There’s an important reason why old hits can help even more than current hits. The success of today’s songs is strongly influenced by the rather temporary notion of the performers’ personal popularity. And so the popularity of a song doesn’t necessarily mean that the song is a good model for songwriters.
That’s a massively important point! So many of today’s hits in pop are driven by celebrity culture and mass market songwriting by a small clique of producers. You aren’t necessarily hearing great songs as an odd combination of great hooks and sharply honed media savvy. Can you copy that on a global scale as an unsigned artist? Probably not.
Better then to look back and uncover the art of quality songwriting as your tutor.
Nothing wong with those beat driven radio hits, but are they building long term classic songs? – probably not.