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The Millennial Whoop

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 29, 2016

Patrick Metzger noticed that a huge number of pop songs from the past few years use a musical trope that Metzger has dubbed The Millennial Whoop. The video above contains a number of examples. Warning: once you hear it, you will perhaps not be able to enjoy listening to pop music without noticing it.1

I like to call this melodic snippet the “Millennial Whoop.” It’s a sequence of notes that alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth. The rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, but it may start on the downbeat or on the upbeat in different songs. A singer usually belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern. And it is in so many pop songs it’s criminal.

Some prominent Millennial Whoop songs include Katy Perry’s California Gurls, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Good Time, and even The Mother We Share by Chvrches.

  1. I first read about the Wilhelm Scream many years ago and now I hear it in every single action movie I see. It’s distracting as shit. See also Hitchcock’s distracting cameos.

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