How many pop songwriters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Maybe it depends on how brightly they want it to shine.
Lately, the Internet seems to enjoy poking fun at the notion that today’s hit songs are written by committee. At first glance, that’s exactly the story we seem to see in credits on The Middle – seven songwriters, three producers, and fourteen demo vocalists. But that’s not what I saw in the New York Times Diary of a Song video about the making of this song. I saw humans who had the seed of idea and believed in it enough to keep grinding and get the song out into the world.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
The Middle might not be your idea of a musical masterpiece. Nonetheless, I’m happy those humans labored on and delivered this song. The stilted rhythm of the verses caught my ear when I first heard it on my Spotify Release Radar in February. I butchered it a week later when a couple requested it at happy hour. It kept me company for a week in Kansas, where I fiddled with a piano arrangement on my breaks at an Estill course.
It was holding steady at #6 on the Hot 100 when our band leader Tim decided to give it a rock makeover, with a righteous a cappella chorus (we’ve been on a bit of a cappella kick since Christmas). Since then, it’s pretty much been my favorite moment of the show. One of my new years resolutions was to mix some live-off-the-floor cover songs, and The Middle seemed like a fitting first pick.
Enjoy the mix below, with videography by Robert Gomez III. And be sure to visit me at Howl Pittsburgh if you want to see it live! KM