Only Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo make albums these days, per Billy Joel.

Speaking to Variety, Billy Joel was asked if “Turn the Lights Back On” — his first single in over a decade — would lead to a new album. He quickly shot that down before talking about the state of musicians creating albums.

“Who makes albums anymore anyway?” he asked Variety. “I think the only person making new albums these days is Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo.”

He added that he doesn't “know other people who make albums” or “what the marketing of that is like now.” Joel rose to fame during the seventies when singles and physical albums were all the rage.

To their credit, both Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo make albums. Since her self-titled debut album came out in 2006, Swift has released 11 studio albums and four re-recorded (Taylor's Version) albums — most recently The Tortured Poets Department. Rodrigo has not been around nearly as long but has recorded two albums, Sour and Guts, in her young career.

Fun fact — Billy Joel and Olivia Rodrigo have performed together. During his August 24, 2022 concert at Madison Square Garden, Joel brought Rodrigo on stage. They performed her hit song “Deja Vu” and then Joel's iconic “Uptown Girl” together.

This was a cheeky nod to “Deja Vu,” which references “Uptown Girl” in the second verse. “And I bet she knows Billy Joel / ‘Cause you played her ‘Uptown Girl,'” Rodrigo croons.

Why isn't Billy Joel writing new music?

Billy Joel performing 'Turn the Lights Back On' at 2024 Grammys.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY.

As for writing new music, Joel compared the writing process to a “form of torture.” He explained why he doesn't enjoy the process anymore.

“There's this big black beast with 88 teeth that wants to bite my fingers off while I'm writing. I drive myself nuts. It's just not as good as I want it to be,” Joel said. “It's a great deal of torment, and I decided I don't want to put myself through that anymore. I used to have drinking problems and all kinds of self-hate when I was writing, because I set the bar so high. It's not something I miss. I love making music.”

When it comes to new artists looking to break in, Joel doesn't have much advice. Unfortunately, the industry has changed drastically since Joel rose to fame. And he is not sure what advice he can offer.

“Have good-looking parents,” Joel quipped before giving more serious advice. “Do not listen to record industry people because they want you to create things that sell a lot. A musician really wants to make the best music they can make.

“If you're a real musician, that's all about the music, not about record sales, charts, and numbers … There's a lot of pressure to sell records, [and] market your material. ‘Give us product, product, product.' You're not a product; you're a musician. And there's a ton of pressure about that and younger people can really get hung up in it,” he continued.

Who is Billy Joel?

Billy Joel is a rock legend known for hit songs like “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl,” and “You May Be Right.” Throughout his career, Joel has been nominated for 23 Grammys and won five awards.

Additionally, he is known for his live concerts at Madison Square Garden. Beginning in 2014, Joel began a monthly concert residency at the Garden. That will conclude in July 2024 after 104 performances at the iconic venue.

He released “Turn the Lights Back On” on February 1, 2024. It is Joel's first single since “Christmas in Fallujah,” released in 2007. He also performed the song at the 2024 Grammys.