I hated lyrics in the 1990s. It somehow got in my head when I was a teenager that lyrics were incidental to the quality of a song and all that mattered was the vocal melody and how it worked with the music. I took this stupid idea of artistic purity further and began resenting songs that reminded me of people or places. I wanted to be able to appreciate a song for its own merits without sharing any kind of personal meaning with the music.
Obviously, that changed. A great number of songs on this list are ones I love because of their lyrics and what they mean to me personally. And, as I detailed in Part I, it was in compiling these songs that recurring lyrical themes revealed themselves to me, as did the songs' influence on or reflection of events in my life during the time I was first listening to them.
I'm a little disappointed to report the dominant lyrical themes of these 100 songs are unhappy ones. We're hearing a lot of regret, a lot of heartache, a lot of finality and a lot of oblivion. I wouldn't associate those words with myself in general -- I'd choose words like brilliant, amazing, awesome, tall -- but, paradoxically, I probably would use those gloomy words to characterize a number of my defining experiences in the last ten years.
But there are positive themes as well, as you'll see in the first song in this final installment of This used to be the future…