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greedy Deconstructed

Tate McRae

"greedy" serves as the lead single from Tate McRae’s 2023 sophomore album, Think Later, marking her first Hot 100 top 10 hit. The track was collaboratively penned by McRae alongside a team of esteemed behind-the-scenes talents, including Amy Allen, known for her contributions to hits such as Halsey’s “Without Me” and Harry Styles’ “Adore You” and “Matilda;” Jasper Harris, whose credits include Jack Harlow’s “First Class” and Post Malone’s “I Like You (A Happier Song);” and Ryan Tedder, renowned for his work with OneRepublic and hits like Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody” and Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker,” among others.

This powerhouse lineup of writers alongside producers Grant Boutin, Harris, and Tedder, meticulously crafted "greedy" into a song poised for global acclaim. Noteworthy qualities include its irresistibly catchy melodies, expertly arranged vocal and instrumental hooks, and McRae's emotive delivery, breathing life into relatable themes of love, relationships, and self-empowerment. Also notable is the delicate balance between familiarity and uniqueness, allowing “greedy” to resonate widely with audiences while carving out its own distinct identity.

Since its release, "greedy" has surged into the top 10 on over 50 charts worldwide, claiming the number one position on more than 20, including the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Top 40 charts in the United States.

Note this report is published in segments. Stay tuned for the next segment detailing the songs instrumental arrangement and harmonic progression.

At-A-Glance


Artist: Tate McRae
Song:
"greedy”
Songwriters:
Amy Allen, Jasper Harris, Ryan Tedder, Tate McRae
Producers:
Grant Boutin, Jasper Harris, Ryan Tedder
Mastering Engineer:
Dave Kutch
Mixer:
Manny Marroquin
Record Label:
RCA
Primary Genre:
Pop
Influences:
Alt/Indie, Dance/Club, Electropop/Synthpop, Pop, R&B/Soul
Length:
2:09
Form:
I-A-B-T-A-B-A-B-O
Key:
F# minor
Tempo:
111 BPM
First Chorus:
0:21 / 16% of the way into the song
Intro Length:
0:04
Electronic vs. Acoustic Instrumentation:
Electronic/Acoustic Combo
Prominent Instruments:
Bass (Synth), Drums/Perc (Acoustic/Electronic Combo), Steel Drums, Synth (Non-Bass)
Primary Lyrical Theme:
Inspiration/Empowerment, Love/Relationships, Love/Relationships (Romantic/Being In Love/Seeking Love)
Title Appearances:
"greedy" appears three times in the song

Section Abbreviation Key
I = Intro | A = Verse | PC = Pre-Chorus | B = Chorus | PST = Post-Chorus | C = Bridge
IB = Instrumental Break | VB = Vocal Break | “D” = Departure | T = Turnaround | O = Outro
Music notation and lyric excerpts are reproduced here under Fair Use terms, for the purposes of commentary and criticism.

Song Structure


Song Sections

“greedy” contains nine sections within its framework:

  • One intro section
  • Three verse sections (one functions as a bridge surrogate “D” [departure] section)
  • Three chorus sections
  • One turnaround post-chorus section
  • One outro post-chorus section

Song Section Classifications

“D” (Departure) Section Classification

In lieu of a far more common bridge, “greedy’s” “D” section is its third verse, appearing between choruses 2 and 3, right where one would expect to find it. While it shares melodic commonalities with the other verses, it features a notable changeup in instrumental arrangement and provides additional narrative development. This was a clever, albeit atypical way, to bolster the song’s memorability factor while simultaneously heightening interest on a lyrical, arrangement and energy level, along with setting up the final chorus for maximum perceived impact.

While the use of a “D” section has been highly common among non-hip hop hits over the past five years (despite a notable decrease in the first three quarters of 2023), verse bridge surrogates have been few and far between, comprising only 10% of “D” sections. Other recent hits that have utilized a verse “D” section include “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2,” “Bad Decisions” and “Seven.”

Use of a “D” Section in Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q3 2023 

Post-Chorus Section Classification

“greedy’s” post-choruses are the turnaround following the first chorus and the outro following chorus 3. Both feature a nonsense vocal that cleverly reinforces the steel drum hook melody, while the outro also includes the “I would want myself” standout statement hook from the preceding chorus.

