Quincy Jones has been around for essentially as long as the modern music industry has existed, so he’s had plenty of time to cultivate plenty of opinions based on plenty of experience. In a new interview with GQ, the legend, who turns 85 in March, shared a particularly hot take: He doesn’t think Taylor Swift is that good.
Although his responses were somewhat vague or roundabout, Jones was crystal clear in saying that he thinks Swift writes hooks, as opposed to songs:
“But, say, Taylor Swift, I guess, is the biggest pop star on the planet in terms of sales right now and this week is about to sell over a million copies of her new album. Do you like her?
Jones makes a face, somewhere between disapproval and disdain.
What’s wrong with it?
‘We need more songs, man. F-cking songs, not hooks.’
Some people consider her the great songwriter of our age.
He laughs. ‘Whatever crumbles your cookie.'”
He went on to say that part of what separates Swift and greatness is a lack of work:
‘Knowing what you’re doing. You know what I mean? Since I was a little kid, I’ve always heard the people that don’t wanna do the work. It takes work, man. The only place you find success before work is the dictionary, and that’s alphabetical.’
So if you were producing a record for Taylor Swift, what would you have her do?
‘I’ll figure something out. Man, the song is the shit — that’s what people don’t realize. A great song can make the worst singer in the world a star. A bad song can’t be saved by the three best singers in the world. I learned that 50 years ago.’
Plenty of people talk as though Taylor Swift has great songs.
‘But they don’t know, man. They don’t know. I’ve come and gone through seven decades of this shit. Seen all that. Seen how that works. Ignorance is no thing.'”
It’s also worth noting that Swift is far from the first larger-than-life performer that he didn’t care for. For instance, he didn’t particularly like Elvis Presley when he first burst onto the scene: “Motherf-cker couldn’t sing,” Jones said.
Elsewhere in the piece, Jones talks about having 22 girlfriends around the world, speaking 26 languages, and who he’d like to see play him in a biopic, so read the whole thing here.