Tim F says some interesting things here about production in pop, and the way R&B and pop advocates concentrate on it. Somewhere on ILM there’s a thread from a year or so ago where I started questioning the sound-focus of pop writing (and took quite a bit of flak for it) – I think now what I thought then, that a track should be approached holistically if possible, as an emotional event, and your job if you’re writing about it is to work out what’s causing that event. You start with how it makes you feel and work inwards from there to the sounds, the words, the melodies, the rhythms, the way it all works together – and also you work outwards to the package, the look, the time pop is at, and to everything that’s happening in your life that makes THAT song hit you THAT way just now. Very few people actually do this – I’m not one of them – but it’s an ideal.