Iron Maiden lyrics tournament final: Empire of the Clouds rises above all

Pick the song with the best lyrics from each pair


  • Total voters
    17
  • Poll closed .

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
When Steve has a co-credit you can bet that Bruce needs to adapt his lyrics to his vocal melodies. Bruce had nothing to do with the Paschendale lyrics.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
When Steve has a co-credit you can bet that Bruce needs to adapt his lyrics to his vocal melodies. Bruce had nothing to do with the Paschendale lyrics.
I never said he did. But Adrian is the first credited songwriter and has written lyrics for the band on his own songs, so it's not unbelievable to think he had a hand in Paschendale's lyrics.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
I remember reading something years ago where Steve Harris mentioned that Adrian Smith was religiously researching the Battle of Passchendaele in preperation of the lyrics.
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
And at long last we get to the final: a pair of Bruce songs from their two most recent albums.
Hope we get some thoughtful takes on why you are voting Starblind or Empire of the Clouds.
 

Brigantium

Grim Reaper
Staff member
Oh now, that's a tricky choice. Starblind is a beautiful work, at least in terms of lyrics. Empire is great at capturing a period feel and is quite theatrical into the bargain, but I'm probably biased here as I much prefer the music to Starblind, and this game is about lyrics. Going to go for Starblind.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Starblind.

It feels more original to me. Empire of the Clouds has been done before, and lyric wise that was a much bigger effort. Although, Bruce really made some beautiful effort, I felt he should have given tribute to Curly's Airships. I bet he must have heard it. Van der Graaff Generator's Peter Hamill plays a role, and every airship history buff (if there's one, it's Bruce!) should have heard this.

Starblind lyrics and performance have that mighty presence of some wizard, or some visionary (God!), bringing all these preachings. Powerful stuff.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Starblind is one of the best lyrical works in rock history. It outclasses every other Maiden song in terms of lyrics, imo. Empire is great, like some other Maiden lyrics, but Starblind is something else.

It reads like a fantastic poem if you take it out of its musical context, and works great if you put it back in. Great imagery and allusions, strong word choices, a good sense of rhythm with tight rhymes, interesting subject matter and a great message. It has everything.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I have (sadly) yet to listen to "Starblind", but I have read the lyrics, and I can see why so many people are voting for it, it's a beautifully written song. However, my vote goes to "Empire of the Clouds" because I honestly prefer it's feels a little bit more epic, and the historical aspect of the song intrigues me as well. (And no, this isn't out of bias. :p )
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
I think if any game should end in a tie, this is it. Bruce is the band's best lyricist and it is fitting that two of his songs are the finalists, but they also show two different sides of him as a lyricist. That being said, I have to pick one and I think I'll pick the winner based on who best fits the following criteria:

1) The meaning: is the story or message delivered by the song interesting? Provocative? Entertaining? Does it have some depth?

2) The poetry: do the words chosen and how they are arranged strike a chord with you? Are they clever? Emotionally affecting? Do they paint arresting pictures? Worm their way into your brain?

3) The fit: lyrics are different than other forms of writing because they are meant to complement music. How well do the words fit and reflect the music they are attached to?
Both songs fit the first two categories easily. However, I think Empire's lyrics fit with the music much better. Bruce is using the music in Empire to help tell his story. The music changes with the beats of the plot and dynamic shifts occur in both music and lyrics simultaneously. Bruce doesn't just tell you about the plane crash, but he depicts it through the music. It's obvious that this song was written by the singer because there isn't a single note that doesn't serve the story. On the other hand, Starblind feels more like unrelated music to serve as background for Bruce's lyrics. They don't clash, but the lyrics don't depend on that particular instrumental music. With Empire, the music and lyrics are inseparable.
 

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
Starblind's lyrics are depending on the music which is no background either.
Steve writes the vocal melodies. Bruce needs to follow that melody and even adapt his lyrics if something does not sit well in Arry's eyes.

When we talk about The Fit, in this case Bruce is not the only who should be lauded. We're not just judging how he sings, we're not just judging a poem. Arry plays a big factor in building the lyrics into the song and the melodies have influence on how it is performed and how it all sounds together.

If course, indirectly Adrian also has a role if Bruce sings lyrics over music written by H.
 
Last edited:

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Steve writes the vocal melodies.
I don't think this is the case when Bruce is the one writing the lyrics. At least not always.

I think Starblind outclasses Empire in its poetry by a considerable margin. Meaning is arguable, Empire does a great job of dramatic storytelling, but in terms of pure poetry it's no match.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
I wholeheartedly agree with @Mosh, re:

Both songs fit the first two categories easily. However, I think Empire's lyrics fit with the music much better. Bruce is using the music in Empire to help tell his story. The music changes with the beats of the plot and dynamic shifts occur in both music and lyrics simultaneously. Bruce doesn't just tell you about the plane crash, but he depicts it through the music. It's obvious that this song was written by the singer because there isn't a single note that doesn't serve the story. On the other hand, Starblind feels more like unrelated music to serve as background for Bruce's lyrics. They don't clash, but the lyrics don't depend on that particular instrumental music. With Empire, the music and lyrics are inseparable.
I think that both songs have brilliant lyrics, but the fact they are so intertwined with the musicality in Empire seals the deal for me. Also, looking back on the majority of great Iron Maiden songs I think they are a story band. They tell tales, be it folklore, devil silliness, historical retellings, film/book adaptations, etc. Maiden have always been about giving us great stories along with great music (and that is because of Steve's influence and vision, ultimately). Thus, I think it only fitting that Empire should win based on it's brilliant lyrics and musical storytelling rather than Starblind, which is admittedly genius but much less in line with the common storytelling strengths of Maiden material.

Also, @Detective Beauregard - get in here!
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
I think that both songs have brilliant lyrics, but the fact they are so intertwined with the musicality in Empire seals the deal for me. Also, looking back on the majority of great Iron Maiden songs I think they are a story band. They tell tales, be it folklore, devil silliness, historical retellings, film/book adaptations, etc. Maiden have always been about giving us great stories along with great music (and that is because of Steve's influence and vision, ultimately). Thus, I think it only fitting that Empire should win based on it's brilliant lyrics and musical storytelling rather than Starblind, which is admittedly genius but much less in line with the common storytelling strengths of Maiden material.
This is a good point. Most of my favorite Maiden songs early on were the ones that told stories (Dance of Death, The Trooper, Powerslave etc). In many ways Empire is the pinnacle of storytelling in Maiden.
 
Top