Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

How song lyrics have changed in the last 40 years: a study that shocks

Streaming services influenced the change in lyrics/rawpixel

Song lyrics have become meaner over the past four decades, research shows. Lyrics in rap, country, pop, R&B and rock songs have also become simpler and more repetitive.

This is evidenced by a study published in the journal Scientific Reports. Rap songs showed the greatest increase in anger and negative emotions, while country songs had the lowest rate, researchers note, writes The Independent.

Eva Zangerle, associate professor of computer science at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, believes , that words associated with anger may have become more common because music — as a mirror of society — “reflects more general changes in society and culture.”

Prof. Zangerle and her colleagues analyzed the lyrics of 12,000 English-language songs released between 1980 and 2020.

They also analyzed the number of views of these lyrics on the online lyrics platform Genius. The team found that, in general, song lyrics become simpler and easier to understand over time.

Over the past 40 years, we've seen the transition from buying records in a store to being able to choose from hundreds of millions of songs. on streaming platforms on your phone. It has also changed the way music is consumed,
says Professor Eva Zangerle.

The analysis also showed that the number of different words used in songs has decreased,especially among rap and rock songs. The research team suggests that this may be due to changes in the way music is played, such as more songs being played as background music.

Professor Zangerle noted that Bruce Springsteen's 1973 song Spirit In The Night is a good example of complex songwriting, while Miley Cyrus' 2019 hit Slide Away has simpler and more repetitive lyrics.

She added: “Over the past 40 years, we've seen the transition from buying records in a store to being able to choose from hundreds of millions of songs on streaming platforms on your phone. It's also changed the way we consume music.”

How song lyrics have changed in the last 40 years: a study that shocks

< em>Song lyrics have become significantly simpler in recent years/Photo by lookstudio

The researchers also found that lyrics became more emotional and personal over time, and rap songs increased the number of both positive and negative words.

R' style songs n'B, pop and country also saw an increase in the use of emotionally negative words.

Analyzing page views on Genius, the team found that old rock songs were viewed more, than new ones, and the reverse is observed for country songs. This may suggest that rock listeners prefer older lyrics, whereas country listeners may prefer newer lyrics.

Commenting on the overall findings, the authors wrote: “This suggests that for rap, rock, and country, lyrics play a more pronounced role than for other genres, and that listeners' interest in lyrics goes beyond actual musical consumption.”

And what songs do you listen to? ? If you can't decide – turn on Radio MAXIMUM!

By admin

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