Songwriter Tip: Comparing Common Characteristics of Today's Top 40 Songs Worldwide

July 17, 2015

 

Is it possible that what the world thinks is trendy and cool has a formula for success? I think so.  

 

After a brief analysis of today's top 40 songs in the world, it seems the commonalities are undeniable.   

 

It seems that the lazier the vocal and the more unpredictable the melody, the greater chance for success as a top 40 songwriter! After listening to Ed Sheeran side by side with The Weekend, it was clear that strong voices are yesterday and sexy, cool, confident voices reaching new falsetto heights is part of the success formula.

 

One thing that hasn't changed in today's top hits as compared to yesterdays is the relatability of the lyrics and the universality of the song. Nearly all of the songs, if not all of them, are absorbed in love and pain - the most common theme of all songwriting and of life.

 

A not so new addition to the top 40 songs in the world are heavy sounding strings or airy synthesizers throughout the song.  String instruments transcend time like no other.

 

I'm very glad that harmonies and layers of voices are still a part of the success of the top 40 songs worldwide.  There's nothing like a smooth and tight harmony for your earjoyment.

 

In the most successful songs, no matter how much people try not to, there is usually a slower ballad component somewhere in the song with some talking or speaking parts.  As a songwriter, publisher and producer, I am happy to know that this component still exists and ballads, even if in small doses, live on.

 

 

What is interesting is that legato and stacato melody exist throughout in verses and in the chorus. It is apparently less predicable rhythms that are appealing to the audience.   

 

My personal favorite common characteristic of the top 40 songs is when the music stops and then builds into a giant crescendo. It is usually towards the latter part of the song and is the most memorable to me.

 

What do you find to be a common theme in the top 40 songs of the world?

 

unpredictable, lazy melody?

falsetto voices often?

ballad or talking component in parts?

sexy, confident voice?

strong lyrics?

hook contains love and pain?

heavy strings/airy synth?

heavy harmonies/layers?

legatto and staccato parts/rolling chorus?

song/music stops at some point and then rebuilds?

 

Contact Sorella today and share you success and insights to songwriter and be a part of the science of song.

  

 

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