Why today's pop songs are so bad.

A cheat sheet for the news.
March 30 2004 4:29 PM

Simply Simpson

Why pop songwriting's not what it used to be.

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No one begrudges Simpson her ambitions. But spend three or four minutes with Simpson's "With You"—"With nothing but a T-shirt on/ I never felt so beautiful/ Baby as I do now"—and you might find yourself longing for the days when professional songwriters ruled the pop charts. Happily, there's no reason to think that the future of pop music is one in which all of the songs will be written by the artists themselves—there are still pop singers who show no inclination toward songwriting. More important, it's pretty clear that there are plenty unequipped to write anything at all. And as the novelty wears off in songwriting, as in most things, the marketplace will hopefully begin to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Thank God for capitalism.

Kevin Canfield is a writer in New York.