You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

2020-08-02 21:52:14 0 Comment 2415 views

In 2017, Zhihu netizen @Clark

In 2017, Zhihu netizen @Clark Yu analyzed the 320,000-character lyrics of Wang Leehom, Jay Chou, Lin Junjie and Wilber Pan, and found that Lin Junjie had the highest positive emotion score, followed by Wilber Pan, Leehom Wang was third, Jay Chou was the lowest, and listed separately. The top ten "positive emotion" songs and the top ten "negative emotion" songs for everyone. Based on the above list, "Rewind" won the "Sadest Song Award", with a negative index of 0.99726 (out of 1), which is tearful.

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

The picture above shows that Jay Chou’s songs are the most mournful, among which "Rewind" Topped the list | Know almost @Clark Yu

Popular songs, more and more mourning every year

01 p>

I have to admit that for a long time, sad and righteous indignation have made many popular hits. From Dolly Parton’s "I Will Always Love You" (later by Whitney Houston cover) to Adele’s "Somone Like You", and Sam Smith’s "Stay with Me", the artist turns tears into gold.

But compared to the past, does the current music really express stronger unpleasant emotions? Two recent studies have analyzed thousands of hits in the United States and the United Kingdom over the past few decades. Since the 1980s, emotions such as sadness and loneliness have become more common in lyrics. At the same time, songs that express pure joy—such as "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles—are rarely on the charts.

What caused these changes? Does it just reflect changes in the way people consume music? Or is it just an expression of the undercurrent of emotions in today's society?

Who is the saddest song


Let’s take a look at the evidence first. Lior Shamir of Lawrence University of Technology collected 6,150 from 1951 to 2016 i>The lyrics of the first song that has been on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and input them into the algorithm software. The software has been trained before to recognize language markers of different emotional states and personality traits-including sadness, fear, disgust, happiness, and extraversion. Although the computer will obviouslySome subtle meanings in complex lyrics are omitted, but its evaluation is indeed similar to human judgment. This technology is called "Natural Semantic Processing" (NLP), which can help us process text in large quantities and analyze the basic features embodied in the text.

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

As of yesterday’s top 5 Billboard Hot 100, do you feel lost? |

For example, it can correctly identify the dominant emotion in Bonnie Taylor’s "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as "sadness." Sadness is scored at 0.51 (out of 1). At the same time, the Village People’s "YMCA" scored 0.65 in the "Happy" category, and the Queen’s "We Will Rock You" scored in the "extrovert". The score of "Sex" is as high as 0.85, which is in line with their usual fast-paced and strong style.

Next, Shamir calculated the average number of scores each year and checked their changes over time. The results are fascinating. Pay attention. For example, the expressions of anger and disgust have roughly doubled in 65 years, while fearIncreased by more than 50%. It’s worth noting that Today’s songs are more aggressive and more frightening than the heyday of punk music. One possible reason is that the influence of rap music is increasing, and rap, like punk, reflects the feeling of social unrest and deprivation of citizenship. At the same time, the sadness that was initially maintained in a stable state has steadily increased since the 1980s and lasted until the beginning of 2010. Happiness, confidence, and openness are all steadily declining.

"You see a very consistent, very clear change. The lyrics become more and more angry, fearful, sad, and unhappy," Shamir said. "The 2015, 2016 The lyrics are quite different from those of the late 1950s."

Shamir lists the 50sA series of popular songs with "joy" as the dominant emotion as an example of this phenomenon, such as Elvis Presley's "All Shook Up", the score of "joy" is 0.702; another example is Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" , "Happy" scored 0.82. In contrast, the most angry songs on the top charts are from the 2000s, including Ne-Yo's "When You're Mad" and Busta Rhymes's "Touch It" ("Anger" scores up to 0.97). Recently, Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" scored high on "fear" and low on "happiness". And Miley Cyrus’s "Wrecking Ball" and Justin Bieber’s "Sorry"The score in "Sadness" is high-these songs are the hottest hits of the past 6 years.

The mathematician Natalia Komarova (Natalia Komarova) of the University of California, Irvine was shocked that the music that young daughter liked so much. And she also conducted another similar independent study, and the results were about the same.

In order to study how the emotions of songs have changed over the years, she used a research database called "AcousticBrainz". Users can use algorithms to extract acoustic features-such as big Use of chords or minor chords and rhythms, then use these characteristics to score emotions such as sadness. To some extent, the chords can reflect the tone of the song-the major triad is bright and positive, the minor thirdChords are resentful, while the "unstable" notes in seventh chords can give people a dark or heart-wrenching feeling.

