Poetry: Music

Many musicians are also known for their poetic way with words and their ability to convey deep emotions and ideas through lyrical expression. Check out these examples of musical poets. 

Cover of Legend by Bob Marley & the Wailers
Bob Marley & The Wailers

Jamaican reggae singer, guitarist, and songwriter Bob Marley gave the world brilliant and evocative music. This collection features 15 of Marley's most memorable songs. It is truly a gem among greatest hits albums and a perfect place to start with his timeless and universal music.

Cover of Idiot Prayer by Nick Cave
Cave, Nick

Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace is a concert film and live album by Australian musician and published poet and writer, Nick Cave. It was originally released globally on July 23, 2020 from Alexandra Palace in London. Idiot Prayer serves as the final film in a trilogy, along with 20,000 Days on Earth (2014) and One More Time with Feeling (2016) and was described by Cave as, "it's luminous and heartfelt climax." 

Cover of Greatest Hits by Tracy Chapman
Chapman, Tracy

This collection brings together, for the first time, classic tracks from American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman’s celebrated career and includes eight best-selling studio albums. Compiled by Chapman herself, the featured songs have also been remastered. Since her eponymous debut in 1988, Chapman has captivated audiences around the globe with her pure voice, evocative songs, and intense spirit. Her ear for authenticity infuses these 18 tracks with a visceral and emotional resonance.

Cover of The Essential Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen
Cohen, Leonard

The tracks on this double disc, 31-song anthology, span Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist Leorand Cohen's career, from his 1967 debut album through 2001's Ten New Songs, were chosen by Cohen himself. It could thus be regarded as an accurate mirror of how Cohen sees his own career path and catalog highlights. A fine collection of much of Cohen’s better work. 

Cover of Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey
Del Rey, Lana

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass is the title of both an album and a book of poetry by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey. For the album she chose 14 of the 30 poems that appear in the book to record. It contains spoken word pieces over unobtrusive electric pianos and atmospheric sounds provided by producer and musical collaborator Jack Antonoff. The selections are rich with imagery of sunny California, confessional in nature, yet mysterious. 

Cover of When You're Strange Soundtrack by The Doors
The Doors

When You're Strange is the soundtrack to the documentary film about the late '60s/early '70s American rock band The Doors. The album compiles many of their classic songs and some live versions. Jim Morrison, lead vocalist and lyricist also wrote and published poetry.

Cover of Shadow Kingdom by Bob Dylan
Dylan, Bob

Shadow Kingdom presents singer/songwriter Bob Dylan performing revelatory 21st century versions of songs from his storied back catalog, including fan favorites like “Forever Young” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” and deep catalog gems like “Queen Jane Approximately” and “Wicked Messenger.” Originally reinterpreted for an exclusive streaming film event, which aired in July 2021, the album's setlist includes 13 original songs handpicked by Dylan for his Shadow Kingdom performance plus the closing instrumental, "Sierra's Theme."

Cover of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
Hill, Lauryn

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is the debut solo album studio by American rapper and singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill. Released August 25, 1998, the album swept the Grammy Awards in 1999, being nominated for ten and winning five. Worldwide, the album has sold over 20 million copies, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time, the best-selling album by a female rapper, and the best-selling neo-soul album of all time. It has been called, "an album of often-astonishing power, strength, and feeling."

Cover of Dread Beat an' Blood by Linton Kwesi Johnson
Johnson, Linton Kwesi

Linton Kwesi Johnson, also known as LKJ, is a Jamaica-born, British-based dub poet and activist. Johnson is the father of “dub poetry,” a blistering genre that blends reggae and poetry. Most of the tracks are based on poems that first appeared in Johnson's 1975 book of poetry of the same name. In it Johnson describes the situation of Black British youth in the inner cities in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Cover of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar
Lamar, Kendrick

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a concept album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. This personal, confessional hip-hop album features narration by Eckhart Tolle and has guest appearances from Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang Clan) and Beth Gibbons (Portishead), among many others. It received eight Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. 

Cover of The Reprise Albums : 1968-1971 by Joni Mitchell
Mitchell, Joni

The Reprise Albums: 1968-1971 features newly remastered versions of Canadian-American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joni Mitchell’s first four studio albums; Song To A Seagull (1968), Clouds (1969), Ladies Of The Canyon (1970), and Blue (1971). The cover art features a previously unseen self-portrait Mitchell drew during this time period and the booklet includes an essay by Grammy winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. Mitchell is also a published poet; her book Morning Glory on the Vine features handwritten lyrics and drawings, originally handcrafted as a gift for a select group of friends in 1971, and now available to the public for the first time.

Cover of We’re New Again : A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven
Scott-Heron, Gil & McCraven, Makaya

We're New Again: A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven is a unique reinterpretation of legendary US musician, poet, and author Gil Scott-Heron by acclaimed US jazz musician Makaya McCraven. Released in 2020, exactly a decade after the release of Scott-Heron’s thirteenth, and last, studio album I’m New Here. McCraven is described by the New York Times as a "Chicago-based drummer, producer and beat maker, (who) has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz’s vitality."