Post-chorus popularity among non-hip hop Hot 100 top 10 hits has varied over the past five years, from a low of 35% of songs in 2018 up to 65% in the first three quarters of 2023, which is the highest it’s been in over a decade. However, while the outro has been the second most common post-chorus section behind the vocal break, the turnaround post-chorus has been far more elusive at just 3% of songs. Among them are other notable hits such as “Anti-Hero,” “Fast Car,” and “Good As Hell.”

Use of a Post-Chorus in Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q3 2023 

Post-Chorus Sections in Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q3 2023

Form

Time and Percent into the Song When Core Sections Occur

“greedy”

Core A-B-A-B-D-B Form in Hot 100 Top 10 Hits (Q4 2022 – Q3 2023) 

The percentage into the song when “greedy’s” core sections (verse, chorus and “D” section) occur is slightly to moderately earlier than non-hip hop Hot 100 top 10 averages in the year prior to its release. This is due in part to characteristics that contributed to its short runtime as detailed below.

Song & Section Length

Song Length

“greedy” clocks in at just 2:09, 1:12 shorter than the Hot 100 top 10 average of 3:21 in the year prior to the song’s release. In fact, “greedy” is the second-shortest non-hip hop top 10 during this time period, right behind Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock” (2:02). This is in-tune with the top 10’s gravitation towards shorter run times, led by the general rising prominence of the under 3:00 song length range.

Contributing to “greedy’s” short run time are its vibrant 111 BPM tempo, shorter than average section lengths (see below for details), and compact nine section framework, due in part to its exclusion of a pre-chorus and vocal break post-chorus on either end of the first two choruses.

Song Length Ranges of Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q3 2023 

Section Length

“greedy” features relatively uniform section lengths, all landing at 17 seconds save for the slightly longer 19-second outro, the notably shorter 4-second intro, and 2-second turnaround. In terms of bars, this translates to 8, 9, 2, and 1, respectively.

Compared to the average section length of non-hip hop Hot 100 top 10 hits in the year prior to the song’s release, “greedy’s” intro averaged 9 seconds shorter, the verse 10 seconds shorter, the chorus 6 seconds shorter, and the outro 2 seconds shorter.

*Note: Section lengths are rounded.

Total Section Breakdown

*Note that numbers may be rounded, resulting in slightly more or less than 100% of the song’s total composition

“greedy” allocates an equal amount of time to the choruses and verses, each comprising 41% of the song’s total composition. Note that the atypically higher verse allocation is due to the song’s inclusion of a verse 3 “D” section as opposed to a more common bridge (most non-hip hop hits contain two verses in their framework). The outro follows distantly at just 15%, and the intro and turnaround account for the least amount of time at just 3% and 2%, respectively.

In terms of trends in the year prior to its release, “greedy” allocates notably more time to its verses and choruses, slightly more time to its outro, and less time to its turnaround and intro.

“greedy” / Q4 2022 – Q3 2023 Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Average Time Allocation

  • Intro: 3% / 7
  • Verse: 41% / 30%
  • Chorus: 41% / 34%
  • Turnaround: 2% / 4%
  • Outro: 15% / 10%

Tempo and Key

Tempo

“greedy’s” tempo lands at 111 BPM, 10 BPM faster than the non-hip hop top 10 average of 101 BPM in the first three quarters of the year. This is in line with the mainstream’s gravitation towards faster tempos and contributes both to its short runtime and dance influence. Other notable recent dance-influenced top 10s that fall within this tempo range are “Cuff It,” “Dance The Night,” and “Flowers.”

Average Tempo in Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q3 2023 (Top 5)

Key

“greedy” is in the key of F# minor. While minor tonalities in non-hip hop songs have been in the minority since 2019, the gap has generally been closing, culminating in a close 49%/51% split in the first three quarters of 2023.

Major vs. Minor Keys in Non-Hip Hop Hot 100 Top 10 Hits: 2018 – Q3 2023 

Genres & Influences


Genres & Influence Blend

Key

X: The influence appears prominently within the stanza and/or section
x: The influence appears minimally within the stanza and/or section
-/-: Divides stanzas

“greedy” features a combination of pop, R&B, dance/club, electropop/synthpop, and alternative influences that are put into effect by the qualities of the vocals, instrumentation, lyrics, and overall production.

