@Olivia_Rodrigo's "drivers license" is all in 4/4, but uses some VERY creative phrasing to create a sense of suspense! cc @SwitchedOnPop @Top40Theory @TheDanielNigro

each verse is 7 bars long, with 6 lines and one bar of rest. Your ears expect 8, but you get an odd number. (1/5)
Rodrigo sings the last line, "Crying 'cause you weren't around," then her voice drops out, leaving you in the emptiness of the music...

But then, a piano chord pitchshifts down as the next section starts up a bar early, as if she's interrupted by her own thoughts. (2/5)
similarly, each chorus is 10(!) bars long. The first four lines are two pairs of 3 bars, which is pretty uncommon...

But just as you get used to it, the last two lines have twice as many syllables - and cut off the chorus unresolved in only 2 bars! (3/5)
The bridge is more conventional, with two sets of 8 bars. It's the only part of the song that feels familiar and predictable. Olivia's going nowhere, stuck in her past memories. (4/5)
In the final chorus, she repeats the last line, resolving the song with 3 sets of 4 bars.

It's neater, but it's still not symmetrical. Where any other song would give you a chorus of 16, "drivers license" doesn't give you the satisfaction. Brilliant pop songwriting. (5/5)
listen for yourself! As catchy and 4/4 as it is, it's surprisingly difficult to count along with the phrasings
P.S. I myself wrote a big pop song with a 7-bar chorus and 10-bar finale - coming up with that organically is still one of my proudest creative moments ✨✨✨

OH, and @Olivia_Rodrigo sings the same phrasing in her early demo of the song! Musical prodigy incoming (6/5?)


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More from @rsh_elle

11 Jan
1. This song is very very good
2. If it debuts at #1 on the Hot 100, it will definitely be A Moment for pure songwriting
3. The half-generation of kids who first discovered music through Lorde is already ascendant

To me, this feels a touch like gentrified indie pop in a way that Lorde and Billie are not, but it's also great enough that I don't care. Potentially big things ahead for her
Bruce Springsteen + The Smiths --> Arcade Fire + Broken Social Scene --> Lorde --> Troye Sivan + Phoebe Bridgers --> Olivia Rodrigo
Read 6 tweets
11 Jan
I only know a few Waxahatchee songs, but Katie Crutchfield has a very..... interesting vocal style where it sounds like she's singing from the very top of her throat
Fire is a very strong composition and her singing probably works on an emotional level, but I find it difficult to listen to. It sounds like technique that'll make you go hoarse, then actively damage your vocal cords from strain
Anyway, whether or not you like the song... Yes, the act of singing is deeply personal, but discussion about the voice - THE #1 instrument - is almost totally absent from popular music criticism. We're really doing singers a disservice imo
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov 20
I have never listened to Avril Lavigne's monster debut album Let Go.

so @punkgoespod bought me a brand new CD copy yesterday, and we're livetweeting my first listen starting... NOW
There are bigger albums I haven't heard, but none as significant to my generation... I know every radio hit and single cover, but never considered myself enough of a fan even to pirate it lol
but at this point, it'd be like me not knowing Hybrid Theory! sooooo let us begin!!
Read 40 tweets
20 Nov 20
The tone and delivery of most YouTube essayists is sooooooooooooo didactic it's infuriating
they talk at you instead of allowing you to listen. Podcasts >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> YouTube
problem is too many YT essayists treat what they do like high-school debating instead of criticism, or an art form unto itself. They present conclusions they've come to, instead of taking you on a journey in real-time
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov 20
The shittest breakup song // the shittest fake "response" song ImageImage
The 2000s were a cultural wasteland, exhibit #130791741
that song was an Australian ARIA #1, good lord
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1 Feb 20
So I loved Taylor Swift's Miss Americana documentary, but I want to apologise for an article I wrote that appears in the film, and give context for its headline, which I did not write.
In July 2016, I wrote a piece for Noisey/VICE Australia about the Kim/Kanye/Taylor feud, in the wake of Kim leaking their "Famous" phone call on Snapchat. The popular opinion at the time was that Kim had "exposed" Taylor - but I didn't think Taylor had lied.
I wanted to deconstruct the pettiness of the celebrity-industrial complex, and offer a path forward for Taylor. Here's the contention of the piece (it's no wonder I'd later love Reputation):
Read 30 tweets

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