At a Glance
Primary Instrumentation, Tone & Mix
Hit Factor Assessment
Why it’s a Hit
Artist: Taio Cruz
Song/Album: Dynamite / Rokstarr
Songwriter(s): Gottwald, Martin, Levin, McKee, Cruz
Week on BB Chart: September 18, 2010
Chart Position: # 1 Billboard Pop Song
Genre: Electro House / Pop
First Chorus: 0:32 (16% into the song)
Intro Length: 0:07
Outro Length: 0:09
Primary Instrumentation Type: Electric
Lyrical Theme: Partying in a club
Primary Lyrical P.O.V: 1st person
Section Length (Length of each individual section within the song)
Here we see each section being uniform in regard to length (i.e. each chorus at 0:31, each verse at 0:16, etc…). The majority of time allocated to each section is devoted to the choruses and bridge.
Structure Timeline (Shows when each section hits within the timeline of the song)
Here we waste no time in getting to the focal point of “Dynamite” – the chorus. The first chorus hits at 0:32, 16% into the song.
Total Section Analysis (Total time consumed by each section and its percentage of the total song)
It’s obvious by looking at the graph above that the focal point of “dynamite” is the chorus. The chorus accounts for 46% of the total song, followed far behind by the bridge and verse, at 18% and 16% respectively.
Momentum/Intensity Factor (Evaluation of the intensity of each section within the song timeline on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being the most intense)
As far as momentum and intensity goes, “Dynamite” is relatively linear in nature, and is most likely structured this way for dance club effectiveness. The intensity builds through the intro leading into the first verse and remains constant until the first part of the chorus where it dips before kicking in with the second section of the chorus. This pattern is continued through the bridge, where once again the momentum takes a slight dip, but overall it remains pretty constant due to the non-changing beat. The momentum and intensity then build again, peaking during the third part of the chorus before fizzing out during the ending (synth hit).
The intro, though nothing “special”, does have its own unique sound that identifies the song once it kicks off. It leads well into the first verse.
This is run of the mill, sterile club pop with generic lyrics. That being said, it is still extremely memorable, achieved by the simple, easy to remember lyrics working in conjunction with excellent vocal phrasing and a simple driving beat.
The pre-chorus is both memorable (in regard to the phrasing and repetitive lyrics) and nicely sets up the first part of the chorus.
The first half of the chorus does a good job of bringing the momentum down a notch giving the listener (or clubber) a chance to “throw their hands up in the air” and now all let’s say in unison – “Ayo, gotta let go” and “Ayo, baby let’s go.” (I can just picture how this is going to go down in clubs, though I would not want to see it in person). The second half sees the chorus kicking into high gear. The lyrics are just as generic as in the verse, but simple enough to remember when you’re partying. They are also in line with and accentuate the “good time” vibe.
Here we see the momentum from the chorus take a slight dip in intensity, but as with all the other sections the lyrical phrasing is still highly infectious and memorable, working well in unison with the beat and instrumentation. The lyrics are still generic and shallow in nature.
In line with the vast majority of other hit Pop songs, “Dynamite” is ultra compressed for maximum sonic impact, especially in the “B” sections.
Compares the song being analyzed to all Rock songs that have entered the Billboard Rock top 10: Q1 through Q3-2010.
The key elements present in “Dynamite” are in-line with all year-to-date top 10 Pop hits EXCEPT:
- The song is 0:24 shorter in length than the majority of top 10 Pop songs.
- The intro length is 0:07 shorter than the average.
- The outro length is 0:09 shorter than the average.
- The tempo is mid/up, as opposed to a primarily mid tempo range for top 10 Pop songs.
- The lyrical theme deals with “clubbing” as opposed to a “Love/Relationship” theme, present in the majority of top 10 hit Pop songs.
Does the song flow in a cohesive manner? This is a very well structured song with each section flowing seamlessly into the next.
Production: 8/10 and 1/10
How does the production stand up in maximizing the songs impact? The song is well produced in the sense that it’s manufactured for a club environment. It’s highly compressed and slick with an upfront, driving beat. In that sense, it gets an 8/10 rating. On the flip side, the slick, sterile production makes this song devoid of any real emotion, hence the 1/10.
