Don McLean on today’s popular music: “It doesn’t exist as far as I can see”

The folk-rock icon thinks the repetitive nature of some of today's music "makes you want to hang yourself"

Don McLean, who is best known for his 1971 hit ‘American Pie’, has revealed that he isn’t a fan of a lot of today’s music.

Speaking in a new interview, the singer-songwriter said he believes music on the radio today lacks substance, and that times have certainly changed since his early days in the music industry.

“The music doesn’t mean anything,” he told Tom Cridland on an episode of his YouTube series The Greatest Music of All Time. “The music reflects the spiritual nature of the society. We have a kind of a nihilistic society now,” McLean told the host. “No one believes in anything, no one likes anything, no one has any respect for anything much. The music shows that.”

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Asked about his thoughts on today’s hits on the radio and whether he believes music as a whole has deteriorated, McLean said: “It doesn’t exist as far as I can see.”

“Music is not on the radio,” he continued. “There’s some form of music like sound, but it’s not music to me. There was a show called Name that Tune back in the 1950s, and by the fourth note, they would say, ‘Oh, that’s ‘Strangers in the Night.’ There’s nothing on the radio you can name in 20 notes, almost.”

He added that he felt many of today’s catchy songs involving notes and choruses “repeated over and over again” end up becoming “drummed into your head or makes you want to hang yourself.”

Elsewhere during the interview, McLean said he still had faith in musicians such as Paul Simon and Paul McCartney who are likely “still writing melodies.” However, he claimed today’s musical groups don’t know how to write a melody – at all.

“They have a lot of riffs. They’re very cool and the records are great but they’re not melodies and the lyrics are not about anything,” McLean explained. “It’s very vague and vacant.”

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Back in 2018, McLean shared a video of the moment he teamed up with one of today’s biggest music stars, Ed Sheeran.

The ‘American Pie’ icon joined forces with Sheeran as they relaxed backstage at a UCLA Health and Teen Cancer America benefit concert.

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