"Scars to Your Beautiful," performed by Alessia Cara / by Patrick Shea

Performer: "Scars to Your Beautiful" is currently #12 on the Hot 100. Cara's highest charting single to date is "Here," off of the same album, which peaked at #5 about a year ago.

Writers: Alessia Caracciolo, Warren Felder, Coleridge Tillman, Andrew Wansel; produced by Pop & Oak, Sebastian Kole

Title: A phrase that states the main idea of the song in a slightly cryptic/poetic way that invites the lister in for more.

BPM: 97

Length: 3:50

Structure: Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus

Purpose (think/dance/vibe/sing-along): think, sing-along

1) I added a new classification to the above header called "Purpose," which will help me think about what the song is hoping to achieve, so I can address the song on its own terms rather than the lyrics-heavy approach I have taken so far. Lyrics are the thing I tend to attach myself to most in a song, but lyrics are secondary in a lot of applications, and may be an obstruction in other applications. For example, lyrics do not make people want to dance, and lyrics may even get in the way of dancing if they make people emotional or cerebral in a way that distracts from being physical. But dance music has its own set of qualities that can succeed or fail at making us dance, and I want to be able to think more closely about those attributes in those situations, and leave the bad lyrics alone.

2) However, I might add (and I'll try not to harp on this), when one has six or twelve writers on a song, maybe one or two of those writers could be good with lyrics. To begin with, I am actually distracted from dancing by bad lyrics; bad lyrics nag at me and ruin my fun, and I'm sure there are others like me out there who just want to dance but can't dance because they are thinking about a confusing lyric. Also, there is not a doubt in my mind that dance songs with good or great lyrics (such as Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off") will endure the test of time much better than those with bad or terrible lyrics. A good lyric just gives us one more thing to attach ourselves to in the long run.

3) "Scars to Your Beautiful," has many strengths as both a think song and a sing-along. To begin with, thinking and singing along are purposes that very much support each other. Singing along helps the listener think about the content, and understanding the content helps the listener sing along. Also, literary elements such as assonance (She goes un-NO-ticed, she kNOws NO limits / She cr-A-ves attention, she pr-AI-ses an image), help us hear each word clearly the first time though, and therefore support an understanding of the content while also helping us memorize the lyrics more quickly so we can sing along the next time through. The song also has excellent prosody, with the natural stresses of each word aligning with the stresses in the musical elements of the song. Good prosody supports meaning and memorization in the same ways discussed above. I'm also fond of the call-and-response bridge, the oh oh ohs in the chorus, and the shout-along "beautiful"s in the chorus as means to get listeners singing, memorizing, and then thinking about the words (and ideas) of the song.

4) The song uses a time-tested and well-proven structure to support meaning. We have a main idea in the chorus ("you're beautiful just the way you are"), with supporting ideas in each verse that develop the main idea (you don't need plastic surgery; you don't need to starve yourself), and then a bridge to drive it home from a slightly different angle ("no better you" than you; "no better time" than now). The bridge really won me over personally, because it reminds me of Mr. Rogers. I think the structure is well-utilized here to support thinking and singing along.