People always say, “Today’s hits sound soooo manufactured!” And they’re right, because they are manufactured — apparently by teams of writers and musicians who get together at “writing camps” to concoct hit songs. I had no idea this was going on, but totally makes sense! I don’t listen to popular radio at all anymore because all that shit sounds the same. Whiny voices auto-tuned to robotic perfection, passionately bleating over generic dance beats. Same chords, same song structure, same mindless lyrics, over and over and over again. Do people really enjoy this generic tripe? Couple this with radio stations which no longer do local programming (they get their music via satellite from elsewhere) and you’ve got yourself some stale, homogenized radio. How utterly boring.
I listen to a lot of internet radio these days, because there is far more variety and the advertising isn’t nearly as intrusive as on FM. (SomaFM, jazzradio.com, and gotradio.com are my current faves.) And never will I run into the tinny whinings of Rihanna, Britney or (gods help us) Justin Bieber. Not even a grain of Gaga. It’s bliss!
Def Jam started paying for Rihanna’s recent single, “Man Down,” more than a year ago. In March of 2010, the label held a writing camp in L.A. to create the songs for Rihanna’s album, Loud.
At a writing camp, a record label hires the best music writers in the country and drops them into the nicest recording studios in town for about two weeks. It’s a temporary version of the old music-industry hit factories, where writers and producers cranked out pop songs.
“It’s like an all-star game,” says Ray Daniels, who was at the writing camp for Rihanna.
Daniels manages a songwriting team of two brothers, Timothy and Theron Thomas, who work under the name Rock City. “You got all the best people, you’re gonna make the best records,” he says.