Fair warning: I don't have any real point here, except that this is the kind of thing I fixate on at 5:00 in the morning when I'm not sleepy.
On Facebook I came across an article by Patrick Metzger titled "The Millennial Whoop: A glorious obsession with the melodic alternation between the fifth and the third". When I saw that title I tried to think of melodies that use fifth-third repetition. The examples I came up with were older than today's pop music:
- "JOEY, joey, JOEY, …" ("Joey, Joey, Joey", 1956)
- "TALL AND TAN and YOUNG AND LOVELY, the GIRL FROM IpaNEMA GOES WALKING and…" ("The Girl From Ipanema", 1962)
- "on a CLEAR DAY, rise and look aROUND YOU, and you'll SEE WHO YOU are…" ("On a Clear Day You Can See Forever", 1965)
Once I played the first example in the article I knew what Metzger meant, and recognized it from Katy Perry.
Besides coming from earlier eras, I can think of two ways my examples differ from the "Millennial Whoop":
- My examples use fifth-third repetition, not quite alternation.
- Harmonically, the Millennial Whoop is sung over a dominant (near as my ear can tell). In my examples, the chords may change underneath the fifth-to-thirds in the melody, but I don't think any of those chords are dominant (could be wrong, too lazy to check).
Side note: it's always amused me that the theme from "Return of the Dragon" (the movie in which Bruce Lee fights Chuck Norris) has the same first four notes as "On a Clear Day". It even continues the similarity by repeating the pattern up a step.