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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mt Holyoke chapter.

I listen to music basically all the time. I love listening to new ways that artists use sounds and tropes within their music. Sometimes it’s a trope that is used very frequently, but every time I hear it, I still love it. Or it’s a lesser-used trope that makes me love the song more because it has that unconventional trope in it. I’ve decided to gather all my favorite tropes in music together and recommend some songs with these tropes in them. 

A beat of silence / All instruments fade and only the singer is heard

This is a trope that may be overused, but I still eat it up every time I hear it. The fading out of the instruments just to focus on the singer’s voice can be so moving. I can’t really explain why I love it so much. It just makes me feel like I have to pay attention to what I’m listening to and be present for the music. One song that has this trope is “My Brother” by MisterWives, and sometimes I go back to this song just for those few beats of silence. 


Now I don’t mean laughter like at the end of the Hannah Montana theme song. I mean when the song actually incorporates laughing into the lyrics of the song. I feel like it adds another layer of meaning to the lyrics. It’s also a nice surprise as it’s a trope that’s not frequently used. Two songs that I love with laughter in them are “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz and “Tangerine” by Glass Animals.

When instruments ‘Talk’ to each other

This trope is more easily heard in songs without vocals, but I love it with or without a singer’s voice. I feel as though hearing the instruments respond to each other gives the song more depth and makes it an interesting aspect to focus on. One song that I think does this really well is “Ladyfingers” by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. You may have heard a lofi version of this song going around on TikTok but the original is so captivating.

If you enjoy any of these tropes, hopefully you’ve found a new song to check out. Happy listening!

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Michaela Phelan

Mt Holyoke '22

I am an international relations and economics double major who just likes movies, books, and music!