Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled American Pie songwriter Don McLean says music doesnt exist anymore because no one believes in anything
Photo: Scott Dudelson (Getty Images)

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably found yourself sitting on your quarantine couch these past few weeks and wondering: “Hey, what’s Don McLean up to these days? I bet he has some insightful and relevant thoughts regarding the state of music in 2020.” Well, guess what, kids? You’re in luck! Don McLean apparently agrees with you, and would love to tell you about how much your taste in music sucks. The singer-songwriter mostly known for 1971’s “American Pie” recently had some extremely Old Guy Thoughts about modern songwriting, society in general, and the mid-century game show, Name That Tune.


In a rambling interview with Tom Cridland for his YouTube series, The Greatest Music of All Time, the Boomer Troubadour groused for a good thirty minutes or so on what’s wrong with kids these days and their damn sorry excuses for “music.” We’re using quotation marks there because McLean (of course) doesn’t actually consider any of it real music, at all.

“It doesn’t exist as far as I can see. Music is not on the radio. There’s some form of music like sound, but it’s not music to me,” he said. “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, We have a kind of a nihilistic society now. No one believes in anything, no one likes anything, no one has any respect for anything much. The music shows that.”

Gee, we can’t imagine why anyone would feel nihilistic these days. Also, aren’t you the dude who wrote a song about a plane crash with the refrain, “And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye / Singin’ this’ll be the day that I die?”

It’s also probably worth mentioning that Don McLean apparently has no concept of irony, since he, the writer of “American Pie,” also complained that modern music is just “notes repeated over and over again with a chorus that’s done over and over until it’s drummed into your head or makes you want to hang yourself.”

C’mon, Don. Just come out and say you don’t like rap music. It’ll save us all a lot of time.


[via Consequence of Sound]

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Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).

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