Performer: Charli XCX's biggest hit to date is "Boom Clap," which peaked at #8 on the Hot 100. "After the Afterparty" has not yet charted.
Writers: Charlotte Aitchison, Eyelar Mirzazadeh, Mikkel Eriksen, Miles McCollum, Rachel Keen, Samuel Long, Tor Hermansen; produced by Stargate, FRED, Sophie, AG Cook
Title: A phrase that communicates the main idea of the song.
Structure: Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge A / Bridge B / Chorus
Purpose (think/dance/vibe/sing-along): song-along, vibe, dance
1) "After the Afterparty" is the catchiest song I've heard so far this year. Many elements work together to make this song extremely sing-alongable. First and foremost, the lyrics are extremely tight (with a few exceptions). The syllabic stresses of the lyric are natural and in line with the rhythmic stress of the music. We have internal rhymes every which way, stacked alongside abundant alliteration and assonance (ha!). This combination of craft elements make for a lyric that is not only easy to hear, but also easy to remember, so as to sing along the next time through. The arrangement supports this objective by leaving lots of space for the lyric, while still propping up the lyric rhythm with strong accents in the beats. Finally, Charli XCX built the arrangement around a series of hand claps, which aren't sing-along material exactly, but still encourage participation in the part of the listener.
2) Charli XCX gives her listeners every possible opportunity to chant and shout. Nonsense sounds like "uh, huh, hey!" coupled with fast and rhythmic passages like "Monday to Sunday, it's never too late" and clear cues to shout such as "So everyone say, 'We don't wanna stop!" Make for an exceptionally singable prechorus. The verses are peppered with memorable lines about glitter in underwear and such, that are singable because they are unique and sort of fun images. We even get a participatory cue to clink glasses in the form of an unspoken word replaced by a sound effect.
3) What tells a listener to sing along better than crowds of voices already singing along in the recording itself? Who cares that in this case we're hearing large crowds of Charli XCXs singing in the recording. The effect remains the same. In the chorus, we hear a big contrast between a singular voice at the start, and crowds of voices joining in later; and I think both halves of that contrast equally cue the listener to sing along. Hearing them together, we want to sing the solitary, intimate lines every bit as much as we want to sing the triumphant group chorus.
4) The rhythm and melody of the vocal line are beautifully aligned in the chorus, which make this a really fun song to sing, or hum, or whatever else. Thinking about the long and short syllables of each phrase like Morse code; we can look at the first four phrases of the chorus like this:
. . . . . _ . / . . . . . _ . / . . . . . _ / . . . . . _
In the first three of these four phrases, the long syllable corresponds to the lowest pitch or the highest pitch of the section as a whole. So we have the effect of bouncing around in the middle ground until we hit the floor or ceiling, where we linger for just a bit before bouncing around some more. In the fourth phrase, we don't resolve up to that highest pitch; we wait to get that resolution at the end of the chorus.