Song Breakdown: What Makes the Chorus in “A Little Bit Yours” by JP Saxe so Satisfying

The first time I heard “A Little Bit Yours”, I was instantly hooked. JP Saxe has a way of creating subtle but hooky riffs, punch-in-the-gut lyrics and killer melodies. This Chorus in particular feels very satisfying in both the beginning of the Chorus and the payoff line. It seems like a simple song on the surface, but once I started poking around, I realized how many techniques he used to lead to his great Chorus.

There are many ways of creating contrast in songs, and if a song is calling for a conflict in the Verse and resolution in the Chorus, creating tension and release is a solid direction to go. In “A Little Bit Yours”, Saxe uses several different ways to create tension in his Verses, starting with a chord that isn’t the tonic. In this case, he uses the ii or II- chord. Listen to the first chord in “A Little Bit Yours”.

The next thing he does is something very common in many singer/songwriter or bedroom/pop genres, which is starting the line before the first beat of the bar. We can tell because the last word of the bar lands on the first beat of his chord pattern.

You found someone new, before me
And you didn’t try nearly as hard

He continues to do this throughout his song, lending to a very choppy melodic rhythm throughout the Verses. This is also quite common in popular songs right now, sounding a lot more like he’s talking than singing. This is especially clear in his third line, which doesn’t follow any melodic pattern at all and is very unexpected.

You found someone new, before me
And you didn’t try nearly as hard
And maybe that’s the problem,
I don’t know how to take it away from you
Without giving someone else my heart

This interjected third line results in throwing off the balance of both the melodic pattern and the entire Verse. Now the Verse is five lines, and the odd number of lines create more tension that hasn’t resolved. 

His rhyme scheme is interesting, too. Saxe rhymes “hard” and “heart” at the same place, but where “new” might have a rhyme, the word “know” is replaced instead. It later rhymes with “you”, but the delayed timing of the rhyme also creates tension.

You found someone new, before me
And maybe that’s the problem, I don’t know 
How to take it away from you

In the Pre-Chorus, the last line doesn’t rhyme with anything at all, leaving a feeling of wanting more. At this point, we definitely feel ready for the Chorus.

All I do
Is get over you
And I’m still so bad at it

The Chorus gives us the release after all that tension created from the Verse and the Pre-Chorus. The first thing we notice is how much the words and melody are evenly spaced out. They repeat in exactly the same rhythm and mostly line up with the beats. This in itself is quite satisfying and the repetition is catchy.

The rhyme scheme in the Chorus also changes. Where in the Verse it was sort of an ABAB pattern (with an interjected third line), the Chorus is a solid AA, BB, CC, etc. (If you’re not sure what a rhyme scheme is, check out this great article.)

I let myself want you, I let myself try
I let myself fall back into your eyes
I let myself want you, I let myself hope
I let myself feel things I know that you don’t

This immediate resolution of rhymes feels very stable. The length of the lines are the same and all the rhymes match up in the same position in each line. There are six lines in the Chorus, and even numbers tend to feel stable. When we reach the payoff line, he gives us an almost perfect rhyme to match it:

You’re not mine anymore
But I’m still a little bit yours

This perfect rhyme, along with the tension/release lead-up really helps the title of the song stand out. Even though the Chorus does not start or end with a tonic chord, it overall still feels satisfying. In fact, by not ending on the tonic chord and feeling completely resolved, it expresses the emotion of his lyrics. The character is still hanging on to that love even after understanding their resolution, and so the Chorus keeps us hanging on with that last chord.

“A Little Bit Yours” is a great song, and by creating a tension/release throughout the sections, he keeps the listeners hooked. Using these little techniques to communicate the emotion helps us feel the experience the character in the song is singing about, as well as giving us a Chorus that hits hard every time we hear it.

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