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 After listening to Beyonce’s new single “Girls (Who Run the World),” questions rang out on whether or not the song would be a hit. But before we could officially weigh in, we couldn’t help but remember that there were some people who questioned whether “Single Ladies” was a winner or not … and we all know how that turned out. So, the question remains: What makes a hit record?

Well, sticking with Beyonce singles as a point of reference, there’s a great chance the diva’s new track will grow on us (assuming it wasn’t love at first listen), just as “Single Ladies” grew on millions of people across the globe, because let’s face it, we’re going to hear it (and eventually see it) repeatedly for the next year and beyond.

So is repetition the key? And if so, can we blame the redundant lyrics of let’s say, “Single Ladies” or John Lennon’s “Imagine” for making us fall in love with these tracks? Or is it more about how often we’ll have to hear these songs on the radio, television commercials, talk shows and movies? Are we brainwashed to love a brilliantly-crafted hit, regardless of its actual virtue?

There’s no quick or simple answer to that question, but the argument that over-exposure is the issue is extremely valid. Some might argue that the simplicity of a song’s lyrics and hook make it easier for the masses to accept and appreciate it. The less we have to remember, the better the chance babies and grandmothers alike will be singing along to the tune. The simplicity and repetition in lyrics have made some of the most recent pop hits nothing more than simple chants if you were to strip away the beat and popular stars singing them.

And what about the beat? The average contemporary hit is produced by someone with a history of making hits, making that person the essential piece in the formula. So, it’s safe to say betting on a particular producer is part of the science of creating a gem. Take production team Stargate for example. The Norwegian-bred duo (in the above picture) ― comprised of Mikkel Storleer Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen ― are responsible for 32 songs that landed in the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 from 1999 to 2011.

What does this mean? Let’s break down the stats: Hermansen and Eriksen’s first 12 charting hits were all by non-U.S.-based artists and the duo had never worked with the same artist twice ― with the exception of the two tracks produced for UK group S Club 7 ― until crossing over in 2006 when they worked on Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” The team would go on to produce a slew of hits for the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce and Katy Perry once word spread that Stargate could A) cater to an artist’s sound and produce a hit and B) create a sound for an artist and run with it. It should come as no surprise that nowadays Stargate rarely creates just one jewel for the superstars, who know that putting more chips on the table is the best way to gamble.

Above: Production team Stargate.

Speaking of production, it’s not yet clear if Diplo (pictured above) and Switch ― known together as Major Lazer ― actually produced Beyonce’s “Girls” or if the duo’s “Pon de Floor” sample was picked up by another producer, but either way it’ll be interesting to see if the pop/R&B diva will be credited for making dubstep (more) mainstream via her new track. Beyonce’s hubby Jay-Z has some experience with this. In 2006, Jay jumped on the Panjabi MC’s “Beware of the Boys,” which catapulted the British MC’s career, while allowing Jay to take credit for bringing the bhangra hip-hop to the forefront. Only time will tell what affect Bey’s new track will have on the dubstep movement, which some might say is already extinct.

Well, with part of the formula exposed, it’s pretty clear that (in the pop world, at least) a hit is meant to be a hit before you decide if you like it or not. So, next time you ask yourself why you just can’t get that Lady Gaga song out of your head, remember this: It was born that way.

Above: Producer Diplo.

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