So I just finished The Song Machine by John Seabrook. Man, there's so much to say. I wasn't entirely surprised by the book since I knew most modern pop artists weren't solely responsible for their hits. But the book did shed a lot of light on the people behind those hits and how obsessed everybody in the music industry is in churning out hits rather than a solid album as a whole.
It kind of makes me sad to be honest. All this emotional weight we place behind songs we love is really just a room full of people using a formula over and over again. There's really no feeling to it at all once you know that any one particular song could have been shopped around to many different artists just waiting for one of them to jump on it and say "Sure, I'll sing that."
If you want to get to know the ins and outs of mainstream music production, you should pick up this book. It's a good read.