How the Pop-Drop Became the Sound of 2016
Co-host of the Switched On Pop podcast Charlie Harding breaks down the sound that defined pop music in 2016.This article originally appeared on Billboard
Rihanna, Justin Bieber & Hailee Steinfeld
Charlie Harding is the co-host of Switched On Pop, the podcast that breaks down how popular music works.
This is the year of the "pop-drop," the post-chorus musical interlude that blends techniques from electronic dance music to hip-hop, and it's taken the chorus' place in pop music. The pop-drop is the new climax of the song, right where we would expect to hear the chorus, and it is absolutely everywhere.
It's set up by what's known as the "pre-chorus," which typically cues a sing-along refrain. Then where we expect the chorus, we get yet another section of build, a kind of pseudo-chorus that further heightens expectations. Finally, the pop-drop lands. The singer literally drops out, replaced by synthesizers and chopped-up, distorted vocal samples that vaguely reference the earlier lyrics. There is no need to sing along. Paired with a syncopated beat, the pop-drop invites the listener to just feel the music in a way that's unexpected, revelatory and just plain fun...