Thursday, March 17, 2011

How to Write a Hit Song: Repeat 1 Word Many Times

By Nathan 3/17/2011

I'm pretty sure that it's Eddie the Echo from those old McDonald's commercials who is writing the pop songs on the radio. Because just like Eddie's vernacular, the verses and choruses topping today's charts consist mainly of the same words repeated over and over again. over again.

The video showcases the worst offenders.

Usher sings: "side to side, side side to side". Ke$ha's chorus: "our bodies go numb numb numb numb numb-numb". That G6 song: "they be actin like they drunk, actin actin like they drunk, etc". Katy Perry's Firework: "boom boom boom, even brighter than the moon moon moon".

Is my iRecord skipping?

Song lyrics have been traditionally formed with sentence-like strings of words punctuated by rhyme, but songsters like Taio Cruz are sayin fuck that. Taio starts Dynamite with: "I came to move move move move move!". Out there, I know. The entire verse includes only 27 unique words. On a warm day, Busta Rhymes could hit that mark with just one line.

We have had much to say about autotune and this robopop trend as being the death-rattle of quality music. And while the fad is certainly beef-worthy, I see the whittling of lyrics down to a repeated word as the much greater evil.

Which leaves me waiting for a sentence-structuring white/black knight. For as long as we are going to let robots sing on all of our hit songs, we should at least teach them more than one word.

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