As for the whole co-writing thing, there's an industry expression -- "Change a word, get a third." In other words, if Taylor Swift ducks her head into the studio and says, "'suck it out' doesn't sound quite right, let's try 'shake it off'," before returning to her intensive meeting with her twee consultant, she gets a writing credit. Singers are given permission to make negligible alterations to finished songs in exchange for artistic credibility.
That may have shocked you into tearing down your T-Swift posters, but when you think about it, the idea that pop megastars would have time to write an album is ridiculous. Superstar is a demanding job full of lengthy world tours, constant interviews, award shows, secret Illuminati blood rituals, and other miscellaneous appearances. There's no way Swift's handlers are going to let her hunker down in a Big Sur cabin for three months with nothing but a guitar and her thoughts.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images"You just go out there and dance, Taylor. I'll date the assholes and get my heart broken, and then I'll let you know to feel about it."
So, if you've ever thought that all modern pop music sounds alike, only to have someone younger tell you that you're just old and out of touch, rest assured that you were right. Pop music does sounds the same, because it's all made by the same people following a very specific and very successful formula. Although, you are also getting older and out of touch. Sorry.
Patrick Coyne has written other things on his blog, Florida Cousins.
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