I was poking around today and discovered this list, published by Paste magazine, naming their choices for the 100 greatest living songwriters. Of course, most such lists (1000 Gr8ist Novvuls uv al TIM!!!111!!!) are exercises in futility, but still it’s human nature to quibble, isn’t it?
It’s not really that eclectic a list, but, then, Paste focuses mainly on independent “artists.” Even though most of the musicians they cover have major label record deals (I am, in fact, not entirely sure any of the songwriters they mention are truly independent). But that’s a side-issue.
Here’s their top ten:
9. Joni Mitchell
8. Elvis Costello
7. Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)
6. Leonard Cohen
5. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)
4. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan
3. Bruce Springsteen
2. Neil Young (Buffalo Sprinfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
1. Bob Dylan
Not really all that inspiring, you ask me. Seems a bit safe, to me. Nobody on there who really makes you say, “really?”
But still I think they’re ignoring a lot of great artists on the list as a whole. For example, I think my personal top ten greatest living songwriters would be:
1. Roger Clyne
3. Paul McCartney
4. Axl Rose
5. Leonard Cohen
6. Tori Amos
7. Bon Jovi
8. Billy Joel
9. Tom Petty
10. Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra)
Also on my list would be Dave Matthews, Marshall Mathers (Eminem), Ben Lee, Jack White, Dr. Dre, Joni Mitchell, and Lili Haydn.
I mean, don’t get me wrong; I get most of Paste‘s choices. But Bob Dylan as number one? Really?
That’s a big “meh.”
But as always, I’m looking for recommendations, so who would your choices be?