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We've Uncovered the Formula for Having a Hit Song in 2013

Phoenix, MGMT, Le Youth, and Fryars have all utilized the formula. It's pretty complicated.

Guys. I've solved the solution to the question that's been praying on everyone's minds, “How to make a great indie-pop song for 2013.” I know there are a lot of bands out there wondering. Well the solution is this: Put the word “cool” in the title and talk about being cool, like, a lot. E-A-S-Y.

1. Phoenix – “Trying to Be Cool”
Exhibit A. Indie stalwarts Phoenix released their long awaited fifth album, Bankrupt!, earlier this year, simultaneously announcing that they were trying to move away from their pop sound. The record included the single “Trying to Be Cool,” the lyrics of which make absolutely no sense, but they definitely talk about being cool pretty much consistently.

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2. Le Youth – “Cool”
This debut release from the relatively unknown Le Youth, AKA some LA-dweller called Wes Smith, rose all the way to the dizzy heights of Record of the Week on the UK’s BBC Radio 1 breakfast show (NB: this is a Big Deal in Britain), where millions of listeners could benefit from these repeated words of wisdom “As long as you’re cool,” sung over a bed of super-chill, electro synth stabs. This song talks about being cool, a LOT. And hence was enormous all summer long, while everyone was busy being too hot.

3. MGMT – “Cool Song No. 2”
MGMT released their third album this summer, and it was much better than their slightly/very insane second album. Know why? Because it had a song on there about being cool, which makes them cool and relevant again. It’s not even the first song they’ve written about being cool. Apparently, it’s the second. (I've worked this out from the title, FYI). TWO songs about being cool, they really have this formula down.

4. Echosmith - "Cool Kids"
These poor, young, beautiful hipsters just want to be like the cool kids you know? And if you, like them, just don’t fit in at school, if you’re different and stand out from the crowd and you feel ashamed then don’t worry, there is an indie-pop anthem that was written just for you. The lyrics are inspiring, something for all of us in there somewhere…

"I wish that I could be like the cool kids
Cause all the cool kids

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They seem to fit in

I wish that I could be like the cool kids

Like the cool kids…"

:(

5. Fryars – “Cool Like Me”
Fryars is the most interesting case yet. This guy used to make the most beautiful songs about indie heartbreak. His output was incredible and it was also listened to by mostly no one except hipsters who’d just been dumped/were in love with their best friend. Then “Cool Like Me” happened and it was everywhere. The song includes no references to being punched in the heart or being emotionally devastated, but it does talk about clothes a lot, which is also important.

“Cool Like Me” ended up being picked up and remixed by one Mike Skinner (you know the guy who used to be The Streets), along with this awesome video (above) which poke’s fun at fashion week silliness and industry elitism. It doesn’t stop there though. Fryars may have just unlocked the key to making great indie-pop music: the Fall 2013 chapter.

His most recent track to appear on Soundcloud, “The Power,” includes the refrain, “All I wanted was an IRL.’ #IRL. this shit is happening. And I’m into it.

“STOP sharing COOL songs”
This is more of a general point than another song. Just keep the above between us, okay? I know I've solved one of life’s big mysteries here, but this guy and his Facebook page are upset. “STOP sharing COOL songs,” warns us all of the consequences of disseminating this knowledge too freely. The page has eight fans and is run by a scowling man who only likes to share terrible songs. Why? Well he explains his rational in all-caps: “STOP SHARING COOL SONGS SO THAT STUPID PEOPLE DONT FIND OUT ABOUT THEM AND THEN TALK ABOUT THEM JUST TO SOUND COOL.”

Okay? Cool.

Georgie rules the roost on EVR and hosts Pop Goes The Future! every Friday at noon (EST). Most recently she feared she was impregnated by The Weeknd at Radio City Music Hall. She's on Twitter - @GeorgieOkell.