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Are today's songwriters uninspiring?

11:15 UK time, Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Musician Sir Elton John has criticised modern songwriters, calling them "pretty awful." Do you think the songwriting standards have declined?

The singer told the Radio Times that he doesn't like TV talent shows, calling TV "boring, arse-paralysingly brain crippling." And added that he felt contemporary pop was uninspiring.

Sir Elton also said he admired stars such as Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga, but added: "It's important they write their own songs, so they're not at the mercy of anyone."

Do you agree with Sir Elton John's comments? Do you find modern music unoriginal? Or are you inspired by contemporary pop? Should singers have to write their own songs?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Elton's not one to talk. He's released plenty of dross in his time.

  • Comment number 2.

    If I hear another cover version I'll scream!

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm not sure Uninspiring is the right word. More like - Garbage (not the band!). There are odd rays of sunshine in the pool of mediocrity, but Elton is right, creative artists are few and far between. Its quite sad that the biggest live musical attractions in the world are generally pensioners or near to pensionable age!
    I do have to say that there were some impressive singing voices on Saturday's X-Factor though, so singing talent does exist.

  • Comment number 4.

    While I can see where Elton John is coming from, I think he is doing a lot of talented songwriters a huge disservice. Yes, there is some real rubbish out there, but there are also some remarkable songs out there, being written by writers and performers. I'm thinking along the lines of Bat for Lashes, Florence and the Machine and many others.

    It's just like every other generation in music history. Yes, there is some real rubbish being circulated and released, but there's also some real magic gold.

  • Comment number 5.

    Are today's songwriters uninspiring?

    'Musician Sir Elton John has criticised modern songwriters, calling them "pretty awful." Do you think the songwriting standards have declined?'

    Says the man responsible for some of the most inoffensive, bland, boring music ever penned (along with the odd classic).

    I'd agree that the mainstream is boring, but the lowest common denominator often is.

    What Cowell and co are doing by taking the talent,creativity and work ethic out of popular music is really no more harmful than what Stock Aitken & Waterman did in the 80s - if it doesn't float your boat then don't listen.

    There are plenty of bands still making great music just outside the mainstream - Editors, Maximo Park & Mumford & Sons spring immediately to mind, closely followed by Anthony & the Johnsons. And the new C lee Green stuff sounds really promising as well.

    Maybe Sir Elton, like a lot of other older people needs to look a bit harder, rather than assuming that what he hears on the Radio is representative of the music scene right now.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm 51 and listen to pop music and buy CD's from the likes of Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis, Michael Buble, The Script etc....

    The last album I bought of Elton John's was in the early 1970's.

    His music is pleasant to the ears, but not what I consider to be inspiring.

    He should take his money and shut up as music tastes are forever changing. Its his view and his alone, as are my views.

    If I remember rightly, Elton buys CD's galore in any case, so surely he must be buying some of those he is criticising?

  • Comment number 7.

    Even though I'm not a big fan of Sir Elton, I have to agree with him in this case. I can't be bothered with most of the stuff in the charts these days, there is not enough decent rock music in my opinion. This is not helped by the insipid rubbish peddled on the likes of the X-factor year in year out. Give me a bit of Deep Purple any day! And no, I'm not an ageing rocker I'm still in my twenties but a big fan of 70s rock and blues!

  • Comment number 8.

    This explains why geriatric bands and artists are still touring, earning a decent living performing truly great songs. If it wasn't for the fact that Alexandra Burke et al hadn't been on t.v., no-one would have heard of them. I wouldn't rush to pay to see a glorified karaoke performance.

  • Comment number 9.

    Modern music is a joke, shows like X Factor were people with no talent compete with other people with no talent to have five minutes of fame in the red tops before they are found out. Whatever happened to people with genuine talent playing in clubs and pubs and building up a fan base both The Beatls and The Rolling Stones started that way and they both turned out to be pretty good as for songwriters this week Bob Dylan has released the Witmark sessions from the early 60s just one listen to his genius on these demos puts todays pretenders to shame.

  • Comment number 10.

    Are today's songwriters uninspiring?


    Yes.

  • Comment number 11.

    Totally agree with Elton John, today's music is rubbish.

  • Comment number 12.

    On the way into work I found myself cringing to to the music that was being played by a group of teenagers on their way into school. I would certainly agree with Elton John in saying that the songs playing were pretty awful. Then I realised I was echoing the same sentiments my parents made of the music I listened to when I was a teenager. According to my parents the music I listened to was pretty awful and give it another twenty years I'm sure the teenagers of today will think the music in the future will be pretty awful too. It's all about getting old Elton, it happens to the best of us.

  • Comment number 13.

    Music in total needs a new sound, it needs musicians and song writers like Lennon & McCartny to create something worth listening to. Music has lost it's way with the boom,boom, disco sound, it's alright writhing about on a dance floor off your head with drugs, but it's not something you would want to buy and listen to at home, unless of course your'e one of the drugged up morons that thrive on rubbish.

