What do the winning songs from the 2022 Billboard Music Awards have in common?
Hit Songs Deconstructed, which provides songwriting analyzes for the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 hits, analyzed the key sonic characteristics of songs that went from songwriting to crowning glory at this year’s BBMAs, held on May 15. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Here are five takeaways from Hit Songs Deconstructed’s research, offering insight into what can make a song a Billboard Music Award winner.
Notably, Hit Songs Deconstructed’s analysis covers the nine Hot 100 top 10s among the 11 songs that earned honors in 16 BBMA song categories:
- “Stay”, The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber: Best Hot 100 Song, Best Streaming Song, Best Collaboration, Top Billboard Global 200 Song, Top Billboard Global 200 Song (except US)
- “Levitation”, Dua Lipa: Best Radio Song
- “Butter”, BTS: best-selling song
- “Kiss Me More”, Doja Cat feat. SZA: Best Viral Song
- “Fancy Like”, Walker Hayes: Best Country Song
- “Industry Baby”, Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow: best rap song
- “Leave the Door Open”, Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak): Best R&B Song
- “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”, Elton John & Dua Lipa: Top Dance/Electronic Song
- “Hurricane”, Ye: Best Christian Song, Best Gospel Song
(“Beggin'” by Måneskin, which won the Top Rock Song, and “Telepatía” by Kali Uchis, the recipient of the Top Latin Song, reached numbers 13 and 25 respectively on the Hot 100.)
Pop’s sweep: Each of the nine Hot 100 top 10 hits reflects a pop influence. Six have a hip-hop influence and five have an R&B/soul and/or 1970s retro influence.
Synth synonymous with victory: Eight of the nine top 10s above feature synth and/or synthetic bass, all except Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open.”
The second most popular instrument among the winners is the electric guitar, heard in six of the nine songs.
Love is loved: This year’s BBMAs host and executive producer Diddy said in his opening monologue, “We’re back outside without a mask. We need love, and I’m excited to celebrate that.
Fittingly, the most popular lyrical theme among the nine top 10 winners of the Hot 100 of 2022 is love/relationships, which plays out in seven. Lifestyle ranks second in frequency (three), followed by bragging and connection (two each). Inspiration/empowerment is key to Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow’s “Industry Baby,” and religion and soul-searching are central to Ye’s “Hurricane.”
Name (in) this tune: “Hurricane” is also atypical among this year’s BBMA winners as the only top 10 to not include its title in its lyrics.
Conversely, three songs present their titles 11 to 15 times each: The Kid LAROI and “Stay” by Justin Bieber, “Levitating” by Dua Lipa and “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic.
Verses versus chorus: Five of the nine Hot 100 top 10s above each arrive at their first chorus in just 20 to 39 seconds. “Stay” wastes almost no time, starting with its first chorus after a second.
Meanwhile, “Leave the Door Open” takes 53 seconds, or 22% of the way into the song, and Elton John and Lipa’s “Cold Heart” waits 49 seconds, or 25% in.