Does the instrumentation and sound maximize the vibe of the song? The up-front beat, synths and piano work very well in conjunction with one another in producing a very upbeat, jovial track that accentuates the “good time” lyrical content.
Lyrics: 9/10 and 1/10
Do the lyrics serve the song and jibe with the vibe of the music? The lyrics are very simple in nature, direct and to-the-point. They work very well in conjunction with the music and are perfectly suited for a club atmosphere (hence the 9/10 rating). On the flip side, the lyrics are extremely generic and shallow (hence the 1/10 additional rating).
Vocal Delivery: 2/10
Does the tonality and phrasing of the vocals maximize the songs impact? This song gets one point for the fact that Autotune accentuates the club vibe of the song. Other than that, Taio Cruz seems completely disinterested in conveying any type of emotion, and as a result comes across flat and boring. It sounds like he’s just going through the motions.
How easy is it to remember this song after you hear it once? “Dynamite” is a highly infectious and memorable song, with each section being just as memorable as the next. I’ve had many a morning waking up to this song running through my head.
Wow Factors: n/a
Does this song possess any standout elements or special moments that aid in catapulting it to HIT status? There are no “wow” factors in this song.
Does the song provide the listener with a strong payoff (i.e. a hot chorus)? The chorus within “Dynamite” is very well set-up by the verse and pre-chorus. The first half of the chorus acts as another “set-up” before kicking into the driving second half. All in all it provides a good payoff for the listener.
Does this song have its own unique vibe when compared to other songs/artists in the genre? “Dynamite” is just about as generic as you can get, both from a lyrical standpoint and a musical standpoint. As mentioned earlier, this is run of the mill, sterile club House/Pop.
Does this song have what it takes to stand the test of time? Will it become a staple of the artist’s repertoire? “Dynamite” may wind up being a highlight in Taio Cruz’s career, but when evaluated against other House/Pop songs that currently stand, and will stand the test of time, “Dynamite” will just be a small footnote in the history of the genre.
- It’s very catchy and memorable – primed for a club atmosphere.
- It’s very well crafted from a structural standpoint.
- The lyrics are easy to remember.
- “Dynamite” is devoid of any emotion, both from a production standpoint and a vocal/instrumentation standpoint.
- The song is pure “formula.” There is no substance behind it.
- The lyrics are shallow and generic.
- The music is generic and unoriginal.
- The vocal delivery is boring and flat.
There are a number of factors that worked together in catapulting “Dynamite” to #1 on the Billboard Pop charts:
- Infectious, Well Structured & Memorable. “Dynamite” is the epitome of methodical hit songwriting formula. It’s exceptionally memorable and seemed to be crafted with a specific purpose in mind (i.e. for a party/club atmosphere). It delivered.
- Hot Streak. “Dynamite” comes on the heels of the hugely successful “Break Your Heart” single. As a result, Taio Cruz was still buzzing in the genre, and fans were ready for another fix.
- Promotion/Branding. Taio Cruz has major label backing on an international level, coupled with a remix that features Jennifer Lopez. His Rokstarr brand is also immensely popular, and includes major celebrities that wear his line of sunglasses. As a result, he is very much in the limelight and highly marketable.
- Unless you’re backed by a major label and already a star, you better include emotion, substance and originality in your music. Otherwise, you’ll wind up being a dime a dozen and your chances for success will be quite limited.
- Study hit songwriting “formula” (such as “Dynamite”) to understand the overall framework of a successful hit song, and apply key attributes to your songs to make them better and more effective. Remember, though, formula without substance is nothing (hence the bullet point above).
- Even if you’re composing “run of the mill” club songs, try to incorporate some sort of interesting lyrical twist or theme into your song. It will make it more engaging for your audience, ultimately increasing its potential longevity. It will also increase your chances of being noticed by industry decision makers. There are enough “lyrically generic” songs out there. Make it interesting.
- Remember that the tone of your song should jibe with the lyrical content. “Dynamite’s” music is upbeat and jovial in nature, and this is reflected as well in the lyrics. It creates a consistent “package” that delivers.