Quite an easy one to explain, this: who are the best producers of some the year’s best-selling records? And it’s not just about what you might call generic pop music - our list covers producers in multiple genres.
There’s no ignoring the influence of house music on today’s hit-parade, so you won’t be surprised to find a few house producers on this list, but are they the ones responsible for crafting the year’s topper-most charting tracks? Here's who think deserves the accolades.
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5. Mark Ralph
UK session musician turned producer Mark Ralph has worked the boards for some of the most interesting acts in modern pop, from Hudson Mohawke to Franz Ferdinand, Friendly Fires and Hot Chip.
Most recently, he’s chalked up writing and production credits on a string of chart toppers, including Years Years’ King to, most recently, Clean Bandit’s massive hit Rockabye.
4. DJ Khaled
With all of his social media antics, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Khaled Mohamed Khaled actually makes music too. Whether he’s getting lost on his jet ski at night, live-blogging the birth of his first son, or simply doling out life advice and positivity, it’s a miracle he finds time to do anything other than be a one man meme machine.
It’s fortunate that he does, however, because 2017 album Grateful – which gives an exec producer credit to his one year old son – is stuffed full of stone cold pop bangers.
3. The Chainsmokers
Their breakthrough hit #Selfie could have easily been dismissed as a zeitgeist-chasing novelty record, but little did we know that three years later the NYC-duo of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall would be one of the biggest forces in electronic pop.
Earworm singles like Closer, Don’t Let Me Down and recent Coldplay collaboration Something Just Like This have made them a near constant fixture on pop radio stations. We expect them to be just as omnipresent through 2018.
2. Max Martin
The name Max Martin probably still means very little to much of the general public, despite the fact that the Swedish super-producer can claim to have written more Billboard number one singles than anyone in history other than John Lennon or Paul McCartney.
From Britney Spears to NSYNC to Usher, the publicity-shy producer has had a hand in some of the biggest pop singles of the past two decades.
This year alone has seen production credits on Katy Perry’s Chained To The Rhythm, Lana Del Rey’s Lust For Life and the bulk of Taylor Swift’s latest chart dominating album, Reputation.
1. Calvin Harris
In the 21st century, few producers have defined the sound of pop like Calvin Harris. His debut album I Created Disco kickstarted the resurgence in 80s-style synth pop, while his 2011 collaboration with Rihanna, We Found Love, spawned an almost unfathomable amount of maximalist sound-alikes, wannabes and downright rip-offs.
His latest album saw him dialing it down and taking cues from old fashioned funk and classic pop – a direction we have no doubt the rest of the pop fraternity will follow in 2018.