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'The Song Machine' by John Seabrook: EW review

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The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory

Current Status:
In Season
John Seabrook

We gave it an A

It’s mind-boggling that a handful of preternaturally gifted Svengalis are responsible for the top hits of the past two decades, from Ace of Base’s “The Sign” to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass.” Seabrook introduces us to the masters behind hits such as these—Swedes like Denniz PoP and Max Martin, Americans like Dr. Luke and Ester Dean—and illuminates their songwriting and production processes, a combination of instinct and pop-music science. Through immersive anecdotes and witty observations, Seabrook explores questions of ownership and taste, and about the music business as a whole, as we learn it’s not just the “song machine” that’s brilliant but also the people churning the gears. A