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The Five Secret Ingredients for the Perfect Pop Song

When it comes to truly universal pop songwriting, there are elements which separate the golden pop nuggets from the disposable, future residents of the discount bin.

by
Jonathan Sanders

Bio

October 13, 2011 - 12:00 am
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The Everly Brothers

The Everly Brothers knew what made for an iconic pop hook.

When it comes to truly universal pop songwriting, there are elements which separate the golden pop nuggets from the disposable, future residents of the discount bin. While the pop consciousness is always shifting and evolving, specific elements have remained important staples through the decades. These qualities stand out and create the memorable from amongst otherwise ephemeral pop wonders.

While there’s no formula to crafting a perfect pop hook, the presence of these elements can make or break a song’s impact.

Editor’s recommendation: Start playing each youtube video as you begin reading Jonathan’s description of why the song is a success.

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5. Say it and get out.

There’s a reason why some of the more memorable pop songs of the fifties and sixties were short and to the point. Stripping away the padding and breaking a song down to its bare essentials can help make it ultimately more memorable. “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers was barely over two minutes in length, and it made enough of an impact to become one of the best-known pop hits of their era.

Del Amitri’s massive hit “Roll To Me” in 1995 took a page from that handbook, coupling an innately catchy melody with bare-bones lyrics, getting in and out in two minutes as well. The band has referred to the song as a “throwaway” pop song, but its minimalist nature helped it stick out from the crowd.

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