The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Q1 Hit Songwriting Trends



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During the first quarter of 2015, 20 songs charted within the Hot 100 top 10.  They are:

  • All About That Bass:  Meghan Trainor
  • Animals:  Maroon 5
  • Blank Space:  Taylor Swift
  • Centuries:  Fall Out Boy
  • Earned It:  The Weeknd
  • FourFiveSeconds:  Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney
  • I’m Not The Only One:  Sam Smith
  • Jealous:  Nick Jonas
  • Lay Me Down:  Sam Smith
  • Lips Are Movin:  Meghan Trainor
  • Love Me Harder:  Ariana Grande featuring The Weeknd
  • Love Me Like You Do:  Ellie Goulding
  • Shake It Off:  Taylor Swift
  • Style:  Taylor Swift
  • Sugar:  Maroon 5
  • Take Me To Church:  Hozier
  • Thinking Out Loud:  Ed Sheeran
  • Time Of Our Lives:  Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo
  • Trap Queen:  Fetty Wap
  • Uptown Funk:  Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

11 were carryovers from Q4, and nine entered into the top 10 for the very first time.   The new arrivals were a diverse group spanning each primary genre category including Dance/Electronic (Time Of Our Lives), Hip Hop/Rap (Trap Queen), Pop (Love Me Like You Do), R&B/Soul (Lay Me Down), and Rock (Centuries).

Our latest Hit Songs Deconstructed Trend report takes a look at the compositional characteristics that defined the 20 songs that charted within the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 during the first quarter of 2015, and how these characteristics have changed, or remained the same over the course of a year.

What follows are some of the highlights taken from our Q1 Trend report.   For a full rundown and analysis, be sure to read the full Q1 Trend Report by clicking here.

[Header 2 header=”Increased In Prominence”]

  • Interscope (record label):  Its representation increased from 4% to 15% of songs (#2 behind Republic)
  • Five + Writer Teams:  Increased from 21% to 35% of songs
  • Solo Male Lead Vocals:  Increased from 33% to 55% of songs
  • Retro Influence:  Increased from 21% to 50% of songs
  • 11 – 15 Song Title Appearances:  Increased from 13% to 30% of songs
  • Prominent Guitar Within The Mix:  Increased from 42% to 70% of songs
  • The A-B-A-B-C-B Form:  Increased from 46% to 55% of songs
  • The Long Outro Length Range (0:30+):  Increased from 25% to 38% of songs
  • Late First Chorus Occurrence Range (1:00+):  Increased from 13% to 25% of songs

[Header 2 header=”Decreased In Prominence”]

  • Solo Female Lead Vocals:  Decreased from 42% of songs down to 30%
  • Duet/Group Vocals:  Decreased from 8% of songs down to nil
  • Hip Hop/Rap (Sub-Genre/Influencer):  Decreased from 42% of songs down to 25%
  • Two Word Titles:  Decreased from 33% of songs down to 20%
  • 6 – 10 Song Title Appearances:  Decreased from 29% of songs down to 15%
  • Prominent Synth Within The Mix:  Decreased fro 71% of songs down to 55%
  • Intro (section):  Decreased from 75% of songs down to 60%
  • Moderately Early First Chorus Occurrence Range (0:20 – 0:39):  Decreased from 21% of songs down to 5%

Below are a few noteworthy graphs illustrating how Hot 100 top 10 charting song characteristics have performed over the course of a year. Reference the full report for details:

[Header 1 header=”Lead Vocal”]


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


[Header 1 header=”Primary/Prominent Instrumentation”]


[Header 1 header=”A-B-A-B-C-B Form”]


[Header 1 header=”First Section”]


These are just a few highlights from our Hit Songs Deconstructed Trend Report.  To read the full report which features in-depth analysis of the trends that shaped the hits over the past year, click here.