Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Love Through the Musical Ages

It seems that as much as people want to fill the world with love songs there are plenty of people who want to hear them.

Digital artist Nickolay Lamm has tracked the popularity of certain words (i.e. ‘money’, ‘baby’, ‘lonely’) from every song on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 list from 1960 to 2013. For each word, Lamm has created a single infographic which uses colored rectangles to represent each song and columns to represent each year. The rectangle’s color reflects the frequency with which the word was used. Blue rectangles indicate that the word wasn’t used in the song, while shades of red highlight the frequency of use. The deeper the red, the more often the word was sung.

What’s interesting about the infographics is the frequency of words over time. People mention ‘love’ in chart topping hits more than they do ‘money’ or ‘sex’. However, the use of the word ‘love’ has decreased in the last twenty years. The frequency of ‘we / us’ continues to dominate – indicating that emotions, heartbreak and relationships continue to rule the air waves.

1 comment:

Media Messiah said...

Modern pop songs are often written by huge teams of writers, brought together in workshops. I'm sure they'll be all over this research material like a rash. Whenever I hear that song by Katy Perry -- "I kissed a girl and I liked it -- the taste of her Cherry Chapstick" -- all I can imagine is a bunch of middle aged fat blokes coming up with it.