From the much-talked-about Vulture interview with Quincy Jones:
“Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no [redacted] songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it. . . . .
I’m trying to isolate what you specifically believe the problem with modern pop is. It’s the lack of formal musical knowledge on the part of the musicians?
Yes! And they don’t even care they don’t have it.
Well, who’s doing good work?
Bruno Mars. Chance the Rapper. Kendrick Lamar. I like where Kendrick’s mind is. He’s grounded. Chance, too. And the Ed Sheeran record is great. Sam Smith — he’s so open about being gay. I love it. Mark Ronson is someone who knows how to produce.”
Quincy Jones is a brilliant musician, but I am not linking the article in this post, because he is also sexist and misogynistic, at least as demonstrated in this interview. Nevertheless, he has some very important things to say about popular music.
If you read the interview on Vulture, be aware that Jones uses offensive language and makes controversial statments not only about music, but also about other things.