THE BILLBOARD POP CHARTS
One again there were 12 songs that went to #1 on the Billboard pop charts. These were mainly 4th form, which is verse, prechorus, chorus, verse, prechorus, chorus, middle 8/bridge, instrumental, chorus and out, and 3rd form which is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, instrumental, bridge/middle 8, and chorus and out. There were 89 songwriters and again the writers could not be more different. One hit the #1 spot as a solo writer and the other went to #1 with the help of 30 writers, but they as artists, all had #1 records There’s something unreal about that. I guess it’s #1, but the individual acts set the tone and the perception that they wanted to make, so success is it’s own revenge. I have noticed the artist/producer/writer are always in demand and the writer in collaboration with the artist and producer always make a stir on the charts. Songs were always self promotion for artists and I notice the artist is selective about songs that they record. Look at Arianna Grande in her single “Thank U, Next” about her love, but I get ahead of myself, we will study that record as well. The artist/writers put a lot of individual “language” in songs that relates their audience and the audience perception of them. That’s why the writers back in the day, in the beginning they were the singers as well. And now the Intros
The intro to the record really means so much more than it accessible’s to terrestrial radio. It sets the pace of the record, the “signature” lick, and sometimes the chorus. There were only two zero starts “ln My Feeling” and “Nice for what” that Drake had. So the average length of the intros is 9 seconds. Intro times were included in the zero starts. So including the zero starts, it was 9 seconds. Interesting...
FIRST USE OF “YOU”
There was only one that didn’t use the pronoun “you” and that was “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott. The pronoun “you” invites the consumer/listener in. So most records want the audience in by an average of 21 seconds.
TIME TO FIRST USE OF TITLE
Add the lengths of time to the title all together and they would add up to 53 seconds. There was no use of title in Travis Scott. No use of “you” and no use of the title, it still got to #1. In the main it’s important to get to the title in about a minute because the listener gets impatient after 60 seconds DETAIL Detail is so important because “writers assumption” is rampant among artist/songwriters because the artists want to tell you all about “them”. A lot of the Artists are rappers. When you speak of “detail” you need to remain linear to have the detail memorable and the one thing that lures in the “listener/consumer”is melody, so it’s a balancing act. It’s obvious that Drake wants to tell you that, “They wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’ and wishin’, they wishin’ on me” in “Gods Plan”. Arianna Grande wants to tell you about the loves in her life “Seán” and “Ricky” and “Pete” and “Malcolm” all made her want find the girl “Ari” in the song “Thank U, Next”, and Ed Sheeran has a girl who is “Perfect” for him and he wants tell all about “her”. The “furniture” is all in place in all the songs that reached #1. The detail is the “furniture” that makes the place habitable. In so many of the cases the song starts with the hook. Those records were by Cardi B, XXXTentacion, Post Malone ft Ty Dolla and Camila Cabello ft Young Thug, but there were another song that has a backing track that has limited chords, and that’s a track by Drake. Childish Gambino is mainly segments with different tempos, that makes it hard to dance to. Speaking of segments with a different artist having the opportunity to rap on that record that is Travis Scott with “Sicko Mode”. There were 30 writers involved with that particular record.
Of the 12 s#1s records, there is not a conventional structure in them all....which is good. The records should bend the rules if the artist is growing. So the “who” is the “artists” involved, they are really the draw rather than the song. There are only 3 songs in the orthodox 4th form, and there was only one song that was in 3rd form and it had Maroon 5 with Cardi B, but the introduction of Cardi B was after the bridge. Nothing is supposed to be after the bridge, but it’s not the “Wild West” but it’s close. The structure is trying to evolve. I guess the accommodation of rap and structure makes that possible. But the stumbling block is the basic need for the melody, what attracts the consumer/listener to the to record is always melody, that’s what lures the listener to the track. Unfortunately melody is unavoidable, not replaceable by “call and response” or “handclaps”. That fact has been shown again and again, because the chorus has been moved up to almost the first thing you will hear. Other than 4th form, verse/prechorus/chorus, verse/prechorus/chorus, middle 8/bridge breakdown, chorus, et al... Ed Sheehan’s “Perfect”, Arianna Grande, “Thank U,Next” and if you look at Camila Ceballos ft Young Thug, ”Havana”, it’s still in 4th form but the “hook/chorus” has been moved to the beginning of the song. At least 5 of the 12 #1s had the chorus at the beginning of the song, in part because of the need of the consumer/listener for instant gratification. 10 years ago it was 60 seconds, and the commercial music moved to “don’t bore us, get us to the chorus”, 40 seconds in the case of Country music, and sooner in Pop songs. Call and response,hand claps and the chorus immediately, otherwise it doesn’t “sell”, and that’s the object of the exercise.
TWO MINUTE WALL
The listener/consumer needs a change of pace about near the 2 minute mark...that can mean a bridge, breakdown, instrumental, middle 8 or whatever... or in the case of Hip Hop song, another Artist or another section of the son, whatever seems appropriate. For 10 of the #1s, except of course Travis Scott, “Pyscho”, which has no hook and Drake “In My Feelings” at 2.49. All these #1 records had a “2 minute wall” in on an average of 39 seconds.
BEATS PER MINUTE
Cardi B sets the pace at with 135 beats per minute followed by Maroon 5 with Cardi B at 124 BPM, then Childish Gambino with 120 BPM and Arianna Grande close to them at 104BPM, over all, averaging the total BPMs, adding them all together its at 93 BPM.
There were only 13 female writers but there were 76 male writers on the Billboard Charts who achieved #1 records on the Pop Charts, and women featured a little more on the Charts as artists. Of the 12 records that achieved #1 status there was Ariana Grande, Cardi B and Camilla Cabello ft Young Thug and in Maroon 5’s Cardi B sings and raps in the third verse, and most of the records have girl backup singers on them.
The #1 records introduced a new element to the structure, the fade...and then the dead end. That’s interesting because Country follows Pop. What they used in Pop a few years ago was music was designed for a “singles” market. Back in the day the artist who was creating just one of the songs in his/her repertoire, but the artist today is doing a song that was aimed totally at “airplay” and he/her don’t want to have the consumer/audience think that it was ok to have them get involved with the next song, because they wanted them think that was the only song the artist wanted them to hear. That was achieved by “dead ending” the song. That way the artist would really annoy the listener by thinking there is something they’re not supposed to hear, and make the audience go back and listen again. The listener feels cheated, so it makes them want to hear it again. Goal achieved! After about 5 to 7 listens, the artist has imprinted the track on the listener, but the capricious Pop market has adopted the fade, AND the dead end. Today you have the fade going into a dead end. Who knew?
THE AVERAGE, IS...
Remember, you add all the songs together and average them all out. Have an average intro of 9 second.s Reach the first use of “you” in 21seconds and tell the listener all about that “you”. Use the title line in about 53 seconds. Use a lot of detail or situational stuff. 10 of the #1s had 2 minute walls and that occurred at 39 seconds. If your intention is to make a dance song then get it as close to 120BPM as possible, we’re looking at an average of 93BPM for streaming or terrestrial radio, and that gender issue is totally negotiable. I’ll see you on the charts. I want to thank Holly Chester,Suzanne Lee, Madison Steinbruck, Jon Casey, Gage Lance, Maggie Renfroe, Nichola Tancredi, Marissa Mansion, Carlyn Kelly, Melissa Lomax and Avalon Gouger. You don’t think I do this all by myself?