  • Comment number 14.

    Elton John has created so much crud I think it is a bit rich that he chooses to criticise others

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm not sure that all modern stuff is dross, but one of our cats certainly has her own view of the latest one from James Blunt - it came on the radio while I was taking her to the vet and she howled and howled. I turned it off, and she stopped. Enough said?.........................

  • Comment number 16.

    I doubt things are any worse than before, there have always been good songs and always been bad songs.

  • Comment number 17.

    Elton is bang on there. The standard in the music industry has drastically gone downhill. Few people actually write their own songs or even play an instrument. Simon Cowell is one of the worst things to happen to the industry with his brand of bland plastic pop. Very uninspiring & little or no real descernable talent aside from looking pretty for the cameras.

  • Comment number 18.

    The quality of songwriting is subjective, to be honest. Not every artist can be Kurt Cobain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Song writers or lyricists?

    Subject matter for lyrics doesn't really change that quickly from decade to decade, although style and composition certainly does. And I don't think it matter who writes the songs so long as they get the credit for it at the end of the day.

    But like a lot of people (but not all mind) I tend to favour the styles of music I grew up with so yes most music today doesn't "do anything for me".

    But since what music you like or hate is all personal opinion, it doesn't matter what Elton thinks.

    But I do agree with his Talent Show comment!

  • Comment number 20.

    In a recent series of the X Factor, they resurrected so many oldies from Steve Perry and Journey because there is not sufficient new material about.

  • Comment number 21.

    A bit rich coming from someone whose songwriting is so inspiring that he never had a Number 1 in his own right!

  • Comment number 22.

    How good are our present day songwriters?Absolute rubbish,how many tunes do you hear people whistling or humming?I will rest my case.

  • Comment number 23.

    Lets go back to the 70s.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is a joke, I assume.

    Elton John has a long term writing partnership with Bernie Taupin. Taupin writes the lyrics ! He literally puts the words into Elton John's mouth.

    Be more interesting to hear what a talented songwriter had to say.

  • Comment number 25.

    So Elton John considers himself better than Dido does he?

    Perhaps someone could enlighten me on his good songs because all I rememeber is banal bubblegum e.g. Rocketman, Yellow Brick Road. These must be up there with Sugar Sugar and Barbie Girl

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't see how today is any different than before. There is a steady stream of manufactured dross for the masses to consume, of which the only aim is to make as much money as possible. At the same time honest, quality music to be found as well. Just ignore the dross and you spare yourself a whole lot of aggravation

  • Comment number 27.

    Did anyone watch 'must be the music' on Sky 1? Its like the X factor for talented people. There was a great deal of young talented musicians on it and I was really impressed. They sang their own songs, some truly amazing by the way, and played their own instruments. Now that was inspiring! These people are the real talent the music industry should be concentrating on. There were some great bands, great solo artists and it was judged by credible artists who actually put their money where their mouths are. The girl who won it, Emma's Imagination, was superb. She's quite rightly been snapped up by Gary Barlow's record company. The talent for writing great songs is there, they just need the chance to show it off. The X factor has some really great singers but theres more to it than that. Lots af people can sing, but very few can write and perform a great song. All the acts in the final had this ability. More shows like this would be great for music in this country...

  • Comment number 28.

    Popstar musicians, including Elton John, should remember it is the public who make 'songs' popular, and that same public is often tasteless or myopic. A tune or melody used by a former composer, or even the same composer, often has a wealth of twists and turns available, and can, in skillful hands, be regurgitated ad nauseum. No copyright infringement unless plagiarism can be proven either.

    No, Mr John, you should stick to ivory tinkling and coming up with something original every now and again; some of today's composers can and just because your tired old ears cannot hear it doesn't mean it isn't good.

    Many a piece of classical music was jeered at on first performance, including some very famous pieces.

  • Comment number 29.

    My respects to you Elton because you're clearly a very gifted song writer but it's time for you to embrace internet technology because there's plenty of good music on-line. X

  • Comment number 30.

    Elt has a point. Try asking yourself the question: does this pass the Neil Diamond test?

    By that, I mean, would I rather listen to artist X for 2 hours straight than listen to Neil Diamond for 2 hours straight...

    And Neil Diamind usually wins. 115 million sales and counting. For a reason.

  • Comment number 31.

    21. At 12:34pm on 19 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:
    A bit rich coming from someone whose songwriting is so inspiring that he never had a Number 1 in his own right!

    ..........................................................

    A corpse pushing out its last bit of life could get a number 1 these days Elton John has sold 250 million records and he has one of biggest selling numbers ones of all time his version on Candle in the wind for the funeral of Diana.

  • Comment number 32.

    Meh.

    "Some people don't like some music"

    Big deal.

  • Comment number 33.

    1. At 12:09pm on 19 Oct 2010, entreri100404 wrote:
    'Elton's not one to talk. He's released plenty of dross in his time.'

