Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Best Living Songwriters

Paste Magazine has a contest going on their website asking for your favorite 20 living songwriters. To vote, click on the box on the right hand side of the site that reads "Contest: Vote! 100 Best Living Songwriters" (I've already voted and can't get back to the link, so you'll have to find it, but it's not difficult). They have a pretty comprehensive list so you just click your mouse in a box to make a check. You can write-in someone not listed if you'd like, they do give room for that at the end of their list. From everybody who enters Top 20 (or fewer if you mark less), they'll figure the top vote-getter and print it in the June-July edition of their magazine. Which, of course, I'll procure and give the answers on this site.

There's a lot of people on the list you'll know and probably a lot you won't. Dolly Parton, John Mellencamp, Beastie Boys, Alison Krauss, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and a host of other notables are on the ballot, and then there's names like Colin Meloy, Dan Penn/Spooner Olham, Jon Brion, names not as recognizable that are on the list. It's sort of fun just reading over all the names for a songwriter aficionado like myself.

A plug for Paste as well. Each magazine you buy (what is it, like $6.95?) comes with a sampler CD of generally around 21 full songs of various "Paste-y" type artists. The samplers are worth the price of the magazine in nearly every case.

Go on over there and vote. I'll give you my Top 20 if you give me yours.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Very difficult. But here is a thinking man's list (in no particular order):

Josh Ritter
Jeff Tweedy (Wilco)
Bill Mallonee
Gary Louris (Jayhawks)
Bob Dylan
Wayne Coyne / Flaming Lips
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
Mike Scott (Waterboys)
Steve Earle
Ray Davies (Kinks)
Brian Wilson (Beach Boys)
Bruce Cockburn
Linford and Karin (Over the Rhine)
Joe Pernice (Pernice Brothers)
Lyle Lovett
Kathleen Edwards
Robert Smith (the Cure)
Bono/Edge (U2)
Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe (REM)
Paul Westerberg (Replacements)

Of course, this list represents my favorites rather than some that I might consider "the best" (e.g. Leonard Cohen or Lucinda Williams). Is Kathleen Edwards a better songwriter than Lucinda? I doubt it, but I enjoy her music more. And some of these (Ray Davies, REM) are well past their primes. Mike Scott makes the list simply because he wrote two of my absolute favorite songs ("The Whole of the Moon" and "Fisherman's Blues") and not for his entire body of work (which is pretty hit and miss). It's a fun exercise, though.