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  • Deborah Straszheim

Music, Lyrics and 'Hot Damn'


OK, who wants to admit they’re jamming to, “ah-ya-ya-ya-ya I keep on hoping, we’ll eat cake by the ocean?”

Not the most inspiring lyric. But the song by DNCE ranked ninth on the billboard singles chart last week.

How can this be? It’s what we call a melody or beat-driven song. The tune is so catchy, you can toss in ya-ya-yas and rhyme “hot damn” with whatever you’ve got and it’s all good.

Songs, for whatever reason, tend to fall into one of these two categories: Melody-driven or lyric-driven.

By melody-driven, we mean the beat or music is so instantly recognizable or catchy that the lyrics become almost secondary to the song. That’s not to say “Cake by the Ocean” has no decent lyrics, but it’s not what makes people crank it up in their cars.

Since we’re talking top-ten pop, compare that to “Stressed Out” by “Twenty One Pilots,” ranked third on the singles chart.

The verse has little melody, the lead singer speaks more than he sings through the verse, and if you haven't heard it before, you’d probably have to listen several times to hum it.

But the lyrics speak to an audience. The band sings about wishing they could “turn back time to the good old days” when they were rocked to sleep, “but now we’re stressed out.”

“Used to dream of outer space, but now they’re laughing in our face, saying, ‘Wake up, you need to make money.”

How many 20-somethings can relate to that? Even if they don’t like the reference to “Blurryface,” or their parents hate it.

Of course, the best songs have a strong melody and relatable lyrics.

Then there are those mystery songs where you wonder, how on earth did this become a hit? Just so we don’t discriminate based on genre, among country our pick is “Red Solo Cup.” Even singer Toby Keith said it was one of the stupidest songs he’d ever heard.

Our nominee from the top ten pop singles chart, with accompanying awful video goes to “My House” by Flo Rida. We’ll concede it has a tune, but that’s about it. Video features his “house” with a woman sucking booze out of someone’s belly button, flame-thrower in the kitchen and people eating sushi (no hands!) off a half-naked woman’s body.

Is it a corpse? We realize she’s alive, but what were they thinking? Ew.

Cake By The Ocean ~ DNCE

Stressed Out ~ Twenty One Pilots

Red Solo Cup ~ Toby Keith

My House ~ Flo Rida

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