    I'm not a great fan - but the Yellow Brick Road album alone is better than the entire content of any talent show in the UK over the past ten years. Check out 'Grey Seal' from the album. An utterly fantastic pop song. Elton John, sings, plays piano and writes all his own numbers. Anyone on a talent show done that recently?He also wears a wig which always raises a laugh.

  • Comment number 34.

    31. At 1:00pm on 19 Oct 2010, frankiecrisp wrote:
    21. At 12:34pm on 19 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:
    A bit rich coming from someone whose songwriting is so inspiring that he never had a Number 1 in his own right!

    ..........................................................

    A corpse pushing out its last bit of life could get a number 1 these days Elton John has sold 250 million records and he has one of biggest selling numbers ones of all time his version on Candle in the wind for the funeral of Diana.


    You cannot count the tribute to the memory of Diana - whoever had done that would have been able to achieve that.

  • Comment number 35.

    I can only say that I have not bought a "modern" songwriter or performer's song in 25 years - So though I don't like Sir Elton either - I think he is right.

  • Comment number 36.

    Beyond the tripe that is 'X Factor' and anything Simon Cowell is involved in & generic, bland Hip Hop & R&B their lies a deep pool of creativity & talent just waiting to be mined.

    Switch off Alex Burke, Leona Lewis & every other plastic pop puppet. Patric Wolf to name but one is an example of real British talent. Strip away the powder, clothes & paint and swhat you've stll got is is music to your ears.

    Shame the majority settle for the mind numbing dross that is the Cowell empire. Maybe we need another 1977 once more - and that's coming from a 39 year old! :)

  • Comment number 37.

    Are today's songwriters uninspiring?
    Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part they are not singing; they are yelling, gyrating, and otherwise (I think) trying to distract the crowd from the horrid sounds coming out of their mouths.
    It has been said that the universe is written in music - musical notes, harmony. When we listen to music, we are exposing our brains to one set within the many harmonics of the universe. If this is true, and I believe it is, is it any wonder that the world is in a sorry state of disharmony and choas.
    Yes, I believe that songwriting standards have seriously declined, but never mind that because most of the time, you can't understand the lyrics anyway for the banging & screeching of the instrument in cacaphony.
    Modern music tends to sound alike? It fails to inspire.
    It's as though we are living through an age of total uninspiration - in everything from politics to domesticity to songwriting.
    Having said all of this, I do have my modern favorites like Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen, and yes - Sir Elton John.


  • Comment number 38.

    He might have a point, but coming from the man who wouldn't sing live on Top of Pops I find it a bit rich.
    I personally like a song to have a story, not something that just keeps repeating itself.
    There are thousands of great songs, and I would love the chance to chose them for the X factor contestants.
    Time and time again the judges mess up big time, picking the wrong song.
    One of the biggest problems for me is the music drowning out the artist.
    In resent times Joe McElderry is the only singer that I can actually here the words he sings.
    Katy Perry last week could have been singing anything, I didn't understand one word, and even my wife agreed.

  • Comment number 39.

    I have never been inspired by pop to be honest, preferring Rock music. I also however enjoy classical music. I do find the latest brand of pop to be rather boring and lifeless but when that is all that is shoved down your throats on television these days no wonder they are so high up in the charts.

  • Comment number 40.

    It seems to me to be quite a modern idea that a performer has to write their own material , once upon a time it was more the norm for a singer to have material written for them. I don't think Louise Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and many other singers from the forties and fifties wrote their own material but they are still worth a listen.
    The question really should be why the large distributors have such a strangle hold on the market that it blocks original and creative song writing in favour of bland R&B dross that lacks those qualities.
    I probably shouldn't name names but Diane Vickers performing on last weeks XFactor is pretty much what I'm talking about..

  • Comment number 41.

    There was so much junk music around in the 60s/70s/80s/90s/00s that it's hard to understand what he's on about. He's written/sung some rubbish songs in my opinion as well as a few good ones. The good ones everyone remembers, the bad ones fade. I'm sure there is no real difference in music today.

    There's also the old persons' (I count myself in this) view that it was so much better in the when-I-was-young decade.

  • Comment number 42.

    The trouble with music is you only have 8 notes to play with (ok 12 if you want to be picky).

    The issues in pop music only really centre around a handful of themes so its inevitable that your'e going to have a decline in standards.

    Everything has been done and everything has been said.

    As Jean Baudrillard once muttered "simulacra - a copy without an original"

  • Comment number 43.

    I really hate songs that rhyme "maybe" with "baby".

  • Comment number 44.

    I think Elton needs to tread carefully here. When Elton worked with Bernie Taupin he created some fantastic music, 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' stands out, but since has been producing a lot of formulaic production pop. As the DJ on the radio station I listen to says, 'back when he was good'.

