The songwriting genius that is Max Martin

I started this post ages ago and now I’m finally giving it some attention.
Namely because Max recently said in an interview that Prince influenced him. In particular, he noted how Prince had hits like “I wanna be your lover” and “Let’s go Crazy” where the melody on the verse and chorus were exactly the same, but they feel different because of the delivery. And supposedly that’s a songwriting tip he learned from him.

Thinking on that, I realized that just maybe… my favorite thing about Max Martin’s pop songs in the late 90’s, early 2000’s… was something he often did in the final third of the song.
You’d have two verses and choruses- then there’s a bridge and he reintroduces the core melody, but he adds new words to it.
I mean, it’s not quite the same thing because the music is similar, but the melody that’s sung is different.
But it’s that thing that sealed the deal with these songs- why I loved them so much and I still do.

Case in point, I brought out *NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached” album- while taking a break from Prince before the next album… he’s only present on one song- “It’s gonna be me”- but there’s that same thing. A quick breakdown after the 2nd chorus, the music from the chorus returns but it’s sung differently with different words. Well, more like the same words, but they’re phrased differently while hitting the same point back home.

Quick side-note on that album-
JC Chavez co-wrote a bunch of songs on it, but two of them, I am crazy about as much as anything Max Martin wrote. One of them had that Max Martin turn-around- the title track. I don’t know why, but I just have so much fun with that song.
I did not like “This I promise You” until very recently and today I could really pick out that Richard Marx wrote it. And it made me such a mess I had to skip another ballad on the album cuz I knew I’d be crying over the final track 😛 I don’t know if it’s the lyrics or the melody or the ending now- but omg- I needed a minute or two to get over myself.

Moving on…

I wrote down all these songs that Max Martin wrote, but I need to really note my favorites to really make my point.

For Britney Spears:
…hit me baby one more time
You Drive Me Crazy
oops… I did it again
don’t go knockin’ on my door
Can’t make you love me
If you seek Amy
[all of which had that turn-around except for the last one… maybe he just abandoned that technique after a decade of using it… by the way, I liked that song with no idea that it was meant to be innuendo…
And there’s another song- “What you see is what you get”- it does that same thing… but I don’t recognize any of the songwriters. [reading into the Wikipedia entry, maybe these guys were disciples of his]

his *NSYNC resume isn’t as lengthy, but I recently read that he offered “Tearin’ up my heart” to the Backstreet Boys first… AND THEY TURNED IT DOWN… it’d be interesting if both versions were recorded so I could compare the two like I do with Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6 with “Sex Shooter”… but they don’t sadly.
Anyway- he did that song, “I want you back” and “It’s gonna be me”… and there’s a song “Tell me tell me baby” from their third album.

But it’s the Backstreet Boys that really benefitted from this guy’s songs.

We got it goin’ on* (two sets of lyrics are used with the chorus music in the final third of the song)
Quit playin’ games with my heart
as long as you love me
Backstreet’s Back
Larger than life
I want it that way*
Show me the meaning of being lonely
It’s gotta be you*
Don’t want you back*
Don’t wanna lose you now*
The One
The Call
The Shape of my Heart*
Get another boyfriend
Just want you to know
I still…
Climbing the walls

Some of the songs I starred also happen to be some of my favorite songs ever and that one component is just one piece of that.
There’s just a certain something about this music… I am wired to not just sing along but revel in the joy of it.
“The Shape of my Heart” is probably the best out of all these- I’ll never forget the first time I heard it [it was online and it was only a minute of it with some animation]

But the list of songs he wrote for other artists… it just keeps going.
He recently got an Oscar nomination for that damn Justin Timberlake song.
I mean, “Can’t stop the feeling” is a great pop song- but I am SOOO sick of it, you have no idea. Nothing kills a song for me faster than playing it on the radio a million times.

Anyways… here’s a list of all those great songs he’s written or co-written over the years. And by great, I mean the ones I personally love- because it’d be boring to just list them all.

Celine Dion- that’s the way it is (so that’s why I loved so much back in the day)
Bon Jovi- It’s my Life
Kelly Clarkson- My life would suck without you, Behind these hazel eyes
Katy Perry- I kissed a girl, Hot & Cold, ET, Teenage Dream, The one that got away, TGIF (Friday Night)
Adam Lambert- Ghost Town
Taio Cruz- Dynamite (no wonder it’s on the radio all the time, lol)
Usher- DJ got us falling in love (same as above, lol)

And some more that are more recent (written after 2011, when I first started writing it):

-One More Night- Maroon 5
-a bunch of songs with Taylor Swift including “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and “Blank Space” (Blank Space is one of my favorites for sure)
-not only did he co-write “I can’t feel my face” with The Weeknd, but he co-produced it as well as “Shameless” and “In the Night”- two of my favorite songs off the album! I swear that can’t be a coincidence 😛

I’m not crazy about Ariana Grande at all… but “Into You” had this inescapable beat I just couldn’t get enough of. [“Dangerous Woman” also has a great vibe to it]…
he co-wrote and co-produced them… again, wow… this guy’s songwriting talent can make me like just about anybody

the one that shocked me the most: LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO- omg… I can’t believe he was part of that piece of awesomeness

When all is said and done, though, the thing I took away from the article I read.

if Prince influenced Max Martin as a songwriter, that means Prince has had an influence on my musical tastes long before I bought my first album from him. When I was starting to pick out the music I wanted to buy and listen to for myself… that just made my head explode.

I mean… everything coming full circle like this… I’ll never get to see Prince live in concert, but he was able to impact me in all these other ways… God has a weird runabout way of doing things, I’ll say that much.

Anyway, hope you liked this post.
I was able to hold myself back on this one, but I hope I got to say everything I wanted to on this.

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