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The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Technique Spotlight: Save Your Tears (Remix)’s “D” Section

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A ”D” section, which is an acronym for departure section, is the classification of a song section that provides a pronounced vocal, instrumental, lyrical and/or energy level departure compared to the rest of the song and generally appears around two-thirds to three-quarters of the way in. The most common types of “D” sections found in today’s hits are a bridge, which is by far the most popular, a one-off vocal or instrumental break, or a diversified pre-existing section (i.e. verse, pre-chorus, etc.) compared to how they previously appeared in the song.

Save Your Tears’s “D” section is vocal break 3 (“I don’t know why…”), which is modified compared to vocal breaks 1 and 2 through its breakdown, low-energy arrangement.

Save Your Tears‘s “D” Section

 

But this “D” section doesn’t just provide arrangement and energy contrast in the scope of the song.  In addition to this, it also:

  • Heightens memorability and infectiousness due to the recycling of the catchy vocal break melody, now in a new context.
  • Brings together the song’s two artists – The Weeknd and Ariana Grande – together in harmony for the first time.
  • Ariana’s super high-register harmony on the nonsense lyric shows off her signature whistle tone vocal chops. Furthermore, note that this harmony was initially foreshadowed in the intro make the song subtly more memorable and cohesive.
  • The synth arpeggio, which is recycled from verse 2, is doubled by Grande’s vocal in bars 1 and 5. And, providing this with even more interest is the panning of Grande’s vocal, which moves from left to right in the stereo field to provide the section with additional “ear candy.”
  • Lastly, the section’s low-energy breakdown arrangement helps the following chorus 3 to hit with maximum perceived impact due to the dynamic contrast between the two sections. This is further bolstered by the accompaniment pull S.I.A. (section impact accentuator) at the end of the section, which pulls everything from the mix save for a clap, drum fill and vocal run by Grande on the lyric “save.”

All in all, Save Your Tears’s “D” section is a prime example of how to provide an engaging, multi-faceted departure in a song without the need to come up with an entirely brand new section to get the job done.

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About the Hit Song Techniques Library:

This curated library provides you with some of the most effective tools and techniques that today’s hitmakers use to send their songs to the top of the charts. Each technique includes analysis, visualization and audio clips.

Technique analysis categories 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, Rhyme Techniques, and Motifs.

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