    I can't really judge what is going on in current pop music because I've never been interested in the charts, the really good music rarely gets in the 'singles' chart and even more rarely gets even close to No. 1. With the exception of one well known band, who's music is great but have dire lyrics on every song, I'd that in general things are much the same as they ever were - some good, some bad, quite a lot indifferent. It's just a shame you can't get to hear most of it on UK radio!

  • Comment number 45.

    Most of the best music is underground and non-mainstream. It is a place where suits and corporations don't interfere with the creative process and leave songwriters and musicians to express themselves. With the internet it is easier to find inspiring music, it's out there, you've just got to look. It's very easy for Elton to sit in his tower and his comments are a bit of a slap in the face for the hardworking songwriters out there. Mainstream music is prepackaged to make money and not to inspire. If you make the effort there is a whole world full of great music.

  • Comment number 46.

    Time is the biggest and only valid judge.

    Songs and artists only endure from the past because they are good. How many countless artists and songs have been forgetten because they weren't. It's easy to look back on the 70's and 80's and say "Look how many classics were made compared to today". A lot of them weren't - but we don't remember them.

    In 20 - 30 years this argument will be being had and doubtlessly the enduring artists that stand the test of time will be wheeled out to proclaim "oh they don't make them like they did in the '90s or 00's". Elton John and people like Bowie weren't regarded as overnight enduring artists when they were first plugging their trade.

  • Comment number 47.

    Glasshouses and stones springs to mind. He and Mr. Cowell share an ability to make vast amounts of money from rubbish. Mind you, that's more or less what the pop music industry excels at. Ditto most of the rest of the media. It's a bit rich him biting the hand that fed him all these years, even though most of his teeth - like his hair - have long gone. I do agree that pop has lost its way though. There's so little variety in the charts these days - you really have to look elsewhere for the decent music. People like Lady Gaga take risks with fashion, opinions, behaviour, but when it comes to her music it's just bland FM-radio-friendly pap for little girls to sing in their bedrooms. Oh for a performer like Skin!!

  • Comment number 48.

    Also - he admires Amy Winehouse? A continually drunk, perpertually recurring crack addict whose put on repeatedly dire live showings (she was 30min late, nervous, fidgeting, drinking lager, had a dire voice, scratching her arms and carried only by her backing singers/band when I saw her play Vfestival) whose done one solid album to her name.

    Oh I forget - one solid album and we can forgive her any sins. Pssssh.

  • Comment number 49.

    Don't like X-Factor - so I don't watch it!

    Like Later ... with Jools Holland, so I do watch it.

    Come on people, its a personal choice!

  • Comment number 50.

    And finally in regards to Elton admiring Winehouse - Back to Black was four years ago. Four flipping years of having Rehab and You Know I'm Know Good rammed down our throats. Good songs both, but lordy what price variety?

  • Comment number 51.

    I think most of the "mainstream" pop/chart music is dull beyond dullness. Maybe it's because I'm 36 years of age and find it bland, lifeless, almost paint by numbers.

    I must mention Radiohead. For me, Thom Yorke et al have been the leading british group/artiste of the past 15 years. Incredible song writing, emotion, and boundary pushing, makes them the greatest band since The Beatles in my eyes. They have no peers of today.

  • Comment number 52.

    * 47. At 1:44pm on 19 Oct 2010, LippyLippo wrote:

    "Oh for a performer like Skin!!"

    It's OK Lippy I hear she's making a come back with skunk Anansie!

  • Comment number 53.

    When a talentless copycat like Lady Gaga ends up on the top of the music charts clearly there is a problem.
    Real talent, class, sophistication have obviously taken the back seat to cheap sexulaized, meaningless, pop commercialism.

  • Comment number 54.

    It really depends where you get your music. I'm lucky enough to live in Manchester, where I can go out any night of the week to a pub or bar and listen to new exciting bands and artists. If you rely on the radio or charts for your music, you're going to find the same music over and over again; because it sells.

    Saying that I had a great couple of hours putting some overtime in last night while listening to Mark Radcliffe on 6 Music.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sir Elton 'Crocodile in the wind' John is hardly one to talk is he? Sure a lot of modern (and old) chart music is derivative, uninspiring drivel, and yes, many students of grade 2 piano long to play like Elton John. But there are alot of great songwriters out there, you just have to extend your horizons beyond Radio 2, a good start would be to listen to the Zane Lowe show on Radio 1.

  • Comment number 56.

    47. At 1:44pm on 19 Oct 2010, LippyLippo wrote:
    Glasshouses and stones springs to mind. He and Mr. Cowell share an ability to make vast amounts of money from rubbish. Mind you, that's more or less what the pop music industry excels at. Ditto most of the rest of the media. It's a bit rich him biting the hand that fed him all these years, even though most of his teeth - like his hair - have long gone. I do agree that pop has lost its way though. There's so little variety in the charts these days - you really have to look elsewhere for the decent music. People like Lady Gaga take risks with fashion, opinions, behaviour, but when it comes to her music it's just bland FM-radio-friendly pap for little girls to sing in their bedrooms. Oh for a performer like Skin!!
    ------------
    Recommended
    Oh yes I forgot about Skunk Anansie - sadly I missed V this year but I am told they were the highlihgt of the festival.

