Q You have always been surgically precise with words. What's the most important element in your lyric writing?
A I guess clarity is the most important thing, although mystery is pleasurable too. The first line of a song is crucial. Listener attention is probably highest at the first line. I try to make those words interesting enough to keep the listener interested.
Q Like "I met my old lover on the street last night."
A Yes, a quick image that tells a story or asks a question.