Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Is there a better contemporary pop writer than Neil Finn?

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by rze99, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    Watched this last night. Crowded House - Farewell To The World 20th Anniversary Concert (Live Sydney Opera House) [2016].

    Is there a better contemporary pop writer than Neil Finn? If so, who?

  2. NJ Deadhead

    NJ Deadhead Tele-Meister

    Jan 25, 2017
    Greenville, SC
    Contemporary pop is such a large/vague category, but...

    Better songwriters who often get lumped into this category in my opinion:
    1. Paul McCartney
    2. Sting
    3. Peter Gabriel
    4. Bruce Springsteen
    5. Paul Simon
    6. Ric Ocasek
    7. Becker and Fagen
    8. David Bowie
    9. Brian Wilson
    10. Phil Collins
    11. Elton John
    12. Billy Joel
    Actually...I'm just going to stop. Suffice it to say there are many, many excellent song writers to choose from.
    nojazzhere likes this.
  3. Sooper8

    Sooper8 Tele-Holic

    May 24, 2011
    UK- Midlands
    He's good! He had a real 'purple period' where he was churning sublime melodies out at the drop of a hat...but I am not sure he really sustained that level - which is not a huge criticism when you consider any normal writer would have been happy with the crumbs off his table
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    He’s great!
    So are Difford and Tillbrook of Squeeze, Schlesinger and Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, John Hiatt, and Paul Simon.
  5. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
  6. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    I love Crowded House...but yeah, there are so many great songs written by great songwriters.

    Like Dylan, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Tom Petty...

    And the old guys too, like Cole Porter, Geroge Gershwin...

    I think of saying "Is There A Better" really meant who's your favorite?
    Chicago Matt likes this.
  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I think what sets Neil apart is, he's this good and yet a lot of the Western World that should know something about him, seems not to.

    If you were challenged to turn to your neighbor and just educate him as to somebody he ought to check out, Neil Finn is about the best suggestion one could make.

    I happen to think Steve Kilbey deserves way more attention also, but his music is less squarely in the Pop Tunesmith wheelhouse.
  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I did a deep dive of the various albums, really the whole Tom Petty catalog in memory of Tom recently and while Tom has some Monumental gems, he actually runs out of really cool compositions before a lot of the other guys we've mentioned here do. I never really thought of Tom's albums having much filler, but my mind has been changed. But he never played those numbers at shows, and the shows were great - he just wasn't incredibly prolific like some of these guys are or have been.

    Plus, Tom is awful close to not being Pop. He's closer to Dylan and Neil Young - I tend not to think of these guys as Pop.
    E5RSY likes this.
  9. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 26, 2014
    South London UK
    ...should probably have said of his generation....
  10. brianswindall

    brianswindall Tele-Afflicted

    Ryan Adams & Jason Isbell spring to mind. Neil Finn is an excellent songwriter, to be sure. Some of his songs are part of my life's soundtrack, very memorable.
  11. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 18, 2018
    I think he’s one of the best, and one of my all time favs.

    That said, his style is kinda high brow, as far as pop rock writers go. So not as universal in his appeal as, say Billy Joel or Bruce Springsteen, or Elton John. So it’s hard to compare him with other notable pop writers.

    OTOH, he’s squarely in company with Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and Nick Lowe. They are all his contemporaries, and cut from similar cloth.

    I think the only more recent era writer that comes close, within similar genre, is James Mercer (Shins). Few writers, even notable ones, have the gifts of melody and prose that these do. Just brilliant.
  12. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 18, 2018
    Both are absolutely brilliant. But you can still hear some Nashville craft over substance in a lot of of their songs (Isbell far less so). Albeit, brilliantly crafted. OTOH, Neil Finn’s songs and style is a class all it’s own. Never feel canned in any way. That’s my opinion, anyway.
  13. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Finn holds his own + when you add the Split Enz collaboration it becomes more impressive

    Some of these are tone poems and yes a lot was Noel Crombie's keys

    McCartney had some obvious stellar hits like Yesterday but also some execrable work like Ebony and Ivory and The Girl is Mine where he arguably blew - and wasted the talent available.

    Going through Finn's back catalogue there's some forgettable stuff, but not as many album fillers as Petty.

    I love Tom, and Paul and Gene Vincent but all of them had really good, but some really poor work (Vincent - My Bonnie).

    Finn's work is at worst usually journeyman but usually above average and sometimes brilliant.

    We've just started doing this one in one band I'm in.

    He's certainly got an ear for the commercial, that also is fresh and original and not a pale sellout. Maybe not the best, but certainly consistent over his career.
    Whatizitman likes this.
  14. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 15, 2017
    Harvest, Alabama
    Neil Finn is one of my favorite guitar players/songwriters/singers of all time.

    I really cannot endeavor to compare him to other such artists.

    Everything becomes a matter of personal opinion, and everybody's life experiences (where they were when they started listening to this artist or that) introduce too many variables.

    Suffice it to say that I really admire the guy, and his entire family.
    And all his current and former band-mates.
    boris bubbanov and Big Burly like this.
  15. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    Matthew Sweet. Not saying "better", but deserves a mention/plug here.
  16. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 1, 2018
    Timbuktu, Earth
    I can't believe someone else (other than me) mentioned James Mercer. He and the Shins band are amazing and under appreciated.

    They have many, many fine songs. Pure genius.
    Minimalist518 likes this.
  17. Veggie burger

    Veggie burger TDPRI Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    South Detroit
  18. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    He's certainly ONE of them....I've been a fan going back to Split Enz days....Super sad when Paul Hester died, he contributed so much to the House.
    suthol likes this.
  19. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I've got six or seven CDs from Matthew, and he's just agonizing to listen to sometimes because he's just that close.......but not there IMO. He's like that fleet wide receiver who has broken free and is positioned to catch the Championship Winning football, and somehow he drops it. He's doing 90% of it right... a shame.
    E5RSY likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.