SMT-V: The Society for Music Theory Videocast Journal

SMT-V is the open-access, peer-reviewed video journal of the Society for Music Theory. Founded in 2014, SMT-V publishes video essays that showcase research in music theory in a dynamic, audiovisual format, presented so as to have the potential to engage both specialists within the field as well as interested viewers outside the music theory community. The journal features a supportive and collaborative production process, and publishes several videos each year. Read more about SMT-V here.

Latest Issue: 7.6 (October 2021)

“Oops!… I Did It Again”: The Complement Chorus in Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, and *NSYNC

Megan Lavengood (George Mason University)


Link to notes

A distinctive feature of a several turn-of-the-millennium singles performed by the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and Britney Spears is the presence of the “complement chorus,” a special, third appearance of chorus that appears after the bridge. The complement chorus brandishes a new melodic line with a distinct rhythmic profile, allowing for a high-energy climax rather than a mere restatement of the chorus, as it imbues the now-familiar chorus melody with new vigor. Complement choruses seem to have been a trick used exclusively by the producer Max Martin and his associates during the years 1998–2000, making them a distinctly Y2K phenomenon.

Keywords: pop music, post-millennial pop music, Max Martin, boy bands, musical form


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