  • Comment number 57.

    Oo-ooh-ee, chirpy chirpy cheep cheep.

    Aaaaaaaaagh-a-doo-doo-doo.....

  • Comment number 58.

    There are as many good songwriters as there always were, however, dreadful industry manipulators like Simon Cowell ensure that they never get a look in nowadays. The music industry is in the grip of a bunch of hive-minded businessmen like him, with no interest in the art. There is little doubt sadly, that the talentless Beyonce would be favoured over Lennon and McCartney these days for her looks and image alone. The formula is simple. Feed the populace with drab rubbish, and soon they become attuned to drab rubbish and stop asking for anything else. This means that supposedly market forces demand mass produced pretty girls and boys singing drab rubbish, so thats what we get. This is of course nonsense. I hope that one of the big record labels goes rogue some time soon, and we get some of the real talent getting a chance to shine instead of all this x-factor rubbish.

  • Comment number 59.

    21. At 12:34pm on 19 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:
    A bit rich coming from someone whose songwriting is so inspiring that he never had a Number 1 in his own right!

    He's had two - Sacrifice & the Diana England's Rose number.....both were awful although only the last one made me gag!

    Funny how often an acts worst song becomes their biggest seller...McCartneys' Mull of Kintyre & Stevie Wonders'I just called to say I love you come to mind.

  • Comment number 60.

    So long as the music makes money, it's done it's job. I don't see that there's an issue with it being rubbish. The music industry is a commercial market - it's not meant to be inspirational or meaningful. If a song makes a profit then it's a good song. The problem is not the music, it's the people who want it to be something that it's not.

    Don't complain to the car salesman that his product doesn't float. Go see the boat salesman.

  • Comment number 61.

    Toothpick Harry wrote:
    Music in total needs a new sound, it needs musicians and song writers like Lennon & McCartny to create something worth listening to. Music has lost it's way with the boom,boom, disco sound, it's alright writhing about on a dance floor off your head with drugs, but it's not something you would want to buy and listen to at home, unless of course your'e one of the drugged up morons that thrive on rubbish.


    I would refer you to some equally ridiculous statements made about The Beatles in the 1960s;

    Newsweek, February 24, 1964:
    "Musically, they (The Beatles) are a near disaster; guitars slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of 'yeah, yeah, yeah!') are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments".


    Noel Coward:
    "The noise was deafening throughout, and I couldn't hear a word they sang or a note they played, just one long ear-splitting din".
    His opinion, after finally meeting the Boys, was that "it is still impossible to judge from their public performance whether they have talent or not. They were professional, had a certain guileless charm, and stayed on mercifully for not too long."


    Paul Johnson's "The Menance of Beatlism" in The New Statesman, 28 February 1964:
    Johnson refers to "this apotheosis of inanity" and shrilly decries events of history which had brought civilization to such a state, with Beatles fans termed "a bottomless chasm of vacuity", pop critics "barely more literate or articulate" than those who buy the records in the first place. The true hope of the future, Mr. Johnson makes clear, is the sensible contingent of teens who diligently apply themselves to the works of *true* cultural greats (Milton, Wagner, Debussy, Matisse, El Greco, Proust)---unlike those who embrace "music which not only cannot be heard but does not *need* to be heard".

  • Comment number 62.

    I lie the blame with Simon Cowell, who's diabolical shows like The X Factor are killing the music industry. It's because of the people in these shows (who generally win because of their sob story) and the fact that a lot of the British public find this stuff entertaining, that those that write their own stuff and try so hard to break through get overlooked.
    But Elton can't really say much...he certainly saw a great opportunity in re-writing his song when Diana died...and that got him a knighthood, which was definitely not deserved!

  • Comment number 63.

    Elton John is quite right. Most popular 'songs' nowadays seem to consist of tuneless yelling accompanied by deafening percussion and repetitive strumming on guitars. The so-called 'lyrics' mean little since the words are almost impossible to make out. What I'd like to see/hear would be:-
    Something recognisably original to break this boring 'sameness';
    More melody and less of the repetitive crashing percussion;
    People who can actually play guitars instead of single-chord strumming;
    More variety of instruments;
    Words you can actually hear, and which mean something.
    And we need music which can stand on its own merits without the support of the obligatory video!

  • Comment number 64.

    I sense there are a lot more people out there trying to make good music and that improved communications (internet etc) allows more exposure to the less inspiring productions. Modern music tastes have changed and unfortunately seems to cater for mediocrity that is the general trend in all walks of life. Whatever the tastes in music, stand by for a generation with ruined ear drums in about 10 years time!

  • Comment number 65.

    I'm sorry Elt, but your songs turned to dross when you and Bernie Taupin split, nuff said.

  • Comment number 66.

