But the thing is, they don’t know what they did. “What have I done?” Because to know, you also have to be a craftsman. You have to realize what a good song is. And when you can’t spot trash, it’s very hard to know what a good song is. And that is exactly what makes you want to become a good handyman.
In the current model of pop songwriting, there are teams of authors with a role separation like on an assembly line – someone makes the beat, someone else makes the melody. Is that good for music and good for songwriters?
For me these songs mostly become products. There’s no point in it, it comes from someone’s heart. Take Elton John and Bernie Taupin, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. This is not a product; this is something else. I prefer the ones that you feel like this is the one sending this song to the people – that you are getting a part of it, too.
I can hear that sometimes these pop songs have really good ingredients, are ultra professional, and sometimes very catchy. But they lack that sense of personality, I think.
Which songwriters do you like today?
Billie Eilish is interesting. And of course I also admire Taylor Swift. And Rihanna. I think it’s the whole package – the way they develop and how they take part in the songwriting and create an artistic unit. I find that very interesting, a lot more interesting than the kind of pop-up packages, Disney stuff. [Laughs.]
Is it a coincidence that you mentioned all of the women?
I think it is. But maybe in my subconscious I choose women. Maybe because not long ago I was in the studio with two women.
Benny and I wrote some new songs and there will be some new Abba music coming out this fall. But I am not allowed to say anything more about it. I’m so sorry. I would have told you everything, but I can’t. All I can say is that it was fantastic in the studio because it was like yesterday. It was so strange to come into this studio and the four of us looked at each other and thought, “What is this?” It all came back.