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Musings on music and the culture that is pop

 

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Welcome to Friendly Fire, a blog about the wonders of great pop music from the past (mainly), the present (sometimes) and the future (ha ha, not really).

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THE SCIENCE OF POP

How to make a pop song 200% better in eleven easy steps

Written a pop song that's failing to snap and crackle? Got a future banger that's a bit of a clanger? Fear not! All situations are rectifiable if you follow these 11 easy steps to making your pop song unquantifiably better than it was.


1.Fake it to make it:

Start your pop classic with a fake-out orchestral intro that bears little or no relation to the rest of the song.

Best Practice: Papa Don’t Preach - Madonna, As Good As New – Abba


2. Put a ding-dong in your sing-song: All songs sound better with bells on. Fact. Add a chime to yours.

Best Practice: I Want Your Love – Chic, Back to Black – Amy Winehouse, Boyfriend – Alphabeat, Summer Son – Texas, Can You Feel It – The Jacksons, Tragedy – Steps


3. Don’t Stop Me Now: And why not add a siren or a whistle whilst you’re at it?

Best Practice: Blockbuster – Sweet, Scandalous – Mis-Teeq, Two Tribes (Annihilation Mix) – Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Crazy in Love – Beyonce


4. Ou est la bibliotheque?: Keep em guessing by dropping in some French lyrics for no apparent reason.

Best Practice: Denis – Blondie, Bad Romance – Lady Gaga, Psycho Killer – Talking Heads, I’m Not Scared – Eighth Wonder


5.Drop it out: ”Drop out” the backing for that iconic third chorus moment.

Best Practice: (We Want) The Same Thing – Belinda Carlisle, You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi, (I just) Died In Your Arms – Cutting Crew ,,,,,and while you're at it, stick part of the title in (brackets)


6. Deconstruct*: Traditional verse-chorus-verse structures you say? Pah, that’s for basics and dummys. Casually reinforce your genius by starting your song with the middle eight

Best Practice: Dancing Queen – Abba

*warning: should only be used sparingly by those with experience. If unsure, consult your doctor.


7. Give it some serious Clarkson: Self explanatory.

Best Practice: Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson, What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – Kelly Clarkson, My Life Would Suck Without You – Kelly Clarkson


8.Hola chicas! Add some Spanish guitar and leave to marinate overnight.

Best Practice: Domino Dancing – Pet Shop Boys, The Time Is Now – Moloko, Viva Forever – Spice Girls, Please Stay – Kylie Minogue


9. Who am I, and who are you, and who are we?: Go full on meta and reference yourself in the song.

Best Practice: The Look of Love – ABC , Bootylicious – Destiny’s Child, Like I Love You – Justin Timberlake, Nasty – Janet Jackson


10. Repeat after me: If you’ve got a great sonic idea or hook, repeat and repeat until someone falls over.

Best Practice: : One More Time – Daft Punk, Toxic – Britney Spears, Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes


11. DJ give me life: Set your song in the club/ on the dancefloor/ on the best night out you’ve ever had and feature the thinly disguised metaphor of DJ as redemptive saviour from your 9-5 misery.

Best Practice: On the Floor – J-Lo, Into The Groove – Madonna, Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) - Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life – Indeep


Handy Spotify link for further listening:

https://open.spotify.com/user/timbisset/playlist/5t0tKCrcvOnLsFxDaJilIR?si=dcfvZ-jsQWG0gY-MZYbSig





 

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