Why Post Malone Songs Are So Catchy (Pt. 1)

Why Post Malone Songs Are So Catchy (Pt. 1)

Today’s article is part one of a two-part series where we are going to being using classic songwriting techniques breakdown the illusive catchiness of all of Post Malone’s major hits. 

While this is mainly a Hip-Hop based channel, whether or not you feel Post Malone is “part of the culture” based on his comments or style is not going to be discussed here… 

We want to identify at the very least the reasons why he has been such an undeniable force on the charts recently, and more specifically…

What we can learn from him to incorporate into our own music to increase our songwriting techniques and abilities. 

Our “Why Post Malone Songs Are So Catchy (Pt. 1)” YouTube Training

1. Early Introduction of Key Melodies

One of the oldest tricks in the pop songwriting book is to vocally “hint” or “subtly introduce” the main melody of some section of the song within the first few bars of music…

…And Post Malone does this ALL the time. 

“White Iverson”, his first major hit, starts with the “double OT, I’m the new breed…” melody within the first 5 seconds that we would hear one minute later in the song to wrap up verse 1 leading into the chorus… 

“I Fall Apart” starts immediately with a choral like interpretation of the main “I Fall Apart” melody from its chorus that will anchor the song for the rest of the track. 

Starting a song this way accomplishes three things: 

A) It fills in the “dead space” of the first few bars as it plays

Most beginning songwriters, especially rappers, just let the beat play for 4-8 bars with no vocal activity (or 10-15 seconds if you’re not counting in bars)…

…Which in this modern streaming-first era can make the music sound dead, unless you have an identifiable riff to start the music, which we’ll talk about in a minute…

B) It introduces a section of the song into the audience’s mind

Part of the key to catchiness is simple repetition, and the more time you can have melodies subtly repeated in the listeners mind the more likely they are to call the song “catchy”. 

By starting the song with a melody you will use again, fans are more likely to call your song “catchy”.

C) It gives a Hip-Hop like quality to pop songs

Hip-Hop is the genre that really innovated the musical ad-lib as an art form within songwriting techniques itself. Grunts, yells, screams, shouts, exclamations and much more fill many rap tracks… 

By starting his song with some form of an ad-lib or vocal “flourish”, it gives a grittier feel to a pop record than the most only-have-vocals-when-necessary feel of most pop music.

Songwriting Techniques Performing
Post has a chorus-first mentality

2. Chorus First Mentality

As a general rule, every major Post Malone hit starts with the chorus after a 4-bar intro. 

“Rockstar”, “Congratulations”, “Jackie Chan”, “I Fall Apart”, “Candy Paint”, “Psycho”, and “Better Now” all start immediately with the chorus, as far as vocals go. 

The easiest way to make your songwriting sound more current and “chart-ready” is to start your track with chorus within the first 15 seconds of the song. 

Don’t let this be an indication that you have to WRITE the chorus as the first part of your writing session as a songwriter from the songwriting techniques perspective…

BUT you should feel free to rearrange the track into a more audience-friendly set-up to improve the chances of it feeling like a hit.

Songwriting Techniques: Verse Catchiness

In the case of songs where he doesn’t start with the chorus… he usually jumps melodies extremely quickly… I’m talking 4 bars MAXIMUM to keep the listener engaged…

On a song like “Wow”… he doesn’t start with the chorus but he jumps around with the melody and flow very often before finally landing on the chorus within the first 38 seconds of the song: 

Said she tired of lil’ money, need a big boy

Pull up twenty inch blades like I’m Lil’ Troy

Now it’s everybody flockin’, need a decoy

Shawty mixin’ up the vodka with the LaCroix, yeah

(STRONG MELODY / FLOW CHANGE) 

G-wagen, G-Wagen, G-Wagen, G-Wagen

All the housewives pullin’ up (up, up, up)

I got a lot of toys

720S bumpin’ Fall Out Boy

(STRONG MELODY / FLOW CHANGE) 

You was talkin’ shit in the beginning (mmh-mmh)

Back when I was feelin’ more forgivin’ (more forgivin’)

I know it piss you off to see me winnin’ (see me win)

See the igloo in my mouth when I be grinnin’ (I be grinnin’), yeah

(CHORUS)

Post Malone, “Wow”, 2018

Similarly, on “Goodbyes”, which doesn’t start with the chorus… he changes the melody within 5 bars of the song starting with the “don’t tell me to shut up” section of verse 1. 

…And even on his more recent single, “Circles”, which doesn’t begin with a chorus… he changes the melody again at bar 5 with the “I couldn’t be there… even when I try” section of verse… 

Now, before we rock into why and how Post Malone changes melodies so much, I want to learn you know that we have just created “The Top 20 Songwriting Secrets of Full-Time Artists”, a free video course where we provide you the cutting edge secrets every full-time musician uses to completely erase writer’s block every time they write, which you can pick up by clicking HERE

The Top 20 Songwriting Secrets of Full-Time Artists
Songwriting Techniques Post Studio
Post Malone switches melodies and flows

3. Frequent Melody Switches

All of the tactics we’ve discussed tie into what is probably the most important tactic Post Malone does more than  any other major pop artist (other than maybe Travis Scott) is switch is melodies EARLY and OFTEN. 

Every single Post Malone “hit” has a brand new melody after every four bars of music, unless it’s a chorus… 

…And depending on the song, he switches the main melody every two bars. 

The first verse of “Better Now” has four bars of the melody used in the first like, “I did not believe that it would end, no…”

But after that he switches into a different melody for the four bars that start with “twenty candles, blow ‘em out and open your eyes”

Before ending the verse with the pre-chorus like, “and I’m rollin’, rollin’, rollin’” section.

In verse two of that song he reiterates the first melody of verse one… 

And then does a brand-new ADDITIONAL melody on the last four bars with “I just wonder what it’s gonna take” section.

Now, “Better Now” also has a bridge section which we’ll cover more in part so be sure to be paying attention to this blog for the update… 

…But for now let’s give one more example of Post’s catchy melodic switches to lock in the point.

In “Congratulations”, he starts the verse with the “they was never friendly” flow / melody and holds onto it for an uncharacteristically long (for him), 8 bars…

Before switching to the “everybody wanna act like they important” long-tailed melody to connect the change in rhythm in the bird… 

And then ending with yet a third melody in just one verse with the “put your lighters in the sky” which serves, much like “Better Now” as kind of a pre-chorus. 

Songwriting Techniques Post Mic
Post uses pre-choruses often as well

CONCLUSION

Let’s review some of the songwriting techniques we’ve learned here today: 

1. Early Introduction of Key Melodies

One of the oldest tricks in the pop songwriting book is to vocally “hint” or “subtly introduce” the main melody of some section of the song within the first few bars of music as Post Malone does on songs like “White Iverson” and “I Fall Apart”. 

2. Chorus-First Mentality

As a general rule, every major Post Malone hit starts with the chorus after a 4-bar intro. 

“Rockstar”, “Congratulations”, “Jackie Chan”, “I Fall Apart”, “Candy Paint”, “Psycho”, and “Better Now” all start immediately with the chorus, as far as vocals go. 

3. Frequent Melody Switches

All of the tactics we’ve discussed tie into what is probably the most important tactic Post Malone does more than  any other major pop artist (other than maybe Travis Scott) is switch is melodies EARLY and OFTEN. 

Every single Post Malone “hit” has a brand new melody after every four bars of music, unless it’s a chorus… 

…And depending on the song, he switches the main melody every two bars. 



Comment Below: 

What do you think is the catchiest Post Malone song?

Drew Morisey, @drewmorisey on Instagram and Twitter

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