Best lyrics?

TL;DR - The Dreaming Tree

My favorite two artists/bands are DMB and Bob Dylan in that order. Obviously for two different reasons. I regard most of Dave's lyrics as mediocre (so does Dave), and Dylan as the opposite as he is often cited as the best lyrical artist of all time. Dave's melodies, time signatures, and wacky rhythms are what make an excellent guitarist for my favorite band! Songs like Pig, Seek Up, Recently, these songs all have a few good lines here and there but nothing that I would consider impressive. There are youtube videos of Dave even admitting that 'Pig is just another one of your typical feel good songs'. I saw a comment here about a single good stanza in Recently. None of these examples have an entire songs worth of impressive lyrics. The Stone and #41 are cryptic, mostly unexplained verses that have some powerful messages. I will give those two credit. Heck, Two Step is a love serenade from Noah to his wife, Helena, on the Biblical Arc - that is a better example than most of what has been listed!

Tripping Billies is a fun song that has some cryptic meaning. It could be a song from the band's early days, mocking a local reporter who wrote off the band as sounding 'like a bunch of hillbillies tripping on acid'. Another theory is that it was Dave's first time tripping on acid, in South Africa, where he was bugging out about the cops (S.A.'s call them Billies). Allegedly someone nudged Dave and reminded him to relax, as the Billies were partying among them. After that, it was one of the best evenings of his life.

Another fun one is Dancing Nancies. The story behind that song cracks me up. Allegedly, Dave was near the Red Light District in Amsterdam and saw a few ladies dancing in a nearby window, trying to attract customers. Dave asked the cab driver if those ladies always were advertising like that, to which the cab driver responded 'they do, but those ain't ladies, they are Nancies', a slang term for someone who looks like a woman but was not born that way.

In terms of lyrics, The Dreaming Tree, is almost a song from a Bob Dylan lyric book. That is a next level song that gives me goose bumps down my spine. That whole album is their best album, lyrically, IMO: After Dreaming Tree, then The Stone, Don't Drink the Water, Spoon, and Rapunzel are a large spectrum of songs with very different messages and tones. Others mentioned Pig and might mention some others.

To be completely fair, DMB lyrics are unique and all over the place. No one gets away with being so sexual and romantic at the same time, i.e. Seven, Shake me like a Monkey, Crash into Me, Belly Belly Nice, Say Goodbye. So maybe those types of songs are not for you, maybe you like the simple optimistic songs like Funny the Way it is, Gaucho, or You Might Die Trying. Or maybe his few angry songs speak to you, like Halloween (about the woman who rejected his marriage proposal three times), or The Last Stop, Time Bomb. Maybe you like his commentary on religion with songs like Christmas Song, Raven, or Save Me. I might not credit Dave with writing impressive lyrics, but maybe I don't give him enough credit because he does touch on a ton of different topics and tones.

I have to vote against Recently though. It is a very catchy song that I do enjoy to sing and play. The lyrics are almost elementary and that one stanza, as mentioned by /u/mmmmchurros12, is actually a snippet from another song, Water into Wine, which is a ~90 second song with ~15 words in it. Its an insult to DMB to say that is their best lyrical song.

/r/DMB Thread