John Seabrook is a New Yorker staff writer and the author of The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory.
“Whether or not the piece succeeds or fails is not going to depend on whether I’m up to the minute on the latest social media spot to hang out or the latest slang words that are thrown around. It’s going to be the old eternal verities of structural integrity. So much of it is narrative and figuring out the tricks—and they are tricks, really—that make it go as a narrative. And that’s really the most interesting thing. Because you never ultimately have a formula that goes from piece to piece; it’s always going to have to be rediscovered every time you work on a long piece. And that’s kind of fun.”
Thanks to MailChimp and MasterClass for sponsoring this week's episode.
- Seabrook on Longform
- Seabrook's New Yorker archive
- [3:00] The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory (W. W. Norton • 2015)
- [11:00] "The Doctor Is In" (New Yorker • Oct 2013)
- [20:00] "Blank Space: What Kind of Genius is Max Martin?" (New Yorker • Sept 2015)
- [31:00] "E-mail from Bill" (New Yorker • Jan 1994)
- [45:00] Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing, The Marketing of Culture (Vintage • 2001)
- [46:00] "Crush Point" (New Yorker • Feb 2011)
- [46:00] "The Flash of Genius" (New Yorker • Jan 1993)
- [55:00] "Factory Girls" (New Yorker • Oct 2012)
- [56:00] "The Song Machine" (New Yorker • Mar 2012)