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


As a 17-year-old Reading teenager, she was compared to Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. Now 21, she’s only got better

What makes young Marling’s lyrics so powerful is that their subject-matter, whether the joy of sharing a snowy night or the cold chill of rejection, are powerful and personal. As her songwriting skills have developed, so have the complexity of her emotions.

On her most recent album ‘I Speak Because I Can’, Marling’s songwriting has taken another leap, reinvigorated by the imagery of English folk and the subtlety of small moments exaggerated to big statements.

Underneath a richer, more reflective use of language lies those same raw emotions that make Marling’s work touching as well as authentic. SW

Key lyric: “I roll over and shake him tightly/And whisper/If they want you, then they’re going to have come fight me”
(‘Night Terror’, from ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’, 2008)


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