Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2000

Say My Name by Destiny's Child

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Destiny Child's cleverly conceived, written and produced dance hit blazes its way to the charts carving out new territory in pop and dance recordings.

Song: Say My Name
Artist: Destiny's Child
Album: The Writing's On The Wall
Songwriter: Rodney Jerkins
Producer: Rodney Jerkins
B00000JQFH

Concept
Singer suspects her boyfriend is seeing someone else and confronts him over the phone daring him to say her name.

Lyric
Strong story lyric about how her boyfriend is not treating her lovingly over the phone like he customarily does. She suspects he is not alone and not at liberty to talk to her romantically. She dares him to prove he is not with someone else and he just stammers. Good imagery. “Baby, I would call, you would say, how's your day. But today, it's not the same. Every other word is Uh-huh or OK

Groove
This innovative groove is complex and layered in three textures. It starts off with a full 8th note feel used a foundation for overlaid 16ths, a half-time hybrid groove. At the slow BPM of 72 this gives the track a sound reminiscent of 70s rock and R&B. However, when the song arrives at the pre-hook, the drums add a layer of hyper-fast 32nd notes as one often hears in jungle music tracks which is now a feature in some of the new R&B dance styles. The vocals likewise alternate between 8th note phrasing and unusual 32nd note passages. This is especially heard in the pre-hook where it sounds like someone turned the tape recorder to twice as fast.

Melody
The melody is sung mostly in the minor pentatonic scale with an occasional flatted 6th tone and one 9th tone above the octave. It is very hooky, riffy and repetitive. The most distinctive part of the melody is the huge phrasing contrast between sections.

Harmony
Say My Name is built on a 5 chord loop (i bVI iv bVII V7) that is constant throughout the song. The only change is a doubling of the harmonic rhythm in the pre-hook section.

Structure
Three-part song form with chorus verse and pre-hook repeated. C A B C A B C breakdown (with rap) C.

Signature
No signature, only a vocal riff repeating the chorus hook.

Production
A Rodney Jerkins production that evolves the innovative style he used in Destiny's earlier hit “Bills, Bills Bills”.

Performance
Beyonce as lead signer shows why she went on to have such a successful solo career. Her expressive voice bristles with edge and emotion.

Predicted Longevity
This recording was a number one hit for several weeks and has the elements to stay around as a genre hit for several years. It will be remembered as an important cut from 2000, but probably will not be a classic song that will see many, if any, covers.

Album Cover: The Writing's On The Wall

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