The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Hook Maximization: Body Like A Back Road

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Released in February 2017, Sam Hunt’s Body Like A Back Road was the first Country single to land in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 since the Florida Georgia Line / Nelly collaboration Cruise back in 2013. It surpassed Cruise on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart for the most consecutive weeks at #1 – 25 weeks.

The song’s widespread success and appeal is due, in part, to its catchy hooks, engaging lyrics, and fusion of disparate influences, which include straight-up Pop, Pop/Rock, Hip Hop, Trap and R&B/Soul. These influences help the song stand out in the Country genre, from which Sam Hunt stems, and cross over into the Pop mainstream.

But, as is the case with most massive hits, it’s the hooks that are the key ingredient, and Body Like A Back Road has plenty of them. 65% of the song is spent in “hook centers,” which consist of the intro, chorus, turnaround, instrumental break and outro. One vocal and one instrumental, these hooks are strategically placed and cleverly reinforced throughout the song, getting them firmly ingrained in the listener’s head while remaining fresh and engaging with each iteration.

VOCAL HOOKS

45% of Body Like A Back Road’s total composition features the infectious chorus vocals and associated lyrical payoff. In the chorus, the song title melody is reinforced three additional times with different lyrics following the first iteration, which both reinforces the hook and prevents it from becoming overly monotonous.

Additionally, the Body Like A Back Road chorus melody shares commonalities with the chorus melody in Flo Rida’s 2015 hit, My House. For those who are familiar with that song, the similarities will accentuate the hook’s ability to easily connect and resonate, since they’ve already heard something very similar.

Chorus: Body Like A Back Road

Chorus: My House

INSTRUMENTAL HOOKS

20% of Body Like A Back Road’s total composition features the infectious instrumental hook that first appears in the intro and returns in the instrumental break, as well as the second half of the outro. While the melody remains the same, its timbre is changed up with each iteration to help keep it sounding fresh yet memorable. Additionally, note that its placement throughout the song is methodical and strategic, as its used in the intro to hook the listener in, reinforced midway through in the instrumental break, and returns in the second half of the outro to bring the song to a conclusion on a memorable note.

VOCAL/INSTRUMENTAL HOOK COMMONALITIES

The vocal melody in the chorus shares two notable commonalities with the main instrumental hook, in addition to its overall phrasing. This is a very clever and effective technique that makes the song even more infectious and memorable:

  • The F-G-F progression on the lyrics “like a back road” and “in a thir-ty.”
  • Essentially the entire melody on the lyrics, “the back of my hand” and “as fast as I can.”

Example:

While the inclusion of hooks in a mainstream hit goes without saying, the manner in which they are constructed, incorporated and reinforced throughout a song is of paramount importance to maximize the song’s effectiveness. Body Like A Back Road is a perfect case-in-point of how it’s done.

Hit Songs Deconstructed’s Body Like A Back Road deconstructed takes a deep dive into the songwriting and production techniques that helped make the song a massive hit.  

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