Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Video reveals Taylor Swift’s secret tricks for getting ‘Shake it Off’ stuck in your head

Published Jan 20th, 2015 9:30PM EST
Taylor Swift Shake It Off Analysis
Image: Billboard

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Even the haters who hate, hate, hate Taylor Swift may have found themselves singing “Shake It Off” against their wills at one time or another and it turns out there’s a very good reason for this. Dean Olivet, a YouTube user who regularly uses music theory to break down top pop songs, has posted a video breaking down why “Shake It Off” is so annoyingly catchy, and it’s a must-watch for anyone who’s ever wondered how pop songs are crafted.

2015’s FIRST VIRAL VIDEO: Dashboard cam shows cop dancing to Taylor Swift

On its surface, the song is nothing special since it’s in common 4/4 time, which means it has a standard four beats per measure, and is written in the key of G Major, which means it relies on the notes G, A, B, C, D, E and F Sharp as the building blocks for both its melody and harmonic progression. And speaking of harmonic progression, the song mainly uses the exact same three-chord progression — A Minor, C Major, G Major — throughout.

But what makes Swift such a good songwriter, argues Olivet, is that she knows how to put just enough spicy dissonance and other surprises into her tunes to keep the listener slightly on edge without being overly complicated. For instance, he notes that Swift ends the second line of the song’s verses on a B, which is a very dissonant interval from the C that’s being played on the saxophone in the song’s accompaniment.

At any rate, music theory jargon alone won’t help you understand exactly how the song works, which is why you should just watch the whole video below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.