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Or softer, depending on how you look at it." Westerberg has his own explanation for his unique underdog genius: "I think the opposite when I see something," he once said."I have dyslexia, and I've used it to its best advantage." With a talent for wordplay that can be as head-spinning as it is disturbing, and a knack for incessant sing-song choruses that suggest he might've thrived in a Brill Building cubicle, Eminem crams hugely popular songs with more internal rhymes and lyrical trickery than anyone else in contemporary pop.But he become the American punk-rock poet laureate of the Eighties, reeling off shabbily rousing underdog anthems like "I Will Dare" and "Bastards of Young," as well as beautifully afflicted songs like "Swinging Party" and "Here Comes a Regular." A high-school dropout, Westerberg spoke for a nation of smart, wiseacre misfits, paving the way for Green Day and Nirvana, both of which were led by avowed Replacements fans."Westerberg could be barreling along and do 'Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out' or 'Gary's Got a Boner,' and then he could slide into 'Unsatisfied' or 'Sixteen Blue,' says Craig Finn of the Hold Steady."And so I started writing these story songs." A Brooklynite who was equally entranced by R&B and country (claiming his favorite singer was C&W mainstay Tex Ritter), Otis Blackwell began his career with 1953's "Daddy Rollin' Stone," which has been covered repeatedly. And even though Blackwell's own singing career never took off, it's been noted that his vocals on demos of songs that Presley recorded were followed faithfully by the King."At certain tempo, the way Elvis sang was the result of copying Otis' demos," said Blackwell's friend Doc Pomus. Many singer-songwriters reach the point where they have too many great tunes to fit into a live show."You write a song about something that you think might be taboo, you sing it for other people and they immediately recognize themselves in it," Prine says. You admit everything that's wrong and you talk about it in the sharpest terms, in the keenest way you can." "Back then, I just wanted to write songs I could be proud of and be able to play in five years," Billie Joe Armstrong said last year of his attitude while creating Green Day's 1994 pop-punk breakthrough Dookie.
Because he's got you looking both ways, it's bigger, it hits harder.
"Each song had to be different," Andersson said in 2002, "because, in the Sixties, that's what the Beatles had done.
The challenge was to not do another 'Mamma Mia' or 'Waterloo.'" Ulvaeus's lyrics grew progressively darker over the course of Abba's career, even as the band became so unbelievably popular that they were able to release an 18-song greatest hits album simply called Number Ones.
"If you listen to my songs, they tell stories," Missy Elliott has said.
"I write almost as if I'm in conversation with somebody." The crucible of her collaboration with Timbaland was the Swing Mob, a loose constellation of performers and producers who worked with Jodeci's De Vante Swing in the early Nineties.