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Song Analysis – Jay Z – “Holy Grail” ft. Justin Timberlake

Song Analysis – Jay Z – “Holy Grail” ft. Justin Timberlake

Writers – Justin Timberlake, Shawn Carter, Terius “The Dream” Nash, Timothy Mosley, Jerome Harmon, Ernest Wilson, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic
Producer – The Dream, Timbaland, Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon, No I.D.
BPM: 72

But I still don’t know why, why I love it so much.

This song is a great example of a lot of really effective rhythmic contrasts while still keeping a melodic hook, both vocally and instrumentally, that keeps your interest throughout the whole song.

The most obvious and effective hook is Justin’s Chorus where he sings

And baby, it’s amazing Im in this maze with you
I just can’t crack your code
One day you screaming me love you loud
The next day you’re so cold
One day you’re heree, one day you’re there
one day you care
You’re so unfair, sipping from your cup til it runneth over Holy Grail

Right from the beginning, it just grabs you and forces you to listen to the rest of what the song is about. And what is the song about?

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What Makes The Song So Great – Justin Timberlake Mirrors

Justin Timberlake – Mirrors

Produced by Timbaland
Written by Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Jerome Harmon, James Fauntleroy
BPM 74

First off, I just wanna say that I didn’t like this song the first time I heard it. Or the first 100 times I heard it. But alas, the Top 40 effect of hearing something a million times and it started growing on me. Then I watched the video. And Im like “What is this video about?” And Im reading about the meaning of it and Im like, “Oh wow, that’s awesome!” The video is a tribute to his grandparent’s relationship and to his grandfather, who due to an illness, passed away before his wedding.

Beat  – Classic Timbaland. He makes such a  good use of that lip trill sound as part of the actual beat itself. And the orchestra arrangement does a really good job of filling out the track, making it really sound warm and epic at the same time. Pulling off enough musical tricks for 8 minutes is a hard trick usually reserved for prog bands and Kanye West. But Timba gives us enough ear candy to last us through. The basic drum pattern is so simple, but what really carries is the Timbalake hi hat pattern. Pay attention to it. It goes 123 123 123 and really makes a person move.  That part where he says you are the love of my life after the 3rd hook is awesome ! The synths

Lyrics –  Mirrors. This song is about realizing true love. And being grateful for it.


If you ever feel alone and
The glare makes me hard to find
Just know that I’m always
Parallel on the other side


You are the love of my life

Are my two favorite verses in the whole song. Basically he’s saying you’re so much like me that whatever happens it’s gonna be ok. Songs that are the “first person to the loved one” type are always the most successful. And this song is no exception.

What I Learned From This Song – Songs that are in “first person to another person ” will always be the easiest ones to emotionally . I think what makes the video really inspirational is that everyone wants to believe love will always last. And plus you always gotta give props to your grandparents.

What pop songs are you listening to these days?


Filed under SongWriting