Liner-Note Gods

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The time has come to praise the super-producers, the smash-hit songwriters, the crack sidemen, the budding label impresarios, the empire-builders, the mysterious names you've been poring over in the liner notes to your favorite albums for years. From Diane Warren's unstoppable power ballads to Diplo's boundary- and border-crossing dance-music sensationalism, Steve Albini's brash indie-rock anti-diplomacy to Timbaland's pop-chart dominance, the Brill Building's Great American Songbook to Nile Rodgers' intoxicating '70s funk and '80s pop, we dig into it all here. Because these folks deserve a little spotlight, too.