Elton John Critiques Music of Today as He Says Songs on the Charts 'Isn't Real Music'

"There's four or five writers on [a track]," the singer said of today's music. "You look at most of the records in the charts — they're not real songs"

Elton John
Elton John. Photo: Mackenzie Sweetnam/WireImage

Elton John is making his feelings known about the current music scene.

During an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, the 73-year-old musician shared his thoughts on today's chart-topping hits, sharing with host Matt Everitt that he believes songs of today that feature numerous writers are "not real songs."

The topic of conversation came about after John was asked what artists he is currently listening to. Noting that Father John Misty "reminds me a little bit of me the way he writes songs," John then also gave a shoutout to fellow musical artist Conan Gray.

"There's a boy called Conan Gray who has a song called 'Heather' and he's about 22, he's from America and he's the only person in the [streaming charts] to actually write the song without anybody else," John said. "Everybody else there's four or five writers on [a track],” he added. "You look at most of the records in the charts — they're not real songs. They're bits and pieces and it's nice to hear someone write a proper song."

"I like people who write songs," he continued. "And there's plenty of people that do but a lot of them don’t get played on the radio because they're too sophisticated. We get songs made by a computer all the time and I'm not interested in that."

Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour - Auckland
Elton John. Dave Simpson/WireImage

The "Your Song" singer has never been one to shy away from making his feelings known, and last year he even critiqued Disney's live-action remake of The Lion King.

"I believe they messed the music up,” John said during a previous sit down with British GQ. "Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost."

"I wish I'd been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect," John added. "That makes me extremely sad."

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A pair of albums were released for Disney's Lion King remake: One was a soundtrack featuring the film's stars singing the movie's hits like "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," "Hakuna Matata" and "Circle of Life," while another, The Lion King: The Gift, featured the new Beyoncé-led single "Spirit" and other music from the multi-talented star inspired by the film. She produced and curated the album.

John noted to British GQ that neither matched the success of the soundtrack for the original animated film, which took home four Grammys, two Golden Globes, and two Academy Awards (for Best Original Song and Best Original Score) back in 1994; topped the Billboard 200 album charts for 10 non-consecutive weeks, and earned a diamond certification after selling 10 million units.

"The soundtrack hasn't had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year," John said. "The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success."

Elton John, Lion King
Dia Dipasupil/Getty; Disney

Elsewhere during his radio chat with BBC Radio 6 Music, John also discussed preserving independent music venues amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — including Los Angeles' Troubadour, where John played his first U.S. show back in 1970.

"If venues like that disappear then it's really grim stuff because they are so important for new people to go [to] and I've seen so many new acts there that have come from Britain," he shared. "If you can't play well at the Troubadour, you can't play well anywhere."

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John also detailed how he is ready to get back on the road with his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, which was one of the many live shows brought to a halt by the current health crisis.

"Oh, of course, I'm going straight out there again," he shared with glee. "When and where, I don't know. I mean know where – but I don't know when. I’ll definitely be out there, yes. We were halfway through the tour and then you know, that was it and we're on a hiatus. It's like marking time but we're no different to anybody else."

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