed shouldn't be number one, that's probably because of Lulu. (not that I'm a Lou Reed fanatic) I'm am surprised Bob Dylan is in the list.. I actually like his lyrics. The words in his songs fit the music perfectly if you ask me.
    Seeing Lou Reed's face staring at me every time I get on this website is starting to creep me out...
    Difference between Lou Reed and Serj Tankian - Lou Reed's lyrics make no sense and don't work, Serj Tankian's lyrics make no sense and DO work. Devin Townsend might as well be on the list if Serj is, but neither of them deserve to be because they are good lyricists. Serj is good at making lyrics that you remember, but are also bizarre and nonsensical. Queen's lyrics are similar, but Serj just gets more bizarre. I prefer it to crap like Bob Dylan, but that's just me.
    JadenCaruso wrote: Duke_Lukem wrote: That monkey from dream theater should be on here "Eager to explore His most shocking mysteries" Then again, he isn't a highly rated lyricist, miraculously people seem to agree he's pretty damn awful. Actually man, EVERYONE from Dream Theater writes lyrics. Yes, even their socially awkward bassist. Surprisingly, the singer writes the LEAST, and when he does, they're either terrible or strangely amazing. It's due to his omittance of nouns constantly and the personal directness it gives. They're always in first person and they're written in a stream-of-consciousness format (for you who don't know, that's when you mimic the flow of a person's inner thoughts). It gives the feeling that the writer is experiencing this and it comes from the heart, even if it sounds awkward. Honestly, I think the guy would be better of a lyricist if he DIDN'T force his lyrics to rhyme, like what Tommy Rogers from BTBAM does. The only outstanding lyricist they had (and he wasn't that amazing, but made some great lyrics) was their first keyboardist Kevin Moore. That guy, like their current singer, wrote from his heart. Check out Space Dye Vest or Pull Me Under and tell me those lyrics are nearly as bad as others DT has made.
    You obviously have a firm understand of what you like to hear from a lyricist, which is quite admirable. And obviously I'm aware that DT's lyrics will be varied between amazing and terrible, that's inevitable for every band. I've just spoken to quite a few people that think Dream Theater are writing poetry comparable to Shakespeare, which is frankly ridiculous, which is why I would have liked to see their vocalist's name on this list. Just to boost my own ego
    Underjoggle wrote: Jim Morrison is overrated when it comes to everything. We like to think of him as a rock n' roll visionary who lived fast, died young, and defied Ed Sullivan, but really, if you were to meet him at a party today, he'd probably be a total dick.
    if I met YOU at a party today, I'd think you're a total dick.
    the list is good. However Serj shouldn't be overrated. a lot of people haven't heard a lot of the good shit. Just the songs on GEETAWR HEERUH