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Chart Beat Podcast: Hit Songs Deconstructed Analyzes Drake & Selena Gomez Smashes

Songwriting specialists Dave and Yael Penn of Hit Songs Deconstructed look at the many factors behind the success of "Hotline Bling," "Same Old Love" & more.

Want to write a hit song? This week’s Chart Beat Podcast might teach you how.

On the third episode of Billboard‘s newest podcast, host and Billboard co-director of charts Gary Trust chats with Dave and Yael Penn, who created Hit Songs Deconstructed, which analyzes the characteristics of songs that soar to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

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“If you want to be at the top of the Billboard charts, you need to think about your audience,” says Dave. “How do you write a song that connects with both the artist and the intended audience? There’s a method to doing it, [even if] it’s an exceptionally creative process.”

The aptly named Penns (in addition to offering free advice on how married couples can best work together) break down three recent huge hits: Drake‘s “Hotline Bling,” Selena Gomez‘s “Same Old Love” and Adele‘s “Hello.” Hear, in great detail, what helped make the songs so successful, with the first two driven by combinations of retro and modern sounds and production, while “Hello” is a “great example of a song that didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles,” says Dave, “because what are people listening to it for? It’s the voice.”

Overall, says Yael Penn, of Hit Songs Deconstructed since its 2011 founding, “We’re saving the industry a ton of time and research by putting this all at your fingertips. We’ve gotten very positive feedback.”

Ultimately, adds Dave, “The secrets to hit songwriting reside in the hits themselves.”

Previous episodes:
 Chart Beat Podcast: Chart Beat Founder Paul Grein on Why We Love the Charts
Chart Beat Podcast: Fred Bronson on His ‘Billboard Book of Number One Hits’ & Why ‘American Idol’ Will Be Back

Enjoy this week’s Chart Beat Podcast and stay tuned for upcoming discussions with record label executives, radio programmers, songwriters and more, all with the goal of analyzing the many factors that go into making songs and albums Billboard chart hits.