Happy Birthday, John Lennon
John Lennon would've turned 73 earlier this week. I thought of that sad fact while reading a great piece by the New Yorker's John Seabrook on the latest hitmaker in what's left of our hit parade: Lukasz Gottwald, aka Dr. Luke, who, with Max Martin, a Swede, has written top-10 hits for, among others, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Kesha. The money graph:
In writing lyrics, McKee [one of Gottwald's protegees] adheres to the Swedish school of pop songwriting championed by Max Martin. Words are chiefly there to serve the melody. “It's very mathematical,” McKee explained. “A line has to have a certain number of syllables, and the next line has to be its mirror image.” I asked for an example, and she sang, “California girls, we're unforgettable, Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top,” then said, “If you add one syllable, or take it away, it's a completely different melody to Max. I can write something I think is so clever, but if it doesn't hit the ear right then Max doesn't like it.” Don't these strictures make the songs formulaic? McKee doesn't think so. “People like hearing songs that sound like something they've heard before, that's reminiscent of their childhood ... people still just want to hear about love and partying.”
The talent in the room: Britney, Katy, Kesha, Miley
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