The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Hit Songs Deconstructed Music Charts – Month In Review: May 2015



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After a first quarter in which Pop ruled, the month of May saw R&B/Soul take over as the top primary genre. Hip Hop/Rap was on the rise too, while Rock’s influence continued to be negligible. Choruses came early and love/relationships remained the dominant lyrical theme. There’s just something about love in springtime…

[Header 1 header=”Genres”]

R&B/Soul was the top primary genre category during the month, accounting for 40% of songs during each week. Representative hits include: Earned It, Uptown Funk, Want to Want Me, and Thinking Out Loud. Hip Hop/Rap accounted for 30% of the songs represented, and boasted the overall monthly champion in See You Again, which spent the entire month at #1 in the Hot 100. Trap Queen, too, was a strong performer, spending four out of five weeks in the top three. Pop lagged behind at 20% of songs, and Rock was represented by just one song, Shut Up And Dance.

[Header 1 header=”Sub-Genres & Influencers”]

Retro and R&B/Soul were the top sub-genres and influencers of the month, each playing a role within 60% of songs. Of the six songs that possess a clear Retro influence, most feature a late 1970s-to-mid-80s vibe. Examples include: Shut Up and Dance (Rock), Uptown Funk (R&B/Soul), and Love Me Like You Do (Pop). The Ballad was the next most popular sub-genre, playing a role in 40% of songs, including hits like the “wedding ready” Thinking Out Loud and Earned It.

[Header 1 header=”Lead Vocal”]

Men retained hold of the mic during May.  60% of songs during the first week of the month were carried by a solo male voice, rising to 80% by the end of the month. On the flip side, the duet/group vocal category decreased in prominence from 30% of songs at the beginning of the month down to just 10% by month’s end. But its sole representative during the week of 5/30 also happened to be the top performing song in the U.S., See You Again. As for the solo female lead vocal category, it accounted for a lowly 10% of songs throughout the month, solely represented by Love Me Like You Do.

[Header 1 header=”First Chorus Occurrence”]

Early in May, choruses hit early, occurring within the first 20 seconds in 40% of songs. The moderately late (0:40 – 0:59) and late (1:00+) occurring first chorus categories followed at 30% of songs each. While these two later categories remained constant throughout May, the early category decreased to just 20% of songs by month’s end. However, it was represented by two very strong performers, the #1 song in the U.S., See You Again, and the only Rock song in the top 10 of the Hot 100, Shut Up And Dance.

[Header 1 header=”Other Trends”]

May featured several other notable hit songwriting trends.

  • Love/relationships was once again the most popular lyrical theme, accounting for 80% of songs.  Hooking up followed at a distant second, accounting for 40%.
  • Songs were on the longish end. The 4:00+ song length category remained constant at #1 throughout the month, accounting for 40% of songs. The 3:30 – 3:59 category followed close behind, however, at 30%.
  • Intros were short. The short (0:01 – 0:09) and moderately short (0:10 – 0:19) intro-length categories were tied at the top for three out of five weeks, each accounting for 40% of songs. The moderately short category pulled ahead during the last week of May thanks to the reentry of Nasty Freestyle into the Hot 100 top 10. Only one song during the month had its intro in the moderately long (0:20 – 0:29) category, Love Me Like You Do.  Its lengthy intro didn’t impede its success, however, since it hit #1 on over 30 charts throughout the world.
  • The 11 – 15 song title appearance category was the most popular throughout the month, consistently accounting for 40% of songs.
  • The synth, electric guitar, and piano were the three most popular instruments that shaped the sound of the month’s top 10 hits. They played a role within 80%, 50%, and 50% of songs, respectively.

Will these trends continue into the summer?  Stay tuned!

To view this weeks charts, click here.