To illustrate what makes it “super” in comparison to the other chorus S.I.A.s, we will look at each one individually.
S.I.A. #1 (Pre-Chorus 1 – Chorus 1)
“Cruel Summer’s” first S.I.A. is used to transition pre-chorus 1 into chorus 1. In the last two bars of the pre-chorus, the harmonic progression simplifies to the five (V) chord, which further heightens tension leading toward the chorus. Simultaneously, the rimshot is removed from the mix, which results in a slightly smaller, more contained sound on the backbeat, and a pulsing synth and guitar rise in volume. This culminates in a brief, low-level, white noise riser in the last beat which, along with the crash cymbal on the downbeat of the ensuing chorus, bolsters its impact upon arrival.
S.I.A. #2 (Pre-Chorus 2 – Chorus 2)
“Cruel Summer’s” second S.I.A. is used to transition pre-chorus 2 into chorus 2. Similar to pre-chorus 1, the harmonic progression sustains on the five (V) chord and features the pulsing synth and electric guitar rising in volume, all of which result in a heightened degree of tension. However, this time around the denser pre-chorus 2 arrangement further thins out in the last two beats which, along with the riser at the end and crash on the downbeat of the chorus, notably heightens its impact as the listener is enveloped in the dense chorus arrangement.
S.I.A. #3 (Bridge 1 – Chorus 1)
“Cruel Summer’s” third S.I.A. is the “Last Chorus Super S.I.A.” technique, which is used to transition bridge 1 into chorus 3. What makes this S.I.A. “super” is the extra bar tacked onto the end of the bridge, making it nine bars as opposed to the familiar two, four and eight bars featured in the other song sections.
Following the tension and anticipation-heightening synth swells, drum fill and shouted vocals that culminate in bar eight, the unique ninth bar removes all elements from the mix, leaving only Swift’s unique shouted/sung hybrid lead vocal. This subverts listener expectations and creates an off-kilter moment that notably heightens listener engagement while maximizing the impact of the final chorus along with the reverse synth riser and familiar crash on the downbeat.
Furthermore, note that this brief bar nine lull was well warranted and highly important considering that there are no other sectional energy lulls in the final sectional progression of the song save for the outro (note that the most common place to bring down a song’s energy is in all, or most of, a “D”-departure section, such as a bridge). Albeit brief, without it, the listener would remain in sustained moderate to high energy for numerous sections, reducing the impact of the last chorus and potentially resulting in decreased engagement.
Subscribers can read the "Cruel Summer" Deconstructed Report here.
Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up today!
with interactive resources and tools that
support your creative process and help you compete at the highest level.
SPECIAL OFFER: Save 15% off Hit Songs Deconstructed!
Use discount code "CREATE" to save 15%.
I find the site VERY valuable. I’m a fan.
VP, A&R Publishing / Nashville at EMPIRE
Spot on with the analysis and relevant to any music theory, composer, songwriter, or producer in the game now.
- Dr. O
Producer, Young M.A., Chris Brown, Lil Wayne
"Even though I’ve been writing professionally for over ten years, I’ve found several nuggets of gold that have improved my writing already."
Hit Songwriter, Producer, Artist
One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Scouting for Girls
My entire thought process as a producer, an engineer, a musician, and a songwriter are fleshed out in the pages of the HSD reports.
Prince Charles Alexander
Grammy winning, multi-platinum music producer, mixing engineer
and professor at Berklee College of Music
Some producers have a hit or two by sheer fluke/talent and the subconscious knowledge of a lifetime of growing up with music. However, making hits songs consistently is not just about talent and the occasional fluke. There is a science to the art of making hit music.
Hit Songs Deconstructed will equip you with tools that will allow you to make hit songs more consistently.
ASCAP aims to provide members with a multifaceted toolchest to augment their craft and their careers. Hit Songs Deconstructed is a cutting-edge service that can support our members' creative process with in-depth data and analysis of current songwriting techniques.
ASCAP Chief Strategy & Digital Officer
What Does a Pro Subscription Include?
Hit Song Deconstructions
Discover the patterns behind today's hits!
The Hit Song Deconstructed reports provide unparalleled analysis of today's hits.
Each deconstruction breaks down a current hit to its foundational building blocks and pulls back the curtain on the patterns and science behind how the song was written, produced and arranged.
Leaving no stone unturned, everything is presented in a clear and concise manner and is complimented with unique Hit Songs Deconstructed visualizations that can be used to assess your own songs for strengths and weaknesses as well.
Among them are the HSD melodic parts tables and graphs, rhyme scheme tables, narrative structure tables, energy graphs, and more.
Each report is published in six segments every two weeks, and analyze:
- Structure, Genres and Sub-Genre Fusion
- Instruments and Arrangement
- Energy and Dynamics
- Vocal Melody and Vocal Production
- Lyrics and Rhymes
- Benchmark, Highlights & Takeaways
By reading these deconstructions, you'll become privy to the same tools and techniques today's hitmakers are using.
The insight you'll gain will take your craft to the next level, guaranteed.
A visual roadmap for understanding how today's hits are arranged.
Every Hit Song Deconstruction includes a downloadable DAW project (Logic).
Using empty MIDI regions to visualize the instrumental arrangement, effects, energy, vocal melody and production, structure, select techniques and more, these DAW projects provide you with a visual roadmap for understanding how today’s hits were effectively arranged.
