Technique Spotlight: Holy’s “Say It Again” Hook

In this Technique Spotlight, we dive into Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper’s Holy and the hook technique that helped make it an unforgettable global smash.

Following its September 2020 release, Holy hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 in early October, marking Bieber and Chance’s third Top 10 collaboration following I’m The One (2017) and No Brainer (2018).  To date, Holy has reached the #3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, where it has spent an impressive 14 weeks and counting in the Top 10.  The song has additionally reached the Top 10 in 18 countries worldwide.

While every aspect of the song is strong, including its clever love/religion-themed lyrics, engaging arrangement and unique blend of gospel, R&B, pop and hip hop genres, arguably its most memorable characteristic is its song title hook.  The hook employs what Hit Songs Deconstructed calls the “say it again” technique, which is when the same lyrics and highly similar melody are repeated in a back-to-back manner to take infectiousness and memorability to the next level.  This technique has been used in a wide array of both current and classic Top 10 hits, including Ariana’s 7 Rings, Olivia Newton-John’s Physical, Michael Jackson’s Beat It and Post Malone’s Circles, to name just a few.

And, in addition to simply repeating lyrics and melody, the song’s writers heightened the hook’s impact even further with a slew of other techniques, including its strategic set up, effective reinforcement, clever lyrical connotation and rhyme scheme connection, to name a few.  Together, all of these qualities helped turn Holy into one of the most infectious and memorable songs of 2020.

Want to learn more about Holy’s “say it again” hook technique?  Visit the Techniques Library to find out!

Click here to read the full technique in the Techniques Library.

Lyric excerpts are reproduced here under Fair Use terms, for the purposes of commentary and criticism.

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