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


All in their teens, Kendal’s floweriest fop- popsters write words wiser than their years

Like Jamie T – but really not– flapping a foppish fan around the masked balls of the Regency period, Wild Beasts utilise similar techniques but in a more classical, baroque manner: billowing out rhymes like powder tumbling from a three-foot wig, eschewing coherence in favour of expressionist imagery.

Theirs is stuff where double-meaning abounds: “This is a booty call/My boot up your arsehole/This is a Freudian slip/My slipper in your bits” goes ‘The Fun Powder Plot’, having already confounded us with “For the yippee-less swing/For the tot-less cot/For the mock, for the shock/For the fun powder plot”. Wild Beasts are masters of the Byronic turn of phrase. MB

Key lyric: “They passed me round them like a piece of meat/His hairy hands/His falling fists/His dancing cock/Down by his knees”
(‘Two Dancers (i)’, from ‘Two Dancers’, 2009)


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