The song’s main influence and primary genre is pop. This is due in part to its catchy K.I.S.S. ME (Keep it Simple, Singable and Memorable) melodies, array of infectious hooks, familiar pop structure, relatable love/relationships and inspiration/empowerment-themed lyrics, and polished production, to name a few.

Complementing the song’s pop influence is a notable R&B influence. Vocally, it is put into effect by McRae’s combination of smooth, sultry, confident, and melismatic vocals, which are in line with the styles of other recent R&B and pop-influenced stars such as Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, and SZA, among others. Instrumentally, the smooth synths contribute to the R&B vibe, which along with the vocals culminates in the third verse’s filtered production.

The song’s underlying dance influence is put into effect mainly by its danceable 111 BPM tempo and dance-ready drum groove. It is featured notably throughout the entire song save for the first stanza of verse 3, which features a more simplified drum pattern.

Working hand-in-hand with the song’s overarching pop and dance influences is electropop/synthpop. It is put into effect mainly by the ample of use of synths - both bass and non-bass – and featured in varying degrees of prominence throughout the song save for the intro and turnaround, where it’s omitted. The influence is prominently featured in the chorus and outro sections due to their dense, synth-heavy qualities; moderately prominent in the second and third verses; and is least prominent in the sparser first verse.

Lastly, “greedy” possesses an underlying alternative influence that is present throughout the entire song. Contributing to it are the atypical steel drum hook, the dark, foreboding melodic synth in the chorus, the unique drum timbres, and left-of-center vocal production qualities.

Blending In & Standing Out in the Hot 100 Top 10

“greedy’s” expert balance of genres and influences enabled it to both blend in and stand out in the Hot 100 top 10. While individually all its influences are familiar to mainstream ears due to their varying degrees of prominence over the years, it’s their unique combination that is far more atypical.

Over the past decade, only six other Hot 100 top 10 hits have possessed all these influences under one roof in varying degrees of prominence, most of which stem from 2018 or earlier:

  • “Beauty And A Beat” (Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj – 2013)
  • “Roses” (The Chainsmokers featuring Roses – 2016)
  • “Closer” (The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – 2016)
  • “Bad At Love” (Halsey – 2017)
  • “Happier” (Marshmello, Bastille – 2018)
  • “Lavender Haze” (Taylor Swift – 2022)

Pop as a Primary Genre in the Hot 100 Top 10: 2018 – Q3 2023 

“greedy’s” Influences in the Hot 100 Top 10: 2018 – Q3 2023 (Outside the Hip Hop/Rap Primary Genre) 

Energy & Dynamics


Energy Arrangement

S.I.A. (Section Impact Accentuator) Key

Downward Red S.I.A.: The full accompaniment is removed from the mix, resulting in a brief reduction in energy
Downward Yellow S.I.A.: A part of the accompaniment is removed from the mix, resulting in a brief reduction in energy

Loudness

“greedy’s” loudness levels generally match the song’s three energy “waves,” progressing from low to high across each sectional progression. Levels range from -12.5 in the turnaround (quietest) to -7.5 in the chorus “hook centers” and outro (loudest). Note that the higher loudness levels in these song-defining sections allows them to further stand out, connect, and bolster the listener’s emotional connection with the song.

Energy: Section-By-Section

Wave 1: Intro (I) – Vocal Break 1 (VB1)

Intro (I)

“greedy’s” intro features the lowest energy in the song, as is commonplace in Hot 100 top 10 hits. Consisting mainly of the percussive handpan hook, the sparseness of the arrangement provides room for energy and density growth in subsequent sections while the hook’s vibrant rhythm puts the song into motion.

Midway through the section a reverse swell effect enters the mix, followed by a brief electronic drum roll, full accompaniment pull and high-pitched “whoo” at the end. Together, this S.I.A. (section impact accentuator) technique serves to heighten tension and anticipation leading into the verse and maximize its impact upon arrival.

