Following Zeitgeists

‘Shape of you’ by Ed Sheeran used this hook that some call ‘3-3-2’, it’s syncopated and features heavily in the song. The track is a massive hit with colossal streaming figures and gargantuan radio play to the point where it was hard to avoid.

I’m going to be honest, I’m not a fan of the track at all, the lyrics especially irk me and the fact I heard it ad infinitum and involuntarily really made me start to dislike it heavily.

What was an even more irritating after effect was what I call a case of following the zeitgeist. Producers around the world saw the success of this track, so what did they decide to do? Write songs using the 3-3-2 rhythm. I remember a radio station in France that played track after track with this rhythm to the point my ears were so fatigued, I asked the person driving to switch it off, but beside my irritation, there’s more to consider here.

Seeing something that is successful and plagiarising the formula that was responsible for it’s success may bring you success as well, but it could very likely be short term thinking and a soulless chase for approval. This is not the same as being influenced by something.

Is it not better to follow your own tuning fork? Even if it isn’t considered trendy at the time. It may lead to more innovation.

Either way, whatever you choose to do creatively, I’d like to think that we are steered by reasons that are more authentic and aspirational than simply following a zeitgeist.

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