NPR logo Top Five Lyrics: Best Song Lines Ever

Top Five Lyrics: Best Song Lines Ever

I was talking with a friend recently who told me she never listens to lyrics. She couldn't even quote a single line from a song, even though there are plenty she listens to and loves. She's probably not alone.

A few years ago Sigur Ros proved you can sing pure gibberish in a made up language and still make beautiful music people will love listening to. I'm thinking of their unpronounceable 2002 album ( ).

But for me, the lyrics are everything. I can take a monotone melody if what they're saying cuts to the bone.

Here are my top five lyrics of all time. In no specific order:

1. "I've got a broken heart and your name on my cast. And everybody's gone at last. — Elliott Smith from "No Name No. 5"

2. "I'm an American aquarium drinker. I assassin down the avenue. I'm hiding out in the big city blinking. What was I thinking when I let go of you? — Wilco from "I'm Trying to Break Your Heart"

3. "When I was drinking, when I was with you, living it up when the rent was due, with nothing and no one to live up to." — Hem from "When I Was Drinking"

4. "I could make a career of being blue. I could dress in black and read Camus, smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth like I was 17 that would be a scream but I don't want to get over you." — Stephin Merritt from "I Don't Want to Get Over You"

5. "Don't let it bring you down. It's only castles burning. Find someone who's turning, and you will come around." — Neil Young from "Don't Let it Bring You Down"

Let us know what your favorite lyric is... or give us your top five.