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


Few make being a loser sound as heroic as the 41-year-old ATP-headlining Belle & Sebastian man

B&S’ verbose, rapier-witted frontman has spent much of his life on the fringe. He started writing when he was isolated in his Ayrshire bedroom with chronic fatigue syndrome for seven years, before a faith healer cured him and formented a fascination with Christianity. On recent outings Murdoch has come out from behind his characters a bit more and addressed some directly personal issues, first through songs such as the heart-wrenching ‘I’m A Cuckoo’ (which detailed his break-up with former band member Isobel Campbell) and then with last year’s semi-autobiographical side-project God Help The Girl. The comparisons with Morrissey are obvious. But while Stephen Patrick snarls, Stuart Murdoch celebrates. BN

Key lyric: “Your obsessions get you known throughout the school for being strange/Making life-size models of the Velvet Underground in clay”
(‘Expectations’, from ‘Tigermilk’, 1996)

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