Most of Beck's lyrics place emphasis on getting an emotional response to a phrase or a bunch of words rather than telling a straight down-the-line story. He explained to Mojo
: "You season things with different emotions and attitudes. That's the only way musically you can approximate the human animal - the mixture of opposites. I like to approach lyric writing as if I don't know English and I'm feeling my way around it. I try to put myself in that mode. I like the language when it's awkward."
"A lot of the writing is inspired by hip hop, because I love the fact that there are no rules, no laws of grammar or syntax - it's all just pure thought process and disconnected poetry. I also love getting Japanese fan letters, because the way they use English is so fresh, so brand-new."
"When I'm writing it's not a very conscious thing. I do it and I come back a few days later and it's like it was a dream or something I imagined. I try to find words that are more musical: words that are pure image tend to be more musical."
"It's not that I'm going for anything obtuse, I'm just trying to get into something lyrically where the words reflect how one perceives and thinks and feels. That's the essence of what poetry is - it's all speculative, it's all about the life of the mind and the spirit. That's something I try to dig for. I spent years writing folk songs where this guy came along and killed five people and then they hung him and that's the end of the story. There's poetry in there, but it gets a little cut-and-dry." (The above two interviews are available at (Rock's Backpages