    The charts have rarely had any decent songs at any time in their history. A lot of Elton's stuff is also poor. His hey day was when Bernie Taupin wrote all his lyrics so it's a bit much Elton suggesting todays songwriters are poor.
    There have always been good/great songwriters just don't expect them to pop up in the charts or lip sync'ing on TV.

  • Comment number 67.

    58. At 2:04pm on 19 Oct 2010, max_normal wrote:

    There is little doubt sadly, that the talentless Beyonce would be favoured over Lennon and McCartney these days for her looks and image alone.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Talentless Beyonce? Well you've definatly never heard her sing live. Fool.

  • Comment number 68.

    Is Sir Elton John the right person to determine what constitutes good or bad song writing? Surely time alone is the deciding factor and the really good music/song writing will always have a lasting appeal? Mind you there is an awful lot of pure rubbish these days which should never be aired on radio or television. And as for RAP.........the rappers should WRAP UP!

  • Comment number 69.

    There are plenty of talented artists out there, but I think the music industry conspires against promoting anything other than the same old bland rubbish for which there are specifically defined and targeted markets.

    I think it is clear, though, that the peak of creativity in popular music has long passed. Where you place it probably depends on your own personal tastes but it's difficult to see much past the 70s - from prog to punk in just a few short years. If you get the chance, have a listen to X-Ray Spex: "Germ Free Adolescents". Could you imagine this getting a mainstream release nowadays?

  • Comment number 70.

    Of course there are still people writing great songs, it's just that these days they almost exclusively tend to be writing rock, punk and metal songs and subsequently the mainstream doesn't notice.

    On the other hand pop lyrics have always by-and-large been sentimental mush, so I don't see what's supposed to have changed there.

  • Comment number 71.

    Yet another distacting question as American companies move in to take over our NHS. What a great question to bury real news!!!

    Yes, am using this rubish HYS question as a platform to pose another, more crucial question on another policy that slips and slithers under the radar.

  • Comment number 72.

    He's right, and he's not the first person to say it.

    As far as record companies are concerned, the art of song writing is another ingredient they exploit in their production line, which they churn out and slap on the faces of latest flavour of the month pretty little things they've picked up off the last karaoke talent show, manufactured to the same narrow specifications as the rest of the cliched force-fed mainstream market, which they stimulate, create and dominate as pushers, and millions of kids part with their money because they don't know any better.

    Any musical 'scene' that develops in protest against this trend sadly becomes just another alternative market.

    They have long since forgotten what it is like to really love music, all they can hear and see is pound signs.

  • Comment number 73.

    There is some great music around however most of it is not played on the radio or is in the charts. I’d encourage all young people to search out new music on the internet, bands like The Young Gods, Deadfader, Frontline Assembly and Disharmony.

  • Comment number 74.

    Of course they're "pretty awful" but then so is the taste of those that listen to it.
    Why bother spending time and effort in producing decent music.
    If people are numbed enough to purchase ghastly noise that impersonates music and makes "talent show impresarios" money hand over fist then, whose fault is it?
    Just look at the dehumanising, soul-destroying programs over the weekend (as over 10+ million TV sets do religiously).

  • Comment number 75.

    I cannot understand enough of the text to be able to judge.

  • Comment number 76.

    63. At 2:16pm on 19 Oct 2010, Rabbitkiller wrote:
    Elton John is quite right. Most popular 'songs' nowadays seem to consist of tuneless yelling accompanied by deafening percussion and repetitive strumming on guitars. The so-called 'lyrics' mean little since the words are almost impossible to make out.

    -----
    Is that you Dad?

  • Comment number 77.

    Elton John is an old ass loser the guys i listen to eminem and t.i. r really inspirational. Plus rock isnt supposed to be inspirational. So shut up Elton ur music is pathetic. The only inspirational music is hip-hop. no one listens to rock

  • Comment number 78.

    Are you kidding? Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Sammy Khan, Rodgers & Hammerstein,Lerner & Lowe et al; even Bernie Taupin, Carole King, John Lennon and others. Too many to mention but I'm sure that you have got my drift.

    Today's what? Songwriters? Don't make me laugh.

  • Comment number 79.

    First of all, N'Dubs should be banned. Well, banned from at least the top 40, as they'd likely have a league of asbos otherwise.

    Second, I'm glad there will be no more x-factors after this one, as we have already seen it's true colours (Cheryl Cole, auto tune). It's produced nothing but rubbish over the years, the only slight exception being Leona Lewis.

    Third, Pop should not exist as a genre, as musically, this means nothing. Pop stands only as what the majority thought to be good at the time, and only that!

    Unfortunately these days, there little to inspire to, celebrate wise, if you're not self inspired.

  • Comment number 80.

    67. At 2:29pm on 19 Oct 2010, Jason_Overthinker wrote:
    58. At 2:04pm on 19 Oct 2010, max_normal wrote:

    There is little doubt sadly, that the talentless Beyonce would be favoured over Lennon and McCartney these days for her looks and image alone.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Talentless Beyonce? Well you've definatly never heard her sing live. Fool.

