This NYT piece on how “The Middle” was created is fascinating, though also a little depressing, at least to a rock fan like me. It feels like a return to the Brill Building days of songwriters and producers pumping out hits for rando pop stars of the moment. Granted, I realize that we never really left those days behind.

It’s also weird to see this song work it’s way up through the ranks of ever more famous producers, and then go through auditions of dozens of singers… and then the final moment at the Grammys where the original songwriter introduces herself to the singer, Maren Morris, as they’ve never even met.

This is also why I always question when mega-stars are marketed with images of them sitting alone with a notebook and a guitar, writing a song by themselves (e.g., Taylor Swift), because at this level, with this much money on the line, that shit simply does not happen. Total fantasy.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/music/100000005858557/watch-how-a-pop-hit-is-made.html?src=vidm

6 thoughts on “This NYT piece on how “The Middle” was created is fascinating, though also a little depressing, at least to a rock…

  1. Robert Bohl I take some solace in the fact that every generation says something like that, and popular music — regardless of genre — has always been made in crass, commercial ways. The Baby Boomers may have created a new mythology around it, but it didn’t change the way music actually got made.

    That said, the degree of crassness these days does surprise me a bit. E.g., virtually every pop song I see now is credited to one or more producers, with maybe a performer added in with “feat. [Artist]”. That always feels a little shameless to me.

    However the flip side is that its never been easier to ignore the mainstream. Between YouTube and streaming services, I have access to a staggering amount of new music no one has ever heard of, made mostly as an end in itself. The Music Industry™ has never been more irrelevant, and that makes me happy.