Eight classic rock songs with problematic lyrics

Do these classic rock songs have great lyrics or not?
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin / Michael Putland/GettyImages
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“Test for Echo” - Rush (1996)

“Here we go – Vertigo – Video vertigo – Test for echo”

One day, I may be brave enough to admit in this type of forum that I really don’t like Rush at all. I find them mostly pretentious and boring. But I wouldn’t say that in front of a bunch of rabid Canadiens.


Anyway, even though I find a lot of Neil Peart's lyrics unfathomably silly, I kind of think he nailed it in this post-O.J. Simpson commentary on how crime has become just another TV show. The “test for echo” phrase, which is an industry term for unwanted sound on a recording, succinctly sums up the trend in modern journalism to throw sensationalistic stories at the public to see which ones catch fire. Then, the news/entertainment complex bleeds it dry, often to the exclusion of other pertinent stories. I’m not sure “vertigo” is the right word here, but I’ll let that slide. It rhymes.

The only caveat I want to give about these lyrics is this: Lou Reed had already covered this territory a decade earlier in his song “Video Violence.” And Reed did it better. He is just as poetic as Peart, but his imagery is far more grounded in reality and less abstract.

Saying Lou Reed wrote better lyrics than someone else isn’t much of a dis. Reed wrote better lyrics than almost everybody, so I can still acknowledge that Peart wrote good ones here. And I don’t often say that, because… well, I’ll keep my opinion about Rush to myself.

Verdict: Good lyrics