Last year, singer-songwriter Owen Pallett wrote a handful of columns for Slate explaining pop music in music theory terms. It was great! And something that a lot of us mediocre-ass music writers are incapable of expressing with expertise and confidence. (Plus, the masses understand music on a more primal level and — okay this is a column for some other day.)
But those columns ended. Luckily, German radio network 1Live has commissioned pianist and composer Chilly Gonzales (most famous for his work on Feist’s “Gatekeeper,” “Limit to Your Love” and more) to do something really similar. Here, he breaks down the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” one of the biggest pop hits of the summer that even detached mechanical men like Tom Cruise have been inclined to mine it for viral points. But what makes this song so viral, Chilly?