Hy-Notes: The Song Machine – Inside the Hit Factory

The Song Machine

5 of the Coolest Things I Learned:

  1. Lou Pearlman was Art Garfunkel’s cousin.
  2. Song rejections; TLC passed on “…Baby One More Time”, Christina Milan passed on “SOS,” Britney Spears passed on “Umbrella.”
  3. Kelly Clarkson hated “Since U Been Gone” and begged Clive Davis to not have it (and “Behind These Hazel Eyes”) on the Breakaway album.
  4. Dr. Luke was the guitar player for the Saturday Night Live house band for 7 years.
  5. iTunes “disemboweled” labels’ profit margin by shifting the standard unit of commerce from the album to the single. 46% drop in sales from 2002-2010.

My Review:

The Song Machine peels back the curtain on the some of the biggest hits of the past 20 years. I think it’s safe to say most people know who Max Martin is by now but few know about his very methodical approach to crafting songs or how he and his contemporaries’ (Dr. Luke, Shellback, etc) rose through the ranks. This is easily one of the most informative books I’ve read this year. As someone who fancies himself as a person who knows a lot about pop music, I was schooled in nearly every chapter. I have much more respect for the process and craftsmanship involved from these hit makers rather than believing it was all formulaic or they were breeding some golden goose. This book can entertain and educate all types of music lovers from casual to hardcore. Rating: 5/5




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