In this week's edition of Pop is Not a Dirty Word, Douglas Greenwood delves into the creation of the year's most talked about record, and how trusting your gut can help you reap beautiful rewards.

Even today, some 12 years later, I distinctly remember the day Leona Lewis returned from a near year long studio session with her first solo single after becoming one of the (very few) half decent The X Factor winners. I was 12 years old, in the first year of high school, huddling around a friend’s Sony Ericsson in the playground as we listened to that big bastard of a pop ballad, Bleeding Love, for the first time.

“Wow,” I thought. How great was it that Leona Lewis had escaped the prospect of the discount bin of Woolies by going into a studio with actual songwriters for a while, toiling at her craft while her predecessors had shat out weak LPs teeming with crass covers mere weeks after winning the crown. By becoming a ‘real artist’ and being considered, she’d successfully transcended The X Factor curse.

How times have changed! Leona Lewis is back to square one, fighting for relevancy as if Forgive Me never even happened, and the days of pop stars spending months, if not years teasing new records feel like ancient history. That technique is dead, and in its place is a weirder, genre-defying way of making pop tunes – one that favours creative instinct over scrutiny.