I also agree that lyrics aren't necessarily the most important component of music. I'd like to add that there's no 'right' or 'wrong' when it comes to lyrics. Some lyrics are vague, some are metaphorical, and some are very clean and direct like Ayreon's for example. I don't think any style is superior to another. I was taught that good literature and good movies (as far as those can be recognized objectively; I'm talking about general consensus here.) are often more minimal and functional rather than extensive and overly complex. I prefer simple lyrics like Ayreon over pretentious shit like 90% of metal music... Another variable worth considering is layers. That's where Ayreon falls a little short, although it's definitely not single-layered. Moreover, an argument for Ayreon to use simple lyrics is that with most concept albums in prog (not familiar with other genres), the story is often buried beneath weird lyrics to an extent that you don't know what the fuck it's about. Ayreon does a good job at plain storytelling. I'm not saying Ayreon has great lyrics, not at all. Personally I think the quality varies, most of the time it being passable. Its weakness is cheesiness, its strenght is storytelling efficiency. Lastly, I think Arjen makes this kind of music out of love for 70's music and retro science fiction. He pulls off the music part pretty well. The science fiction is often cult and camp stuff and Arjen knows that. I mean, when he was still touring for Star One he appeared in a ridiculously sexy all-silver suit... If you try to see Ayreon and Star One as an avant-garde prog art thing, I guess it's just not for you.