Quincy Jones is Clearly Not a Fan of Taylor Swift’s Music

Many articles and blogs written about Quincy Jones’ latest interview with GQ magazine focus on his claim of having 22 girlfriends from all over the world — and all between the ages of 28 and 42. I guess every now and then a Wilt Chamberlain-type claim is made. (Though to be fair, the number of women who have never truly had a real father is probably higher today than ever.) This article will focus on his statement that Taylor Swift is basically a no count songwriter talent.

There are two indisputable facts here. One is that Quincy Jones is one of music’s most acclaimed songwriters. Two, Taylor Swift is the current generation’s most recognized and popular artist. Jones was quoted as saying, “The only place you find success before work is the dictionary” when asked what is wrong with Swift’s songwriting talent level. He says she uses primarily hooks to get people to listen to her music — and what makes her so popular.

You can’t argue with the decades of success that Jones has rung up, including 79 Grammy nominations and 27 Grammy wins. Ray Charles was a teenage friend of his. So if you are objective you have to think about what Jones has said. On the other hand, Swift’s own level of success cannot be ignored. The bottom line question is whether Jones is right. Right?

Umm, no. What is interesting is that Jones claims to have all these young women in pursuit of him, yet doesn’t get what Swift knows and has applied that makes her as successful as she has been. Those women on his arm know. She knows it’s all about face time — and it helps she’s got a face that is easy on the eyes. Regardless what you think of her music, she markets an image both in her songs and in front of the camera that generates likes, follows, and generally a good feeling. How she does it is not important in the 21st century world of social media.

Jones says some of the best current talent includes Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Drake, Ludacris, Common, Mary J. Blige, and Jennifer Hudson. No Caucasian-types are mentioned (for the record, Bruno Mars is Hawaiian and Drake is bi-racial). So is it possible Jones is disqualifying Swift because she is white? The names Jones mentions includes a few rappers, which opens up the list for criticism if you are not a fan of rap music. If you think rap is songwriting you are likely to get into a heated argument with more than a few people.

As for the hooks part of the comment, hooks have been around since the early days of Jones. He apparently chose to forget songs like, “Hold On! I’m A Comin’” by Sam and Dave, “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes, and “Help!” by The Beatles. The truth is, he knows better and to criticize Swift for giving music fans what they want is hypocrisy, plain and simple. Of course, at 84 and having done his best work, he can sit back and try and bring down people who are relevant, and talented, today.

So Jones is not right and Swift will continue to be successful long after Jones is dust. (Right now, he is just dusty.) Maybe all those websites and blogs that focused on his self-proclaimed womanizing ways had the right idea. As successful as Jones is, he has been divorced three times, a common life storyline when people choose fame, fortune, and success over being a responsible person to your spouse and children. All he has left is self-promotion and tales of his (apparent) sexual escapades. That is a better storyline than his criticism of success which most people are likely to ignore.

By the way Qunicy, thanks for being a role model for all the young people out there by showing them the value of a woman and the value of staying married.

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