The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Ho Hey



When most people describe the current Rock and Pop mainstream, the one term that usually doesn’t come to mind is “human element.”

Ho Hey, on the other hand stands out from the pack by exuding raw human emotion on all levels while utilizing stellar craft fundamentals to “package” that emotion in a manner that enabled the song to connect and resonate on a global scale.

To date, Ho Hey has landed in the top 10 in 15 countries and has hit #1 on charts including the U.S. Rock, Alternative and Adult Pop songs charts.

Today we’re going to take a look at that ultra-infectious chorus to see what it has in common with the songs that top the Pop charts as well as where it breaks from the mold.

Ho Hey: Chorus Vocal Melody

Key: Green Diamond (Eighth-Note), Yellow Diamond (Sixteenth-Note) – Blue Diamond (Quarter-Note), Red Diamond (Rest)



Core Strengths & Similarities to Mainstream Pop Hits

  • It’s the epitome of the K.I.S.S. principal (note the simplicity of the progression in the vocal melody graph above).
  • It utilizes short phrases (3 to 4 lyrics) coupled with effective segmenting (i.e. each phrase ends on a rest or a prolonged note relative to the others) which enables each phrase to get completely engrained within the listener’s head.
  • It’s repetitive, both in each individual chorus section (i.e. the first 2 phrases) as well as throughout the entire song (except at the tail end of the section in one case – “sweet” vs. “sweetheart”).
  • There are 3 chorus occurrences within the song, which is directly in line with the vast majority of top 10 Pop hits.
  • The chorus provides great contrast with other sections of the song (i.e. the happy/jovial nature of the chorus vs. the frustrated and downtrodden verses).
  • Wesley’s delivery and the nature of the vocal melody perfectly jibe with, and accentuate, the lyrical content.
  • The nature of the instrumentation, specifically the “happy” mandolin, accentuates the section’s upbeat nature.

Where Ho Hey Differs

  • On average, Ho Hey’s chorus length is about one-third of most chart-topping Pop song choruses (0:10 vs. 0:30).
  • Ho Hey’s choruses account for a much smaller percentage of the song’s total composition compared to the top 10 Pop hit average (comprising just 19% of the total song as opposed to the 45% average).

Ho Hey’s Compositional Breakdown vs. the Top 10 Hit Pop Song Average


So you’ve got to wonder just why when a chorus is SO infectious, engaging and memorable would you not devote more time to it than the other sections of the song? In the case of Ho Hey, there were 2 primary reasons:

  • First, Ho Hey contains 3 verse sections compared to the chart-topping Pop average of 2 (the story was obviously very important in this song). This detracted from the amount of time that could be allocated to the chorus.
  • Second, it functions as a “teaser” chorus, meaning that as soon as it hits and hooks you in, it’s gone, leaving you wanting more (remember, the average length is just 0:10). Think of it as being similar to the premise of a “false ending” – a psychological technique utilized to foster repeat listens.

The bottom line is this – Ho Hey’s chorus possesses all of the stellar craft and emotional value to fully engage the listener while at the same time “teasing” them with its short length to entice repeat listens. And THAT’S what we all want in the end, isn’t it?!?!