Verse 1 (A1)
Verse 1 begins with prominent glide bass on beat 1, which amplifies its impact following the S.I.A. at the end of the intro. Along with the continuation of the handpan hook, the section adds a steady drum/percussion beat into the mix that supports McRae’s eight-note driven vocals. The denser arrangement provides the verse with a greater degree of intensity compared to the intro, while McRae’s rhythmic vocals provides heightened forward motion.

At the end of the section, a brief partial accompaniment pull S.I.A. is implemented through the omission of the handpan hook. This creates a brief lull in energy that allows the chorus to hit with increased perceived impact.

Chorus 1 (B1)
Following the partial accompaniment pull S.I.A., the chorus brings “greedy’s” energy up to its first peak through changeups in the instrumental arrangement and McRae’s vocals. Instrumentally, the arrangement is notably denser compared to the verse, adding sub bass, a lead synth hook and synth pad into the mix. Vocally, McRae’s vocals are in a higher register and delivered with a greater sense of urgency and passion. These changeups also take the song’s emotional intensity to an apex in support of the lyrics.

Turnaround (T)

Following the intense chorus, energy “wave” 2 begins with a notable reduction in energy in the brief one-bar turnaround. This is achieved through its thinned-out arrangement, where all the elements are removed save for the drums/percussion and McRrae’s hummed delivery of the handpan hook melody. This brief changeup serves to heighten listener engagement while providing room for energy and arrangement growth in subsequent sections.

Wave 2: Verse 2 (A2) – Outro (O) 

Verse 2 (A2)
Verse 2 provides a significant rise in energy over the preceding turnaround, just as verse 1 rose in energy over the intro. However, just as the turnaround’s energy is higher than the intro due to the additional elements in the mix, the same is the case between verses. While they are similar, verse 2 adds sub bass and synth pad, which provides it with a denser, more intense feel.

Additionally, verse 2 uniquely adds a S.I.A. midway through the section, as opposed to exclusively at the end. The combination of the reverse swell effect and omission of the synth bass and pad creates a brief lull that both heightens in-section interest and provides additional like-section contrast.

Chorus 2 (B2)

Following the S.I.A., “greedy’s” energy leaps back up to a peak in chorus 2. While it features the same qualities as its chorus 1 counterpart, the degree of energy contrast against the preceding verse isn’t as great this time around due to the denser verse 2 arrangement. However, the implementation of the same S.I.A. technique at the end of the section allows chorus 2 to hit with a comparable degree of impact. 

Verse 3 (A3)

Stanza 1 of the verse 3 “D” (departure) section provides a notable reduction in energy compared to the chorus through its stripped back, filtered arrangement. For the first time, the percussive handpan hook is omitted from the mix, and the drums consist of a sparse, filtered kick/snare and perc. pattern. In addition, a dark synth pad is introduced, which provides the mix with a more serene vibe while McRae’s familiar rhythmic verse melody and hummed double provides forward motion. At the end of the stanza, a partial accompaniment pull S.I.A. is once again implemented to heighten engagement leading into the second stanza.

With the elements of stanza 1 remaining in effect, stanza 2 raises energy through the reintroduction of the full drum/perc. beat and handpan hook. The section culminates in a unique, brief, full accompaniment pull S.I.A. along with two kicks that usher in the third and final chorus in an impactful manner.

Chorus 3 (B3)

The third and final chorus thrusts “greedy’s” energy back up to a peak that is on par with choruses 1 and 2 due to the similar instrumental arrangements and vocal qualities.  

Outro (O)
The outro rides the listener out on an energetic high as the song comes to a conclusion. However, its energy is a notch below that of the chorus due to changeups in the vocals. While the outro maintains the chorus’s dense and powerful instrumental arrangement, the repetition of the “I would want myself” vocal is sung in a breathier, less dramatic manner compared to the chorus vocal and treated with ample reverb as it traverses the stereo field.   

In terms of the outro’s two S.I.A.s, the first is implemented midway through the section to heighten engagement and spotlight the all-important “self” lyric. At the end of the section, a final full accompaniment pull S.I.A. is implemented to spotlight the hummed hook as the song concludes.

Note this report is published in segments. Stay tuned for the next segment detailing the songs instrumental arrangement and harmonic progression.

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