Pleasure Dome - Fishing

from the EP Pleasure Dome (2017)

I am perpetually amazed by the structure of modern dance songs.  They are all basically the same (in a good way).

You start by establishing a beat and a groove.  These are the central elements of the song.  This is what you dance to.  It is a binary function.  It either exists, or not.

Then there are the layers of ornamentation and musical hooks that ride atop the bass and groove.  This is candy for your mind and serves to further entangle you into the beat and groove.  Vocals may, or may not, be included in this.  It does not really matter.

Then there is "the breakdown" in the the arrangement, the point where the beat and groove are removed.  This creates anxiety in the listener (dancer), who continues to move to the now-absent groove with only the ornamentation and hooks to hold the promise that the groove will one day return.

Lastly, there is "the payoff" in the arrangement.  This is when the beat and groove kick back in following the breakdown, often pumped up a bit in the mix.  This removes all anxiety in the listener (dancer) and allows then to exalt in the glory of the groove.

Beat and Groove.  Ornamentation and Hooks.  The Breakdown.  The Payoff.  These are the four levers of every modern dance song.

Listen to Pleasure Dome by Fishering.  It is an excellent dance tune.  Here are the levers:

1.  Introduce Ornamentation and Hooks
2.  Introduce the Beat
3.  Have an initial Breakdown
4.  Have an initial Payoff that includes the introduction of Groove
5.  Vary the combinations of Ornamentation and Hooks over the Beat and Groove
6.  Have a second Breakdown
7.  Have a second Payoff, with the Beat and Groove amplified
8.  Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7.

Of course, the devil is in the details.  Creating a catchy beat and groove.  Selecting the right instrumentation and tone in the Ornamentation and Hooks to accentuate the vibe.  The mix.  Pleasure Dome accomplishes all these things with considerable mastery.

You can play this game with virtually any dance song.

Click Here to listen to Pleasure Dome.

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