People have been replacing actual lyrics with "whoa-oo-ohs" for as long as there have been songs. It's often catchy, but it's also just the easiest way to escape the need to write actually meaningful lyrics. Recently, however, it's gotten a bit out of control, as the following supercut proves. This five-minute video by editor Joseph Rubino cobbles together 60 mostly recent instances of the phenomenon and proves beyond a doubt that pop music all sounds the same — and it's getting worse.
The "woah-oo-oh" is just one example of how formulaic pop music has gotten. Industry insiders know that people are naturally drawn to art and music that's familiar, and they know listeners can stomach a surprising amount of the same before they demand something new. The best way to ensure a hit is to just recycle old techniques in new formats and hope that people don't catch on.
Last year, for instance, the big trend was the wonky horn sample and provocative one or two word repeated chorus (Think: Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" and "Wiggle"; Macklemore's "Thrift Shop"; and Ariana Grande's "Problem"). The quiet-shouted "hey-hey-hey" emphasizing quarter notes is also a big trend, appearing in Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," Katy Perry's "Dark Horse," Tinashe's "2 On," and Kid Ink's "Show Me."
The "whoa-oo-oh" is like the king of the pop tricks. It's one of the least offensive ones, though, even though it shows just how deeply engrained unoriginality is in our commercial music. Some of these songs are actually great — Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," Japandroids' "The House That Heaven Built" and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" are all classics. It works in all those instances, and in several others, too. But it's precisely because the tactic works so well that it's being overused and abused by the Maroon 5s of the world.
The tricks only work if you don't catch them, though. Stay aware of what you're listening to, and remember: Sometimes a whoa-oo-oh is just pop music's way of cheating you out of a meaningful lyric.
h/t Daily Dot