Prompted by the post from a few days ago on the best sentences in literature, I began thinking of favorite lines (not verses, not whole songs) from popular music. The websites don't have very good lists as far as I'm concerned, so below is a partial list of my own. Like any good song lyric, they each need to be heard in their musical context to be adequately appreciated, so I include links. Despite a couple of exceptions, I did not include rhymed lines--that can wait for another post. As you'll see, my own taste is for the expressive, direct, surreal, etc., but I welcome any flavor, so I hope you'll share your own favorites in the comments!
"I guess I shoulda known by the way you parked your car sideways that it wouldn't last" --Prince, Little Red Corvette
"Me, and everything around me, is unstable like Chernobyl" --Andre 3000 (Outkast), Millenium
"Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps" -- Chuck D, Public Enemy, Fight the Power
"Have you ever felt the presence of a brain?" -- Parliament, The Presence of a Brain
"Raise up!, get yourself together, and drive that funky soul!" -- James Brown, People, Get up and drive your Funky Soul
"Give me your dirty love, like some tacky little pamphlet in your daddy's bottom drawer" --Frank Zappa, Dirty Love
"Long gone, like a turkey through the corn" -- Lightning Hopkins, Like a Turkey through the Corn
"God help us, help us lose our minds!" -- Talking Heads, Slippery People
"Baby, take off your cool" Andre 3000 and Norah Jones, Take Off Your Cool
"I'm all lost in the supermarket, I can no longer shop happily" --The Clash, Lost in the Supermarket
"You know he loved to drink good whiskey, while laughing at the moon"--War, Slipping Into Darkness
"Do I move you?" --Nina Simone
"Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego!" --Sly & The Family Stone, Loose Booty
(The only one I'll comment on: this one depends entirely on musical context to really appreciate, and it isn't a typical verse 'line' at all. I include it because it is an instance of how Sly Stone is popular music's unparalleled genius in using the human voice as a creative musical instrument, something he deserves more recognition for).
"Tangerine green, I know you don't know what I mean, it's just a feeling i get when i think about you" --Fuzzy Haskins, Tangerine Green
"I can't get into the neutron bomb" -- Funkadelic, Into You
"You're so retrosexy, whoa, so fine. Won't you go back in time to me?" -- Chucklehead, Retrosexy
And, as far as the weird, surreal, and absurd go, Beck should have a list unto himself.