Max Martin is not really a household name, but if you’re a fan of pop music, you’re probably familiar with him. The Swedish songwriter & producer has crafted a gigantic amount of hit songs for an eclectic variety of artists, from the Backstreet Boys early in his career to The Weeknd more recently.
What’s fascinating is that the guy can write such a great hook, it really doesn’t matter who’s singing it. As a result, I frequently find myself in a situation where I hear a new song by an artist I normally don’t like, but am surprised to find I really enjoy the song. Then, if I look the song up online, about 99% of the time I find out it was written and/or produced by Max Martin. I am not even exaggerating here.
Let’s take a look at 5 times Max Martin managed to win me over with songs by artists I never liked before:
Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift
This was the first Taylor Swift song I heard and thought, “Yeah, I’m really into this!” It’s the song that encouraged me to research 1989, which led me to the realization that Max Martin’s fingerprints were all over it, which led to me actually buying and loving 1989. So, not that Taylor cares, but she’d be down at least one fan had she not had the good sense to jump on the Max Martin train.
Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande
Mr. Martin has worked with Grande before (the catchiest songs on her last album were all touched by his magic), but Dangerous Woman immediately caught my attention and stuck with me. Since it’s a bit different than Martin’s usual fare, it was a pleasant surprise to learn he co-wrote and produced the tune.
Can’t Stop the Feeling! By Justin Timberlake
I could get into NSYNC and early JT, but his latest albums have been a bit of a snoozefest for me. Maybe Justin was getting a bit bored himself, because this infectious song, co-written by Martin, is an upbeat departure.
Dark Horse by Katy Perry
Martin has actually worked with Katy Perry quite a bit, which is why her songs are so catchy and popular despite her mediocre-at-best voice. But it’s Dark Horse that finally managed to get me to admit I liked a Katy Perry song, and I’m giving Max Martin complete credit for that.
One More Night by Maroon 5
As a general rule, my opinion of Maroon 5 is marred by Adam Levine’s smarmy face and the fact that their songs, which all sound alike to me, get played incessantly on the radio. But then there was One More Night. It’s so darn catchy. And why is that? Because Maroon 5 didn’t write it – Max Martin did!
In some cases Martin’s collaborations have led me to albums and artists I grow to love, and other times I’m just salty about feeling compelled to sing along with a Maroon 5 song, but I am always awed by Max Martin’s talent and the fact that this brilliant Swedish dude has such an impact on American pop music.