Rant #16- Song Tricks

This isn’t really a rant so much as a little PSA of some singing tricks you can listen for in songs. It won’t give you much insight into the song itself, but you can see some of the little things the music industry does to keep you going.

Oh- and this is one of the things I want to do my masters thesis on in college (yes, I am aware that’s like 5 years off), so NO COPYING!

1) Common Lines
You see this mostly in hit songs. It’s usually pretty obvious, but sometimes if a singer had released a hit song that topped the charts their next song (if the pace is similar) will include just one line from the chorus. This creates a kind of sub-conscious link between the songs in the listeners mind and can actually make you compare the two. It’s kind of a trick to make the song do well. But like I said, some people make it obvious. In that case it isn’t so much a trick as it is a wink and a nod.
Example: Super Junior (I KNOW I use them for a lot of examples!!!)’s “Sorry, Sorry” and “No Other”. This is no secret- during Eunhyuk’s rap in the middle there is an abrupt change in pace and music and they suddenly sing “I’m going crazy crazy baby” from “Sorry, Sorry” even doing the famous dance from that song. In this case it’s a wink and a nod. It’s really hard to pin these songs down (the ones linked) because if the artist is crafty they will find a way to work a line in somewhere that it fits into well, so you aren’t supposed to suddenly think “Oh! I know that!”. But keep an ear out and you’ll hear what I mean.

2) The Synthesizer
I’m not even sure if that’s the right word. You know that techno line at the back of any dance song? No? You know that keyboard-like sound at the beginning of “Sorry, Sorry” that carries the main tune through the whole thing? Ok, good, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s not quite a keyboard sound because it’s been techno-overhauled, but you get it. The synthesizer trick is one I became aware of a while ago quite on accident, and it’s so subtle and hard to notice sometimes that I think this is the best trick I’ve ever heard. So for this one I’m not going to use a specific group as an example again, but a specific songwriter: the brilliant Yoo Young Jin. If you haven’t heard of him I’m sure you know his songs: Super Junior’s “Sorry, Sorry”, “Minah (Bonamana)/ Beautiful (Obviously)”, “SuperGirl”; SNSD/Girls’ Generation’s “Gee”, “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)”, “Oh”; SHINee’s “Ring Ding Dong”. In fact almost every major hit song to appear from any SM Entertainment group has been his work. I don’t know if he does anything when it comes to actually creating the music that goes to the song, but every song he’s worked on has very distinctive synthesizer work. You can listen to “Ring Ding Dong” and picture “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)” or “LaChaTa”. If you ever listen to his work you can always say “Ok, he worked on this”. Kangta’s new “Love Frequency” song, for example, I believe was written by Yoo Young Jin. Not the Chinese version of course, but the Korean version I’m pretty confident will be on the CD.

I noticed this next synthesizer trick thanks to Super Junior’s “It’s You (Remix)”.
The “It’s You” trick:
As anyone who has heard “Sorry, Sorry” is aware, there is a very distinctive beat running through the background that kind of pulls the whole song together. It is this beat that anyone can ID the song from and even though the song has been remixed an estimated 6 times during Super Junior’s Trans-Asia tour that beat is NEVER altered. Well, listen to “Sorry, Sorry” and memorize the beat, then listen to “It’s You (Remix)” (you can find it on youtube). Initially the beat is mimicking the original background music, but keep listening when it goes into the chorus. Did you hear it? It’s a key higher- but the synthesizer suddenly starts playing “Sorry, Sorry” (the part where they go “dan dan dan dada dan da da dan”). Sneaky~ I was listening to the remix trying to figure out why it reminded me of “Sorry, Sorry” when my iPod fell and the headphones came half out- so the vocal line suddenly fell and I could hear the synthesizer clearly.

Want to know another trick? Kangta’s brand new comeback song- “Love Frequency” has a similar synthesizer track to “Sorry, Sorry” as well. It isn’t as obvious, the beat is slightly different, but if you listen VERY closely you can hear that “Dan dan dan dada dan da da dan” line again- with every other change in note removed. It’s a little different, faster, but the main synthesizer track is like a siren version. I can’t describe it, but listen to the background of the song and you might hear the same thing.

I’m currently working with Adobe Soundbooth CS5 and other programs to try and eliminate the vocal line and bring the synthesizer out more to compare other songs by Yoo Young Jin to see if that same beat is in more places.




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