The weekly Hit Songs Deconstructed Music Charts provide unique insight into today’s hit songwriting trends by spotlighting the characteristics driving the Billboard Hot 100 top 10.
This report shows the trends for the month of September.
PRIMARY GENRES Back to Top
The Pop genre held onto the top spot for the entire month of September, consistently accounting for 50% of songs. Amongst its representatives were the two top performing singles in the U.S., Shake It Off and All About That Bass.
The Hip Hop/Rap and R&B/Soul genres trailed far behind at just 20% of songs each, and the Dance genre was represented by just one song, Break Free.
As for the Rock genre, it’s been absent from the top 10 since all the way back in May.
SUB-GENRES & INFLUENCERS Back to Top
16 distinct sub-genres and influencers were involved in shaping the sound of September’s top 10 hits. The top five were Electropop, Hip Hop/Rap, R&B, Soul and Gospel, all of which play a role in 20% or more songs.
Electropop was the most popular, consistently playing a role within 40% to 50% of songs. Some of the songs that feature Electropop as a key influence include Black Widow, Break Free and Chandelier.
Gospel was the only sub-genre that gained ground by the end of the month, increasing from 20% to 30% of songs thanks to Maps’ reentry into the top 10. The loser of the group was R&B, decreasing from 40% to 20% of songs as a result of Problem and Chandelier’s exit.
LEAD VOCAL Back to Top
The solo female lead vocal category held onto the top spot for the entire month, accounting for between 40% and 50% of songs. This is a far cry from where the category was just one month earlier, when there wasn’t a single solo female fronted song to be found within the top 10.
Amongst the category’s representatives are the two top performing singles in the U.S., Shake It Off and All About That Bass.
The solo male and duet/group vocal categories remained tied for the majority of the month, accounting for 30% of songs each. The sole exception occurred during the week of 9/13, when Am I Wrong dropped out of the top 10, dropping the solo male category down to just 20% of songs. It rebounded the following week, however, thanks to Maps’ reentry.
LYRICAL THEMES Back to Top
Six lyrical themes defined September’s top 10 charting hits. The most popular was love/relationships, which took over the top spot from inspiration/empowerment during the week of 9/13 and never looked back. By month’s end, 60% of songs featured the theme either as a standalone or in conjunction with other themes (i.e. lyrical fusion songs).
Inspiration/empowerment followed at #2, consistently accounting for 40% songs following its decline at the beginning of the month.
Hooking up held steady at 20%, and lifestyle and novelty finished up the month with just one song each. The latter was the sole new lyrical theme arrival of the month, thanks to the “big butt” natured Anaconda.
SONG TITLE WORD COUNT Back to Top
September began with the one, two and three word title categories tied at the top spot, each accounting for 30% of songs. Following Am I Wrong’s departure during the week of 9/13, the one and two word categories traded off at the top spot for the duration, fluctuating between 30% and 40% of songs, each.
Four-worded titles remained constant at 10% for the entire month thanks to All About That Bass, and for the 17th week in a row there weren’t any songs that feature five or more words within their title.
SONG TITLE APPEARANCES Back to Top
After kicking off the month accounting for the vast majority of songs (50%), the 6 – 10 time title appearance category started on a downward trend for the duration as a result of Am I Wrong and Chandelier’s departure from the top 10.
By month’s end, the category accounted for just 30% of songs, tied with the 11 – 15 appearance category for top honors.
On the other end of the spectrum, the 1 – 5 and 21+ categories remained constant at just 10% of songs for the entire month. Additionally, the 16 – 20 category gained a bit of ground during the week of 9/27 thanks to Boom Clap’s reentry into the top 10.
PRIMARY INSTRUMENTATION Back to Top
10 different instruments defined the sound of September’s top 10 hits. The top five were the synth, prominent drums/beats/perc, prominent bass, electric guitar and claps/snaps. All played a role within 30% or more songs by month’s end.
The synth joined the prominent drums/beats/perc category at the top spot during the week of 9/13 thanks to Boom Clap’s reentry into the top 10. While the former remained constant at 60% of songs for the duration, the latter declined in prominence as a result of Boom Clap and Chandelier’s departure during the weeks of 9/20 and 9/27, respectively.
