Anatomy of a hit: Martin Garrix - Animals

Number One EDM hit dissected

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCYcHz2k5x0

This Number One EDM hit combines hands-in-the-air euphoria with a snarling 4/4 kick and distinctive percussive riff for unashamed dance floor destruction.

Written when Martin was only 17, Animals is set at the key of F minor and a tempo of 128bpm. Here we get down to brass tacks of what makes this landmark banger tick, second by second.

0:00 - Beat intro

The track keeps it minimal for the first 16 bars, with just a high-passed kick and onbeat ride providing the DJ a metronome with which to mix. A bubbling, reverbed synth line is filtered and opened out.

0:30 - Bass intro

The full bass weight of the kick and synth arps are dropped into the mix. Garrix builds the tension with a strange rising synth and long reversed cymbal swell.

1:00 - Mini break

This four-bar mini break provides 'ear refreshment', preparing the listener for the imminent introduction of the breakdown melody. This is stamped by a huge bass fall, swelling reverse reverb and a ticking clock slowly winding up.

1:08 - Breakdown 1

The track's main breakdown, initially filtered to lower the energy level. The ticking clock acts as a metronome, while swelling, reverbed synths from the intro shoot out from behind the main riff. After eight bars, the lead synth's filter is opened, allowing the huge chords to take centre stage, with massive Pryda snares punctuating.

1:37 - Build-up

These eight bars are all about building the tension to the max. A snaking hoover-style riff and laser zaps rise and accompany the snare build, leading into a final one-bar gap with a practically naked spoken vocal sample and sucking reverse effect.

1:53 - Drop 1

First-time listeners would expect the drop to continue the breakdown's melody - but they'd be wrong. Instead, Garrix strips away the high-frequency intensity and throws in a monstrous 4/4 kick and an entirely new riff. Each section of the track gradually ramps up the intensity before the next part drops it back down to quickly start the process all over again.

2:30 - Breakdown 2

After another calming four-bar mini break, the epic synth chords drop back in, along with a repeat of the build-up from earlier.

3:15 - Drop 2

Again, this section mirrors the first half of the track, with the same distorted kick and woody riff, but it's 16 bars longer. There's a scream sample after eight bars, and rising zaps that mirror the lead riff to build tension.

3:58 - Outro

After a one-bar edit, where the ticking clock briefly re-emerges, we're back into the bubbling synth theme from the intro. As the track nears an end, Garrix again filters the bass from the mix to strip away
weight and provide contrast. Unexpectedly, a cartoonish 'boing' sample finishes the track off.

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