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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 Poet Laureate of the misunderstood

You don’t get to be a lyrical giant of Morrissey’s calibre for 25 years by being a mopey old one-tone pony blessed with a Wildean turn of phrase.

As he’s entered middle age Moz’s lyrics have grown a more political edge, a savage sincerity, a colourful way with a character study (‘First Of The Gang To Die’, ‘Piccadilly Palare’, ‘Mute Witness’) and lashings of wit, hope and playfulness spread across the likes of ‘You’re The One For Me, Fatty’, ‘I Know It’s Going To Happen Someday’ and ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’ (because, inevitably, “only stone and steel accept my love”).

All of which have kept him as relevant and revered as a lyricist today as he was at his flower-flapping ’80s peak. He’s still the standard to beat. MB

Best lyric: “I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar”
(‘How Soon Is Now?’, 1985 single)


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