"Can't Stop the Feeling," performed by Justin Timberlake / by Patrick Shea

Performer: "Can't Stop the Feeling" spent a week at #1 on the Hot 100; it is currently #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Justin Timberlake has had three other songs hit #1 on the Hot 100.

Writers: Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback.

Title: A phrase, which is unusual for recent hits. Most tracks at #1 on the Hot 100 in 2016 had one-word or two-word titles.

BPM: 113, which is within the range for 2016 #1 hits, but at the fast end of the range.

Length: 3:56, which is at the long end of the range for 2016 hits.

Structure: Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Breakdown / Chorus

Points of Interest:

1) "Nothing I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance." A fantastic match between natural syllabic stress of each word and the natural rhythmic stress of the music. Not only does the line sound natural and clear, but the important words in the phrase are emphasized. In the first measure, the stressed syllables (NO-thing, I, SEE, YOU) anticipate the beat slightly for a cool syncopated feel. In the second measure, the stressed syllables (DANCE, DANCE, DANCE), hit right on beats one, two, and three; contrasting with the syncopation of the previous measure, and throwing a spotlight on those very important words. The lyric is pretty impeccable throughout in terms of syllabic stress, which is unusual in recent pop songs. In "Can't Stop the Feeling," even a monster five syllable word like "phenomenally," is perfectly stressed, and perfectly clear to the listener.

2) The lyric frequently anticipates the title in the verse and prechorus: "I got...," "I got that...," "Got that...," "I feel that...," "I can't...," all prepare us for the explosion of "I can't stop the feeling." The lyric also showcases some great internal rhymes and assonance in situations such as "off it...lock the...rock it." Craft!

3) This song is like 90% prechorus/chorus, which repeats three full times, plus a chorus breakdown. And it's a (beautifully written) long, wordy chorus at that. So the verse really serves as punctuation between choruses. This kind of structure is pretty typical for contemporary pop, but this feels like an exceptional example because the prechorus/chorus section is so long. It feels like an inversion of a story song structure (think "Born to Run"), where the chorus punctuates (and focuses) the much longer and wordier verse sections.

4) Most of the instrumentation, including the bass, is on a reverse decay, often with a heavy delay filling the space after the note proper (where the natural decay would usually be). The whole effect snaps you into the beat and bounces you out of it.