I'm a lyrics fiend. I fall hard and heavy for songwriters with their own, usually skewed, view of the world and an interesting way of articulating it.
Arab Strap, Blood Brothers, Jamie T, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Ryan Adams, Tom Waits, Warren Zevon; their best songs sound like short stories to me and, although I used to try and keep up with today's best lyricists my girlfriend's boredom with the classic singer songwriter has meant I've listened less and less for them.
I'd love some recommendations of great lyricists; they needn't be singer songwriters, but should build their own world and have a romantic, if cynical or boozy, view of it. It can be grand or minimal but I guess all of the above are sort of conversational in style. The last person I really dug in this mould was Josh T Pearson, but by all means go earlier. An album recommendation would be wonderful too.