Weekly Billboard Theory — iSpy
It’s always weird when you stumble across an artist before they break into the mainstream. Kyle was just this rapper with a super interesting voice that I came across one day while scanning through Soundcloud. I listened to his one song a whole lot. So yeah, it’s pretty cool that he’s “hit the big time” now with a top 5 song on the Billboard. What do I think of it? Eh, it could be worse.
Kyle feat. Lil Yachty
Key: C Major
Tempo: 75 BPM
I’ll be honest, this will probably be pretty quick as I have written about a lot of what this song features in weeks prior. The majority of “iSpy” consists of a simple piano melody that repeats over and over again. There is some variety in it with a heavy kick drum pattern during the choruses but the progression stays the same throughout the song. I find this gets boring pretty fast. However, if I were a radio DJ I would find this song to serve a very practical function. Since there is no differentiating between the music of the chorus and verse it is very easy to cut and chop up the song in a mix. You wouldn’t want to skip the bridge in a song that actually has one, but it’s pretty easy to sacrifice a verse later in a song that would normally be forgotten anyway.
But yeah, how does this song relate to past weeks? The piano melody that repeats over and over again is a little unsatisfying. Similar to “I Feel It Coming”, the melody utilizes more than just the pentatonic scale and plays the leading tone. Unlike “I Feel It Coming,” the melody never resolves to the tonic. As a result of this, you’re stuck feeling like Andy. The kick drum that comes during the chorus is consistant and not random, unlike “Tunnel Vision.” Again, the entire song repeats over and over and over just like “Black Beatles.” I think the most interesting aspect of this song is actually how it’s sung, just like “I Don’t Want To Live Forever.”
If you’re aware of Lil Yachty, you’ll probably know that he isn’t really known for his lyrical prowess. There’s some ridiiiiculous lines in his verse that I won’t write out because my mom might read this. Despite this, he comes up with some good melodic lines (if you can call them that). I’m not really going to bother transcribing the melody because the autotune would make it pretty difficult but there’s a pretty simple technique that you can use in your own songwriting endeavors that can be found in Lil Yachty’s verse.
Basically, Lil Yachty’s verse starts at 2:21 with pretty low pitched rapping. Again, the entire thing is autotuned for an ~aesthetic~ rather than to sound like he’s actually singing. He raps some very questionable “rhymes” before upping the energy at 2:45. The important part of the autotune comes into effect here because it’s clear that he is “singing” up the octave. Also, the kick drums come in to add to the intensity. This is a really easy way to build up a song, starting with a simple, low energy idea and taking it up the octave as the song progresses. It’s a bit dated now but “Best Of Me” by The Starting Line is a perfect example of this idea.
Honestly, that’s kind of all I have for this song. There’s nothing super new to look at when compared to the hits of the past weeks. Think of this as spring break because holy cow I could definitely use it. Looking towards next week: Ed Sheeran is still at number one. STILL! But there’s a new contender in second place with King Kendrick and his new release, “Humble.” Haven’t listen to it yet but Mr. Lamar is kind of unstoppable. Rest up. See ya next week!