Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2009

Just Dance by Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga delivers a hot fun campy trip that grabs and keeps the dancer and dance music listener from start to finish.

Song: Just Dance
Artist: Lady Gaga
Album: The Fame
Songwriter: Lady Gaga, RedOne, Akon
Producer: RedOne

A classic dance-pop record for those dancing while intoxicated or wish they were.

The hedonistic lyrics one expects in the dance scene. The feeling of being out there on the dance floor having had one too many drinks and the attitude to go with it is fully expressed. I've had a little bit too much All of the people start to rush. Start to rush babe. How does he twist the dance? Can't find my drink or man. Where are my keys, I lost my phone. What's going out on the floor? I love this record baby, but I can't see straight anymore. Keep it cool what's the name of this club? I can't remember but it's alright, alright. [Chorus:] Just dance. Gunna be okay. Da-doo-doo-doo Just dance. Spin that record babe. Da-doo-doo-doo Just dance. Gunna be okay. Duh-duh-duh-duh Dance. Dance. Dance. Ju-just dance.

A hip contemporary dance groove based on a heavy quarter note feel with a few overlaid 8th notes that support the 16th-note double-time phrasing in the vocals. As in many dance and rap recordings, the rhythmic textures fade in and out with starts, stops and jerks, all for the provocation and fun of dance movement.

Set in a classic dance style minor key, the record has much more of a riff-after-riff construction than any memorable melody. The hook "just dance" is only a small minor third interval, but enough for dancers to sing along with.

Not much harmony to speak of, mostly alternating between the i and bVII chords.

Many sections repeat in ways that are expected, yet with enough surprise not to become too formulaic. Sig A B C A B C D C breakdown C Sig Signature verse pre-chorus chorus verse pre-chorus chorus bridge chorus breakdown chorus signature

An electronic synth figure that signals to the dancers to get on the floor right away.

All the electronic bells and whistles one looks for in a dance-pop record are here with the in-and-out textures and sound hooks that dancers like.

Gaga knows how to camp it up in the Donna Summer meets Madonna meets Gwen Stephani tradition. She sings a tongue-in-cheek parody of classic dance recordings. The video is a hoot.

Predicted Longevity
A standout in 2009, Just Dance is this year's version of a classic dance hit recording. Not one to be covered by many performers or sung in any hit parades, this is a genre hit that could stay around for a while.

Album Cover: The Fame

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