As music fans, we like what we like.  We tend to gravitate towards people with similar likes and tastes so we can share those likes and tastes.  Part of being a music fan has always been the blind allegiance that forms when you like an artist - you enjoyed their last album so you'll probably enjoy their next album and so you begin buying albums or singles without having heard them first and it becomes a habit, a compulsion and soon you have a collection.  I have been loving and buying music since 1973 and as of today, my music collection breaks down like this:

  • 876 vinyl albums, 
  • 221 seven inch 45s, 
  • 8 eight track tapes,
  • 47 MiniDIscs, 
  • 12,283 CDs, 
  • 307 dubbed (no prerecorded) cassette tapes 
  • 98,130 Apple Lossless files on a 4TB drive

Had more albums, 45s and cassettes but have given them away over the years (I've always been a generous guy - humble and modest, too, I'm told) or sold them in 1987 and 1988 to pay off huge hospital bill. Oh and I have a few hundred unique mp3s from friends stored on another external drive. And three big moving boxes of unsorted cassettes and CDs that belonged to my father.

My Mom rarely heard The Supremes on the radio when she was growing up but she them perform on a few television shows, liked what she saw and heard, so she began buying their 45s when she saw them for sale at her neighborhood grocery store.  (Never in a million years would I have thought the Piggly-Wiggly sold records!)  What she didn't realize at the time was that most of her favorite Supremes songs were written by the same three men, the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team at Motown.  Over the past two decades, new songwirting specialists have come on the pop music scene: hook writers, chorus writers, beat makers, melody makers, top liners, eight bar spitters.  Some work solo and but most work in tandem, virtually living ina recording studio. It's not unusual for the songwriting credit byline to be three, six, nine or a dozen names names long on songs these days. In his new book, The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory, John Seabrook looks at several very successful contemporary songrwriting partnerships, including Stargate, Denniz Pop, Ester Dean, Dr.Luke and Max Martin.
In 1996, when my daughter, my oldest child, was nine years old, she became an avid pop radio listener and after years (a decade almost) of avoiding current Top 40 pop music, I began listening to the music she showed an interest in.  I still kept her and the boys (ages six and three, respectively) captive with my music and there were no complaints but our morning and afternoon commutes to and from school and soccer and basketball practices became radio time though they would permit me to play one song of mine off a tape or CD if they could listen to the radio for the rest of the drive.  In 1998, we picked up the first Now That's What I Call Music CD and I began making mixtapes of my children's favorite songs so they could listen to them during our minivan time. 
Within another couple of years, I was making them mix CDs and they each had their own Discmans for car trips and a few years after that, they were borrowing my CDs to make their own mix CDs.  One thing I began noticing was the name Denniz Pop showing up in the writer or producer credits of a lot of the music the kids and I enjoyed, real catchy, hook filled productions.  Then after a few years the name Max Martin began showing up alongside Denniz Pop and then eventually Pop's name disappeared.  Martin's name appeared alongside many other names but over the past ten years one name began appearing more than the others: Dr Luke or rather Lukasz Gottwald, his given name.  Beyond noticing their names and the disappearance of Pop's name and the arrival of Luke's name, I never gave it a second thought until I saw a Billboard article in August touting Max Martin scoring his 21st Number One song (with my favorite song at the time, no less) as a songwriter.  Then I discovered this book via a sneak preview from Bob Lefsetz in September and on its October 5th release date, I was reading the ebook.  It was very illuminating and a little sad.  Curious, I found the author Seabrook's user page on Spotify and his playlists for the book, one for each of the 24 chapters (except Chapter 10 which is about Napster and no songs are mentioned) as well as a playlist devoted to each of the songwriters I mentioned above.


My Own Favorite 49 Max Martin Songs

They are loud, overly compressed, filled with nonsensical lyrics and produced to death but I can't stop listening to them.


  1. Sounds like another interesting music book there. Songwriters have always fascinated me, and I know over the years thanks to my blog and mp3s that I tend to notice more who wrote what.

    1. Knowing what I know about your musical tastes, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to you, Mr. Maenza. Let me know if you have trouble finding it.

  2. I, for one, would LOVE to hear more about your super-duper HERC-ollection... Maybe feature some of your favorite/most unique CD's/Albums/Digital Songs. How 'bout a recurring series like "CD Sunday" or "MiniDisc Monday"? Or spotlight the most popular artists in your collection (Prince, I'm guessing?). Not too much to ask for, I don't think. :)

    C'mon man, give ol' Dirk what he wants!!!