By watching as you listen, you will gain valuable insight into the strategic decisions today’s hitmakers made to help prime their songs for maximum impact, giving you a host of new tools, techniques, and ideas to help take your own songs to the next level.
A Searchable Database of Songwriting Techniques
Fuel your inspiration with the techniques that helped today’s most successful songs become global hits!
Want to maximize the impact of your hooks? Or looking for examples of sub-genre fusion techniques? Or ways to incorporate audience participation moments into your song?
Then look no further! Updated on a monthly basis, this interactive searchable database houses hundreds of the most effective techniques used in Hot 100 Top 10 hits.
Techniques include: Hook Techniques, Intro Techniques, Outro Techniques, Duet/Group Lead Vocal Structure Techniques, Audience Participation Moment Techniques, Energy Techniques, Section Impact Accentuator Techniques, Sub-Genre Fusion Techniques, Chorus Vocal Structure Techniques, Departure Section Techniques, Prosody Techniques, and Rhyme Techniques (with more technique categories to come!)
Reference Track Search
200+ filters to find the exact song you are looking for with the click of a button.
Need reference tracks? Mix and match 200+ compositional filters to find Hot 100 Top 10 songs with very specific compositional characteristics.
In addition, this tool can be used to:
- See how your song stacks up against proven hits with similar compositional characteristics
- Get insight for ways to take your song to the next level and/or give it a unique spin
- Understand the space you are looking to compete in
- Or simply get inspired!
Search Filters include:
Unlike AI-Powered analytics, each song is manually analyzed and every data point is vetted in accordance with HSD's proprietary methodologies for accuracy.
Round out your toolbox with songwriting analytics for today's most successful songs.
Looking for insight into what today's hits have in common?
Or want to spot trends on the rise, or in decline?
Or need to back up gut feelings with factual data?
This powerful, fully interactive database provides you with critical insight into how the current musical landscape is evolving with valuable, real-time intelligence on the compositional characteristics of the songs that land in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Hundreds of different searches keep you in tune with what’s driving the Hot 100 Top 10 at the compositional level. Trends are visualized with graphs and tables with each data point linking to a list of the corresponding songs.
Search for trends pertaining to primary genres, sub-genres/influences, instruments, lead vocals (gender, vocal delivery, etc.), lyrics (lyrical theme, title placement and appearances, etc.), song structure (key, tempo, song length, song form, etc.), song sections (intro characteristics, first chorus occurrence, post-chorus types, etc.), and much more.
Save your most important searches to your dashboard for easy access!
Compare and contrast compositional characteristics across songs, artists, songwriters, producers and labels.
This powerful tool gives you the ability to compare and contrast any of the compositional characteristics in The Immersion Database across songs, artists, songwriters, producers and labels.
- Gain insight into a specific body of work of a particular artist, songwriter, producer or label
- Understand what compositional characteristics a select group of songs have in common
- Discover how songs stand out from the pack by going against the grain
- Make targeted pitches by researching what creates the signature sound of a particular artist, producer, or songwriter
Trend searches include number of songs in the Top 10, weeks in the Top 10, trends for featured artist, genre breakdown, team size, and more.
Searches can be filtered in a multitude of ways including by date range, primary genre, peak chart position, among others.
All search results include links to the corresponding songs and profile pages.
Artist, Songwriter, Producer and Label Database
Stay in tune with the artists, writers, producers, and labels behind today’s hits and the trends behind them.
Every artist, songwriter, producer and label has its own personal profile detailing which artists, songwriters, producers and labels they’ve collaborated with, their compositional profile, charting information and a link to their Twitter and Instagram pages.
Quarterly Trend Reports
The State of the Hot 100 Top 10 Delivered to You Every Quarter
Every quarter Hit Songs Deconstructed publishes trend reports that deliver an easy-to-digest snapshot of the trends driving each quarter’s most successful songs and gets you in tune with today’s rapidly evolving hit song landscape.
- NEW ARRIVALS DECONSTRUCTED: A deconstruction of the most recent quarter's new arrivals, and how they differ from the songs that carried over from the previous quarter.
- HOT 100 TOP 10 DECONSTRUCTED: This report delivers an in-depth look at trends for all the compositional categories we track, including primary genres, sub-genres, lead vocals, lyrical themes, instruments, key, tempo, song length, song structure, and much more.
- TOP PERFORMING HITS DECONSTRUCTED: A deconstruction of #1 hits and songs that chart 10+ weeks detailing what qualities differentiate them from the overall Top 10.
- HIP HOP VS. NON-HIP HOP DECONSTRUCTED: A spotlights on hip hop and non-hip hop songs that details the trends unique to each.
- WHO'S WRITING THE HITS? Trend data for artists, songwriters, producers and labels who have charted in the Hot 100 Top 10.
I can't stress enough how important HSD is to any serious professional hit songwriter.
Hilton Wright II
As a songwriter, an important part of my job is to analyze what works in successful songs. By identifying the tools that were employed in hits, writers can incorporate them into their own songs--using techniques that have proven successful--while putting their own spin and unique creative angle on them. HSD does the research for me.
- Jason Blume
Songwriter w/50 million album sales and top-selling author, Billboard Books
I am honestly blown away by the amount of information you provide on each of these songs, practically like a thesis deserving of a degree. From a songwriting standpoint, so much of this information is so helpful, and the time-saving benefits are enormous.
- KC Porter
Grammy winning producer/songwriter/recording artist
Carlos Santana, Ricky Martin, Ozomatli, Boyz II Men, Selena