Elton John recently lent his voice to a song on Lady Gaga’s Chromatica called “Sine From Above,” but don’t think for one second that he’s your poptimist king. As The Independent points out, in a new interview on BBC Radio 6 Music the iconic singer-songwriter decried the state of modern pop, arguing that the majority of current hits are not “real songs.”
“I like people who write songs,” John told interviewer Matt Everitt. “There’s plenty of people that do but a lot of them don’t get played on the radio because they’re too sophisticated, and we get songs made by a computer all the time, and I’m not interested in that.” He singled out the Lemon Twigs and Father John Misty as current favorites. “He reminds me a little bit of me the way he writes songs,” John said of FJM. “I liked it because it’s proper songs. 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.” He also praised 21-year-old musician and internet personality Conan Gray: “Conan’s from America and he’s the only person in the American Spotify Top 50 to actually write the song without anybody else. Everybody else there’s four or five writers on it.”
John is 73, but these are not the words of an old, out-of-touch rock star. He’s long been known as a voracious music fiend: championing artists such as H.E.R., Hayley Williams, and Low Cut Connie through his Apple Music radio show Rocket Hour, covering Khalid’s “Young Dumb & Broke,” celebrating rappers ranging from Mac Miller to Young Thug to Tech N9ne. He’s not a curmudgeon — just a discerning music fan with very strong opinions.