That’s hot! How to make a summer hit

Summer demands its own tunes, from J Balvin to the Rhythm Method. Here’s our five-point guide to how to make the biggest track of the season 1. Bring the beat back!
With serotonin vocals and synths that sound like getting a head massage at Glastonbury at 3am, Ariana Grande’s No Tears Left to Cry was already shaping up to be one of the songs of the year. But what makes it a summer smash is that drum pattern. I’m no musicologist, but I think you can roughly describe it as “how it would sound if you glued snares and hi-hats on the wheel of fortune and watched the clicker hit them on the way round”. There’s a similar beat on Drake’s Nice for What – a kind of slowed-down breakbeat that makes you want to turn your speakers to face out of the window so you can pretend your sleepy cul-de-sac is a Brooklyn block party. 2. Call J Balvin’s people!
Latin pop continues to be the most influential sound in the charts, and this summer Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled and Cardi B’s Dinero as well as Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s X are being played on repeat from Ecuador to Elephant and Castle. The trend has made Balvin, Colombia’s biggest reggaeton star, hot property, as more mainstream artists queue up for him to lend some credibility to their tracks. His collaborations on Cardi B’s I Like It and Camilla Cabello and Pitbull’s I Need You, as well as the Beyoncé version of his own hit Mi Gente, are all perfect canciones del verano. His powers are not infinite, though – he couldn’t save Liam Payne’s Familiar, a song that sounds more likely to be played on cassette tape by a year-7 Spanish teacher than a carnival soundsystem. Continue reading...

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