    ..........................................................

    The only fool is the person who thinks what they hear when people like Beyonce "sing live" is what she sounds like without all high tec sound boards that make even the most average voice sound good.

  • Comment number 81.

    There always has, and always will be dross and great music out there. It's just a matter of looking for one enjoys. I have a huge collection of music collected over the years, be it on vinyl or CD. I do buy the occasional download, but at present the quality of the recordings is mostly terrible and sometimes so compressed that it utterly destroys the music. So from well over 1500 albums I have only Goodbye to Yellow Brick Road, why because Elton John hasn't made a good album since his output now is rubbish!

  • Comment number 82.


    It's all relative. There are some good pop songs, but pop is pop and I never expect much. Plus I'm an old git now which narrows it down a bit. But I must admit listening to King Crimson, Floyd, Led Zep, Cohen etc makes me think!

  • Comment number 83.

    2. At 12:10pm on 19 Oct 2010, pb wrote:
    If I hear another cover version I'll scream!

    Yes I agree and I also get really mad whenever I all to often hear someone on TV referring to 'Run by Leona Lewis' or 'Valerie by Amy Winehouse' It makes me want to scream at the TV that it was Snow Patrol who originally had a hit with Run (and how I hate the warbling Mariah Carey style rubbish that Leona turned that great song into!) and Valerie was originally by The Zutons! Grrrrr!

  • Comment number 84.

    Perhaps. More importantly, there has been too much fascination with outrageous attire, or behavior, rather than with the music.

    Also, Rap / Hip-Hop, has become quite offensive, which of course, pleases youth tremendously, as they prefer to offend. That can hardly be called music.

    In truth, there are good musicians out there, making some wonderful music, but it isn't pop / rock, so it goes unnoticed, because the kids aren't talking about it, because most of it is instrumental, and not vocals.

    There has been a large increase in mediocre music, also, due to the ease of making CD's with computers, so everyone who has an instrument is trying to be a musician, and of course, that is not succeeding.

    For every good video on YouTube, there are 100 bad ones. I don't understand why people spend so much time there, unless it is simply a way to get attention.

  • Comment number 85.

    Although I'm not a great Elton John fan, albeit accepting he has written some good stuff, usually with the lyrics of Bernie Taupin, I have to agree with him on this one.

    Today's music is, and has been for some years, akin to processed food; easy to take in, not having to chew too much, but ultimately unsatifying. The methodology seems to be to get a catchy little jingle and pad it out to 3 minutes. The rest is down to marketing and the ubiquitous video which usually consists of a female demonstrating how sexy and desirable she is, or a male showing off how many females he has desiring his not always obvious talents.

    I prefer my music to be an organic thing, not processed and digitally corrected. Computers have been used over the years to deskill many jobs. Musicianship now joins that long list.

    As the music has become ever more predictable and bland, so the people behind it had to devise ever more gimmicky artists to front the dross. Now they've run out of ideas and all we're left with is an homogenous mess of boy-bands, girl-bands, almost self-parodying rapsters and, God preserve us, the X-Factor, which projects ever more of these celebrity-seeking karaoke singers into the spotlight for our enjoyment and to fill out the pages of the gutter press.

  • Comment number 86.

    Oh Dear. Sir Elton. I think you should withold your criticism. People in glass houses??

  • Comment number 87.

    84. At 3:38pm on 19 Oct 2010, tsigili wrote:
    Perhaps. More importantly, there has been too much fascination with outrageous attire, or behavior, rather than with the music.

    Also, Rap / Hip-Hop, has become quite offensive, which of course, pleases youth tremendously, as they prefer to offend. That can hardly be called music.

    -----
    ***** you, mother *******

    ****!

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    We have modern songwriters performing today? Listening to the charts it's either a re-release of a song from the past but done really badly, a song written by a 'professional songwriter' (i.e. nothing to do with the performing artist), or it's a song from the past that has had the following done:

    - The 'riff' or chorus ripped out and put on stuttered repeat
    - a bass-sodden beat added to the background
    - a rap randomly inserted somewhere
    - a dance routine put together to make the song seem interesting when performed

    I'm no fan of Elton John or his work but even one of his worst songs are better than most chart entries today.

  • Comment number 90.

    I have never cared for Sir Elton John's songs they sound droll to me just a lot of banging on the piano like an ape. If making a lot of money is enough to win a knighthood then there are plently of Russian gangsters who could make the list. I think Sir Elton is full of himself thinking he's better. The man is delusional but that's what easy money does to you it gives a license to make oneself a fool.

  • Comment number 91.

    Sir Elton is correct in his statement.

    Sir Elton is the musical equivalent of Mr Stephen Fry.

    I think that people forget that Sir Elton IS actually a musical genius with an incredible amount of musical knowledge – I would love to have a look at his music collection.

