Back to All Songmaps

Building tension and suspense with a single chord

New Rules uses a nearly flat chord progression, latin-inspired drum groove, and future-nostalgic sounds to create a perfectly loopable track.

Dua Lipa
Visit Artist's Site
A min
Ian Kirkpatrick

Key Takeaways

  • Simplicity: It doesn't take a lot of sounds to make a song feel full. This song achieves a rich sound with a minimalistic amount of tracks, and some brilliant vocal production
  • Harmonics: The soft attack and reverb-heavy synth bells (they remind me of raindrops) are one of the most iconic sounds in pop and electronic music. This song uses them well.
  • Percussion: This song uses light percussive elements as ear candy throughout, adding to the sort of latin flair that the drumbeat already has on it's own.
  • Chords: The chord progression is so so so so simple. It feels very flat, it almost just feels like you're on 1 single chord for the entire verse.
  • Suspense: They build a ton of suspense for the drop by climbing up the octave note by note in the prechorus (do, re, mi, fa, sol...) using a really intense sounding synth.

What did you learn from this song? Let me know at

Share This Songmap

Songmaps Newsletter

Hey, I'm Colby!
Every few weeks I send out a visual teardown of the top pop songs so you can learn from their production techniques. Try it for free! 
"SongMaps: it’s exactly what it sounds like, and yet so much more. That’s why it’s perfect."