It finished up the month tied at the #2 spot along with prominent bass and electric guitar at 40% of songs.
ELECTRIC VS. ACOUSTIC SONGS Back to Top
After gaining ground during the week of 9/13 thanks to Boom Clap’s reentry into the top 10, the percentage of top 10 hits that feature primarily electric based instrumentation within the mix remained constant at 60%, which is the vast majority of songs.
The electric/acoustic combo category held steady at the #2 spot throughout the month following Am I Wrong’s departure during the week of 9/13. This dropped the category down from 40% of songs to 30%.
As for songs that are primarily acoustic in nature, Stay With Me was once again the sole representative, for the seventh consecutive week.
SONG LENGTH Back to Top
September began with the 3:30 – 3:59 song length range category at the top spot, holding on for two consecutive weeks at 40% of songs. During the week of 9/20 it was joined by the 3:00 – 3:29 category thanks to Maps’ reentry into the top 10.
The last week of the month saw the 3:00 – 3:29 category take over at the top spot as a result of Chandelier’s exit, dropping the 3:30 – 3:59 category down to 30% of songs.
The under three minute category fluctuated between 10% and 20% of songs throughout the month, represented by Stay With Me and Boom Clap. Note that historically it’s been a rarity to find a song landing under three minutes in length within the top 10.
As for the 4:00+ category, it was represented by just one song throughout the entire month, Anaconda.
INTRO LENGTH Back to Top
The short (0:01 – 0:09) intro length category held onto the top spot for the entire month, remaining constant at 50% of songs up until the week of 9/27. It dropped down to 40% at the end of the month as a result of Chandelier’s exit from the top 10.
The big gainer of the month was the no intro category thanks to Maps’ reentry during the week of 9/20. It remained at 30% of songs for the duration, also represented by All About That Bass and Anaconda. The former two immediately kick off with the chorus, and Maps instantly begins with the verse.
Additionally, note that there weren’t any intros that landed at or over 0:20 for the second month in a row.
FIRST CHORUS OCCURRENCE Back to Top
The moderately early (0:20 – 0:39) first chorus occurrence category held onto the top spot for the entire month of September, fluctuating between 40% and 50% of songs.
The moderately late (0:40 – 0:59) held steady at #2, with the exception being the brief dip caused by Am I Wrong’s departure from the top 10 during the week 9/13.
Additionally, the chorus kick off, early (0:02 – 0:19) and late (1:00+) categories remained constant at 20%, 10% and 0% of songs throughout the entire month, respectively.
RECORD LABELS Back to Top
Following the big gains during the month of August, Republic remained the top label throughout the entire month of September, consistently accounting for 40% of songs. Its representatives include Shake It Off, Anaconda, Bang Bang and Break Free.
All of the other labels accounted for just one song each by the end of the month, and Warner Bros. was the only one to drop down to nil as a result of Am I Wrong’s exit during the week of 9/13.
SONGWRITERS Back to Top
The three writer category remained constant at the top spot for the entire month, accounting for 40% of songs. The four and six writer categories finished up the month tied at the #2 spot, each accounting for 20% of songs.
The five writer category was the big gainer of the month, springing back to life during the week of 9/20 thanks to Maps reentry into the top 10.
Conversely, the big loser of the month was the two writer category, dropping from 30% of songs down to just 10% as a result of Am I Wrong and Chandelier’s exit.
NEW TOP 10 ARRIVALS Back to Top
The following songs entered into the Hot 100 top 10 for the first time during the month of September:
Week of 9/6
- Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)
- Anaconda (Nicki Minaj)
Week of 9/13
- Boom Clap (Charli XCX) – Top 10 reentry
Week of 9/20
- Maps (Maroon 5) – Top 10 reentry
Week of 9/27
- Boom Clap (Charli XCX) -Top 10 reentry (second time around)
TOP 10 DEPARTURES Back to Top
The following songs dropped out of the Hot 100 top 10 during the month of September:
Week of 9/6
- Fancy (Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX)
- Problem (Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea)
Week of 9/13
- Am I Wrong (Nico & Vinz)
Week of 9/20
- Boom Clap (Charli XCX)
Week of 9/27
- Chandelier (Sia)
SEPTEMBER 2014 TOP 10 PLAYLIST Back to Top