Rock Bands With the Most Intelligent Lyrics

List of Intelligent rock bands judged by lyrical content.

The Top Ten

1 Tool Tool Tool is an American progressive metal/alternative metal band, that was formed in 1990. more.

Tool has incredibly well thought out songs like Lateralus where the syllables of the lyrics work up and down the Fibonacci sequence or The pot where the entire song is supposed to make you think its about weed even in its name, but hidden meanings in the lyrics show it is truly a satirical work to criticize those who look at songs only on surface level. As well as well thought out album structure for example 10,000 days has three songs in it where two are played back to back while the third songs audio is layed over the other two to form a hidden song.

I extracted the meaning of all of tool's songs; placed them into a sonic concoction, and now I can't stop break-dancing. It's like I have an intel pentium performance platform running my mental data banks, and every time I hear the song "10,000 days" I cannot stop doing the robot. Artistically speaking, tool has pressed music and art to a threshold of evolution. Their bodies may not posses 46 and 2 chromosomes, but their album Anemia does. This song is a noteworthy elaboration on human evolution and requires a vast amount of mental horse power to create. Maynard is said to have an I.Q. of around 140 and a level of emotional intelligence that cannot be measured. The next time I listen to the song, "eulogy" I will make sure I do the electric worm.

This is what makes tool my favorite band. They're not just a great sounding band. They go beyond to give the people something to think about. I imagine them going through much trouble with there song writing before they feel its ready. This is why it take them so much time in between albums. Thanks TOOL. You've ruined every other band for me.

Tool would be #1 on my list

V 4 Comments
2 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English progressive rock band formed in London. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members - David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitarist), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters (Vocals and Bass), more.

Songs like Time, Money, US and Them (Dark Side of the Moon), Wish you were Here, the whole Animals album are time immemorial, not just for their music, but equally for their content too. Pink Floyd has inspired many artists for their concept albums which upholds the fact that their songs mean something.

These are the masters

"Every year is getting shorter,
never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught,
or half a page of scribbled lines."

You cannot say that's not beautiful poetry. - MontyPython

No doubt!

V 1 Comment
3 Radiohead Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwoood (bass guitar), Phil Selway (drums), and Ed O'Brien (guitar).

It is pretty commonplace to use complex metaphors to say something simple when it comes to poetry and songs. But how many people can use everyday words and phrases to convey something extremely deep? Thom Yorke is the answer.

Their songs are simply magical and they have a lot of meaning

Just amazing blow me away. And musically genius!

It must be number 1

V 1 Comment
4 Rush Rush Rush is a Canadian progressive rock band that was formed in 1968. Even though the only founding member still in the band is Alex Lifeson (Guitar), the band is most well-known for their current members Neil Peart (Drums) and Geddy Lee (Bass, Vocals). more.

The older I become, the more I appreciate Neil's lyrics. Coming back to old favourites and listening to them again after some of life's curves and challenges, makes me realize what genius this band possesses. After some deeply personal losses in my own life, the meaning within Something for Nothing, One Little Victory, Earthshine, Dreamline, Bravado, Secret Touch and Ghost Rider resonated.

Even when they do decide to do a song about some rock staple like a car... they created the gem that is Red Barchetta. If that isn't the perfect car song, I don't know what is!

Add to all that the fact they are all musician's musicians makes Rush the only one I could vote for in this "top ten" list.

Neil does NOT have a degree in English. He is a high-school dropout. Neil is a self-taught, self-made man. He has gotten where he has through hard work & perseverance.

Just look into how the lyrics are written and you'll understand

I Googled "intelligent rock musicians" and found this poll. I would vote Rush #1. Amazing lyrics.

V 5 Comments
5 Bad Religion Bad Religion Bad Religion is an American punk rock band that formed in Los Angeles, California in 1979. The band makes extensive use of soaring three-part vocal harmonies, guitar solos and lyrics that often contain religious and political commentary.

There's a running joke among punks about the "Bad Religion Dictionary" that is needed when analyzing their lyrics. Graffin is actually a university professor, and his articulate diction definitely shows this.

Bad religion lyrics are amazing, by far the most intelligent and unique I've seen... Grab your thesaurus!

Style of music can be subjective and you don't have to agree with everything that they sing about but their lyrics go way deeper than 99% of all other bands on this blue planet.

They tend to be smarter than any metal band on this list, rush is just ayn rand/libertarian garbage, iron maiden just sucks, as most metal and rap they're still very hollow/shallow, with no substance

V 1 Comment
6 System of a Down System of a Down System of a Down formed in 1994 as an Armenian-American Nu Metal group from Glendale, California . The band name is sometimes shortened to System or SOAD. more.