    I think that some people also forget the Sir Elton was a child prodigy and I’m sure that he is, more than, qualified to give his opinion.

    Sir Elton, you are smashin’. If I can have a look at your music collection, that would be lovely!

  • Comment number 92.

    21. At 12:34pm on 19 Oct 2010, Gareth wrote:
    A bit rich coming from someone whose songwriting is so inspiring that he never had a Number 1 in his own right!
    -------------------------------------------

    I wouldn't count getting a number 1 as meaning a song is good and especially not these days when image and 'the x factor' mean way more. (The x factor means who can sell most records for Cowell & Co).

    There are very good songs and songwriters out there, but they don't get in the charts very often. Later...

  • Comment number 93.

    Shatners version of Rocketman was better, maybe Elton's just bitter?

  • Comment number 94.

    6. At 12:13pm on 19 Oct 2010, Andrew Lye wrote:
    "The last album I bought of Elton John's was in the early 1970's. . . ."

    You did right there, matey! Yellow brick Road by any chance?

    3. At 12:10pm on 19 Oct 2010, Chris wrote:

    "I do have to say that there were some impressive singing voices on Saturday's X-Factor though, so singing talent does exist."

    I think you'll actually find that's a bunch of rather average singing voices shoved through half a million quids worth of noise-gate, compressor, pitch-corrector, compander, harmonzer, digital delay and reverb.



    31. At 1:00pm on 19 Oct 2010, frankiecrisp wrote:

    "A corpse pushing out its last bit of life could get a number 1 these days . . ."

    I thought Cher had retired?.

    I didn't know we still had songwriters: I thought they were covers artists doing a light pastiche of songs that were mediocre twenty years ago, confident in the knowledge that nobody remembers the original. I heard part of a song the other day and thought "blimey: is Jon Martyn still going?". No: it was just a modern fop ripping him off. . .


  • Comment number 95.

    Modern pop music lacks any real testicular fortitude and the endless cover versions is sickening. Real artists write their own music, spend years touring clubs and pubs building up a fan base. Spending 15 weeks warbling other people's creations and having fame handed to you on a plate is hardly what I would call a 'journey' as the X-factor judges call it.

    Joe McElderberry's albums will be tomorrow's drinks coasters. I also find it highly amusing that artists as young as Justin Bieber write love songs and teen angsty ballads. What could such youngsters possibly know about heart ache at 15? These guys have a very short shelf life thankfully.

    We're due another punk/grunge outpouring of creativity soon I hope.

    Oh, and by the way Elton, your music is also bland and uninspiring.

  • Comment number 96.

    Sir Elton's comments do touch resonant chords and ring so true. When one goes back memory lane and listens to the Beatles, the Shadows for example one is so transfixed. There is something missing in modern-day pop!

  • Comment number 97.

    43. At 1:36pm on 19 Oct 2010, Louise Kaye wrote:

    "I really hate songs that rhyme "maybe" with "baby". "

    That would include the Eagle's "Take it Easy" from 1972 then?

    I think that the problem identified by the nostalgiacs here is that "ee, by 'eck: back in my day we had decent bands and decent songs!"

    In fact, what we used to have is half a dozen decent acts and a hundred rubbish ones. Nowadays we have half a dozen decent acts and a million rubbish ones. That's entertainment for ya!

    45. At 1:40pm on 19 Oct 2010, bleakexist wrote:

    "Most of the best music is underground and non-mainstream. It is a place where suits and corporations don't interfere with the creative process and leave songwriters and musicians to express themselves. With the internet it is easier to find inspiring music, it's out there, you've just got to look. . ."

    I agree with your first point but find the internet the last place to look for inspiring music (unless you're replacing your worn out vinyl with downloads from i-tunes). All that rock 'n' roll came from the rigours of hard touring and gigging, bashing it through with "real" musicians who had to fight for their right to party, in stead of dreaming it using Nintendo wii and Guitar Hero (or whatever it's called). Plus of course, all that sex and drugs and rockn'n' roll. . .


  • Comment number 98.

    Nothing wrong with N'Dubz! I rather like looking at blondes with large chests, music is rubbish.

  • Comment number 99.

    There is not a single song in the chart that is any good. Give me Addicted To Love over anything produced by Simon Cowell and the rest of the stupid people. Ohhh by the way I'm under 25

  • Comment number 100.

    I was thinking about this yesterday.
    I remember when The Police were quite popular.
    I recalled thinking that they would be a good pub band when i heard 'Roxanne'.
    The only other song(of their's) which I thought had something was, 'Every Breath You Take' although the lyrics could have been improved.

    the audience gets a clue, about what the singer-singwriter is thinking too, when the lyricist leaves

    So, in great songs like;

    The Fall 'Blind Man'
    and,
    Joy Division 'Dead Souls',

    you see that the musicians have done so well that the singer lets the music rip/take the lead for a minute or two.

    The singer/songwriter is thinking,

    ''Bloody hell!! I've got my work cut out for me to match this''.

 

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