While it may go unnoticed by many who don't like the dance or Top 40 genre, LMFAO is pretty groundbreaking. Why? They're a great example of the marriage of electronic music (their sub-genre is known as "hip house") to a catchy melody and lyrics, which has caused the group to break through in a big way.
As with all song analysis, we'll look at the song form, the arrangement, the sound and the production.
If we look at "Sexy And I Know It" from a pop perspective, the song seems simplistic both form and lyric-wise, but this is a completely different genre so we have to throw that thinking out. All dance and electronic music are built around 4 and 8 bar modules that sometimes work as the traditional verse, chorus, bridge, and then again, sometimes they don't. In this song they do, and that's why it's such a big pop hit. Here's what the form looks like:
Intro, Verse, B Section, Chorus, Verse, B Section, Chorus, Verse, B Section, Chorus
Pretty simple, right. Not exactly. The verse after the 2nd chorus is a hybrid; it's a little bit verse with the song hook ("Sexy and I know it") thrown in. In a way, you could almost call it a bridge, but only from a lyric standpoint since the underlying musical structure doesn't change.
The lyrics are never going to win any awards, but at least the song has some, something that most music from this genre lack.
This song shows that you can have a hit with a minimum number of elements. As with all electronic music, the rhythm is the most important element, but seldom is it so stripped down through the entire song. The song consists of kick drum, the vocal, a repeating synth line, and a very few synth and drum fill elements so it's really down almost as far as it can be and still work.
* The Foundation: Kick drum sample
* The Rhythm: Kick drum, high-hat, and repeating synth line
* The Pad: None
* The Lead: The vocal
* The Fills: Various synth sounds and noises
With electronic music, sound quality is never an issue since noise and distortion can be welcome elements. The most important sound element is the beat, which is driven by the bass drum sound. Since there are so few musical elements, the kick has to be very large to fill the frequency space and this one certainly is. The vocals all have a distorted edge to them, which as said before, it's okay in this type of music and even desired. Everything is dry and in your face except for the repeating synth, which is delayed at the end of song along with the high-hat sound. And of course, it's all compressed to the edge.
Any song that can be interesting with so few elements has to have pretty good production. The song has a great beat for dancing and a hook that will stick in your mind, which is the reason why it's a hit. The two most consistent elements, the bass drum and repeating synth sounds, keep changing with every section and sometimes within the same section. The very subtle entrance of additional elements all keep your attention. That, my friends, is the essence of production.
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