A first I thought these guys were just noisy and high on cocaine... But one particular day I took my time to really understand their lyrics, they are very good

They enjoy hiding deeper meanings in their songs by making it sound like they are just a bunch of idiots. I love it - kempokid

Eye opening. They have left nothing untouched with their critical, harmonic verses.

At first listening their lyrics might seem like gibberish, but there is way more to them.
Their lyrics can go from serious to silly in a second and they aren't afraid to experiment!
They're often very oblique, so it's hard to define exactly what they're about, but because of that they can mean something differnt to each listener!

V 2 Comments
7 Iron Maiden Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The most critically acclaimed period for the band was from 1983-1989. With vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, lead guitarist Dave Murray, rhythm guitarist Adrian more.

Many of their songs provide a stunningly complex view of a historical event. For example, "Paschendale" off of Dance of Death examines its namesake WWI battle, while "The Trooper" examines the Charge of the Light Brigade, an attack in the Crimean War. Another common theme amongst Maiden's music is literature. "To Tame a Land" summarizes Frank Herbert's sci-fi classic, "Dune", while Powerslave's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is capable of passing as a complete thesis on the Coleridge epic. Overall, Iron Maiden puts out consistently fantastic music, paired with some of the most intellectually stimulating lyrics that can be found in rock and metal.

8 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums). The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition more.

There are songs they don't even use the title in

Based heavily in literature, sex, and some current events, led zepplin tells stories in a beautiful way. Not only are the lyrics fantastic but the instrumentals are great too.

Music is good!

9 Cog Cog Cog are an Australian progressive rock band that formed in 1998. Their debut album, The New Normal, was nominated for Triple J's 2005 J Award.

A Progressive rock band! The best of all time! Their lyrics are deeply well thought out! And most. Of all intelligent

10 Manic Street Preachers

Every lyric is deeply meant and sang for a reason, particularly the political side most can relate to. There is no "beating around the bush", the Manics say it how it is and their lyrics tread on grounds most other bands fear to tread.

The Contenders

11 Cold Cold Cold is an American rock band, formed in 1996 in Jacksonville, Florida. With two gold-albums, Cold has sold over one million records in the US alone.

Cold often assumes a brooding, contemplative tone, but its latest album, Superfiction, changes all of that with imagery that alternates between raw realism and depressing majesty, and messages that convey a more authentic and often unexplored side of humanity, revealing us as a race striving to imbue our lives with meaning and purpose, and inevitably failing, but admirable nevertheless in its relentless, naive optimism.

One of the best hard rock bands I know, took me a while to like them but it seemed each time I would play a song over and over I understood something new

12 Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine Rage Against the Machine is a rock band formed in Los Angeles, California. The band consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk.

This band is the ultimate political criticism.

The best ever!

Social commentary throughout the 90's. Considered one of the most politically dangerous groups at the time. References societal ills stemming from the beginning of the US.

13 Apocalyptica Apocalyptica Apocalyptica is a Finnish metal band from Helsinki, Finland formed in 1993. The band is composed of classically trained cellists Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso and drummer Mikko Sirén.

All I can say is that their music is an "ART" and only intelligent minds can understand the cello metal

14 King Crimson King Crimson King Crimson is a British progressive rock band that was formed in 1969. While the band had numerous band member changes, the head of the band has always been Robert Fripp (Guitar). more.

Peter Sinfeld wrote some of the most articulate, well thought out lyrics in the early days of King Crimson

"Death seed blind man's greed
Poets' starving children bleed
Nothing he's got he really needs"

15 Within Temptation Within Temptation Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal band founded in April 1996 by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt.

Generally, I think all goth bands are creative and intelligent, but I personally think there isn't a goth band better that these guys, especially their old stuff like "Enter"

Sharon's lyrics are full of emotion and actually mean something. Even though she sometimes forgets them herself when performing live.

Sharon's Lyrics are meaningful & thought provoking.

Can we all just talk about WT's songs that just shows intelligence in their lyrics?

V 1 Comment
16 Nine Inch Nails Nine Inch Nails Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock/metal band and, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio.
17 The Sisters of Mercy
18 Queen Queen Queen are an English rock band formed in 1970. Members were Freddie Mercury (Vocals and Piano), Brian May (Guitar, Vocals), Roger Taylor (Drums, Vocals), and John Deacon (Bass Guitar, Vocals). Before forming into Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor had played together in a band named Smile. Freddie Mercury more.

Just listen to Killer Queen, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Under Pressure Etc. All of them have very complex lyrics.

With the constantly declining intelligence in song lyrics its nice to have an intellectual space in music

Queen had a Doctor in the band. And they all wrote some pretty deep lyrics to their songs

19 Rodrigo y Gabriela

This duo is amazing!

20 Isis

Very heavy, very drifting and helps me think clearly

PSearch List

Recommended Lists