Every generation needs its poets and here's the 23 musical scribes who define 2010.

Meanwhile, you can vote for the best lyricists ever here.

Words: Emily Mackay, Matt Wilkinson, Barry Nicolson, Mark Beaumont, Laura Snapes, Dan Martin, Sam Wolfson, Martin Robinson, Jaimie Hodgson


The Radiohead man stares into the abyss so you don’t have to

While Thom Yorke’s angst poetry was hardly shoddy as far back as ‘Creep’, the project he started on ‘The Bends’ was upgraded to a literary heavyweight with the band’s epochal third LP ‘OK Computer’. On it, Yorke spoke for a generation unsure of the future and baffled by the present, his great skill being to embed human emotions within an eerily detached view of the world.

With age, his lyrics have more grace and clarity, yet he’s still most effective with his teeth out. Perhaps his most powerful lyric is sparse ‘Harrowdown Hill’ on debut solo album ‘The Eraser’, written from the point of view of Dr David Kelly, the government weapons adviser who committed suicide over his involvement in events leading to the invasion of Iraq.DM

Key lyric: “Don’t walk the plank like I did/You will be dispensed with/When you become inconvenient” (‘Harrowdown Hill’, from ‘The Eraser’, 2006)


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