What is a "Hit"?

What is a "Hit"?

Some answers...

What is a "Hit"?

You whistle a few notes in the street without even realizing it? You can't get rid of a melody that keeps reappearing in your head? But what is a hit? Is it only the product of a song that has been overplayed by the media or is it a piece of music that really has something extra?   

The term "hit" means a successful song in the music jargon. In French, we use the term "tube". Historically, it would be Boris Vian who would have associated this word to describe a song that is popular with the general public. From a commercial point of view, a hit is a work that brings a lot of money to the record company and/or the artist who composed it with significant sales, numerous radio plays and a very good ranking at the top of the charts. Several studies have been made on this subject to try to define the "secret recipe" of a hit under the analysis of its composition, although music, as any art, is subject to the subjectivity of man. However, we can draw 3 elements of answers that seem to be key ingredients: 

1. Melody and chords

The melody should be catchy. After listening to it, these few recognizable notes should stay in your head very easily. For this, the melody should not be too complex, and usually based on a fairly common and familiar chord grid. Several hits are composed on the same chord grid, as shown in this video where several "top line" are sung on the cadence of Despacito. Link here

2. Duration of the piece and structure

A hit song has the power to capture attention, without letting up. Radio stations are looking for an audience, so they need short and efficient songs that do not bore their listeners so that they do not change frequency. The duration of a hit is therefore around 3 minutes, with a well-defined structure (Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus).  According to the producer Max Martin (Britney Spears, Katy Perry...), the 1st chorus must arrive in less than a minute to obtain an even more resounding effect!

3. Simple and effective words

Les paroles doivent être en symbiose avec la mélodie, comme s'il était impossible de dissocier les mots choisis avec la mélodie qui l’accompagne. De plus, le vocabulaire choisi doit rester simple et abordable, avec un niveau de lecture relativement accessible. Des thématiques génériques comme l’amour, la fête, la solitude ou la tristesse sont le plus souvent abordées. 
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