Wha Oh! Wha Oh! That thing you hear in every other pop song is the Millennial Whoop

The Patterning's Patrick Metzger reports on the increasing prevalence of a repeating two-note motif in pop music, bouncing between the fifth and third notes of a major chord. The Millenial Whoop is everywhere.

Here is it, 52 seconds into Katy Perry:

Even the timings seem regular: on the minute marks. See here (1m in):

And here (2m in):

And here (1 m in):

One oddity of the Millenial Whoop–and perhaps the thing that's liberated it for use by all–is that it's already been litigated to the hilt. Ally Burnett claimed to be first to the Whoop and sued two other artists over it. But target Owl City refused to back down, and won an unusually spectacular result in court.

But there's more to it than some optimal uncopyrightable spot at the threshold of evocation. The Millenial Whoop, half-hearted yet aspirational, is the cry of a generation (which is to say, a well-defined marketing demographic.)

The Millennial Whoop evokes a kind of primordial sense that everything will be alright. You know these notes. You've heard this before. There's nothing out of the ordinary or scary here. You don't need to learn the words or know a particular language or think deeply about meaning. You're safe.

I was born in '78—a bit old, but I can pass—so lets have a stab at it:

Wha Oh Wha Oh! I'll never own my own house

Wha Oh Wha Oh! never pay my student loans

Wha Oh Wha Oh! my avatar's a mouse

Wha Oh Wha Oh! researching usb microphones