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Ever Been Curious About The Most Popular Words In Songs Of The Past 50 Years?


Fastcodesign is an interesting website which includes its infographic of the day, allowing us to understand a story in a visual way, and these ones had totally escaped me when they were published about 2 months ago.

A few worlds or groups of words, such as Baby, Body, Boys, Foul, Girls, Happy, Heart, Home, I love You, Kiss, Lonely, Love, Money, Rain, Sad, Sex, Sexy, Smile, We Us, Weed, often used in songs, were analyzed over five decades by digital artist Nickolay Lamm, and the results were visualized in a series of graphs. The popularity of the words was tracked across more than 50 years of Billboard charts and the results tell us a few things about our society.

Basically, there are words whose popularity stays pretty constant, there are almost as many ‘baby’ now than in the 60s (blame Biebert for that), whereas ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ are present at the same rate,… what song isn’t about a boy or a girl right? But I am sorry to report that we don’t believe in love as much as we did in the 60s! We say less and less ‘I love you’, we even use less and less the word ‘love’, and we use more and more the word ‘money’! That’s reality right? We are less and less ‘happy’, as the word is less and less present, or may be we find happiness too trite? So sad! And we also ‘smile’ less and less, we think about our ‘heart’ less and less. However we are less and less ‘lonely’, and we are less and less ‘sad’! This is not very logical, so let’s just say we hide more and more our feelings?

Society has become much more sexualized, in a big way, we talk more and more of our ‘body’, for the best or the worst, and the word ‘sex’ made a real apparition in the late 80s whereas ‘sexy’ was a bit more precocious (in the 70s). ‘Foul’ makes a big apparition in the 90s and hasn’t ceased to increase, which makes me think we have really lost it. We are less and less ‘home’ and, of course, we use ‘weed’ since the 90s! ‘Kiss’ had a big absence in the 70-80s but is back since the 90s, and ‘we/us’, after a real decline, is big again in 2013.

So to sum this up, less love/I love you and more sex, money and weed? I totally blame rap and all this bad pop that has invaded the charts. One last thing, ‘girl’ is much more popular than boy’ by a large margin,… what does it mean? That there are more men writing songs than women? Probably. That there is an objectification of women who stayed girls forever? Probably too!

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