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year


Komalova and her colleagues analyzed from 198500,000 songs released in the UK between 5 and 2015, they found that sinceFrom 1985 years, the tone of music has become less happy——just like Leo Sha Mill's analysis of the lyrics is the same.

Interestingly, Komarova found that the "danceability" measured by rhythm characteristics actually increased with negative emotions. In other words, even though these songs express negative emotions, they make people dance more physically. For example, Robyn’s hit song "Dancing On My Own"-an exciting synthesizer and percussionThe unique and lonely lyrics are in sharp contrast. In terms of albums, Komarova also pointed out that Beyoncé's "Lemonade" and Charlie XCX's "Pop 2" mixed tapes are full of dark lyrics, but the melody is full of rhythm.

Let us clarify: these are just very broad trends, with many exceptions. For example, Pharrell Williams’s "Happy" and Rihanna’s "Diamonds", these two capitals have Top songs with optimistic lyrics. But in general, pop songs have indeed become darker and more angry.

The reason is not clear, and Komarova is unwilling to make specific hypotheses, but she said, "People may speculate that this is related to some changes in society."

Shamir also agreed. He pointed out that popular music in the 1950s wasA way to escape reality, but since the 1960s, popular music has become closely related to social issues. "The role of music has changed. It has changed from an interesting entertainment to a form of expressing political opinions." Perhaps this can partly explain this emotional shift, but one thing must be said, Most of today's songs are not protest songs.

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

More people express their emotions through music festivals, etc. | Pixabay

Mourning pop songs make people feel empathetic


If scientists are not sure what caused this trend, then we should listen to the people who have made popular songs for decades. Conductor, record producer, singer, songwriter Mike Batt has written many hits, including Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes" and Katie Melua "Closest Thing to Crazy".

Bart pointed out that the way of consuming music has undergone tremendous changes-nowadays, online listening traffic determines the tracks that enter the charts. Such changes may have determined which types of songs will be popular-for example, older people may not beListening to pop music online, and may not be so impatient, then they will have less influence on deciding which songs will become popular.

At the same time, he also believes that the more negative emotions in today’s popular music may reflect changes in society-and even if the composers did not regard them as political and Reactions to social events are publicly written as protest songs, These events may still affect the overall mood of the song.

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

The more negative emotions in today’s popular music may reflectChanges in society | Pixabay

"Whether it is intentional or not, songs are a mirror of society, or at least they will be affected by what is happening in the world." Bart said, "The generation of social media I experience intense pressures that are clearly expressed every day. Although today’s political, religious, and racial conflicts are not more intense than in the past, but they are pushed in front of people more frequently and directly. This will surely be affected. Reflected in the song."

Bart speculates that many of today’s songs were written by a larger team of songwriters, and the songs written by these teams may be more representative The mood of the times, rather than examining the nuances of personal experience. He said: "Many writers tend to express group views." If this emotion is usually more subdued than in the pastExtremely, then the song written will be more sad and angry.

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

The songs written by these teams may be more representative of the mood of the times | unsplash

For Bart himself, the endless variety of events in the world makes him "a little bit depressed when he gets up every morning." But he said that his own songs often express personal depression rather than anger or disgust.

And he emphasized that realizing that his sadness can be wholesome. "Melancholy makes the world go round."

It seems that popular songs seem to capture the emotions of the artist and the audience at the same time.The composer writes songs that conform to the mood of the times, and the sadness or anger caused by this in turn can attract us consumers more. When the melody and lyrics make us empathize and express our feelings, these songs are naturally pushed to the top of the chart. Every popular golden song is a small member of the long history, witnessing the changes of the times.

☆Missing Person Notice☆

Then the question is, foreign songs are getting more and more lost, what is the situation in China? If you are interested and want to research, AI invites you to show your skills~ (please leave a sentence in the comment area for self-introduction, research tools and contact information)

Reference Source:

1. Is pop music really getting sadder and angrier?

2. Musical trends and predictability of success in contemporary songs in and out of the top charts, Myra Interiano, Kamyar Kazemi, Lijia Wang, Jienian Yang, Zhaoxia Yu and Natalia L. Komarova

3 . I analyzed the 320,000-character lyrics of Wang Leehom, Jay Chou, Lin Junjie and Pan Weibo: In order to find the most sad song, Clark Yu,

author: David Robson

translation: Amaranth

edit: Yakumo



Say the saddest song in your heart

This article is from Nutshell, cannot be transferred without authorizationDownload.

If necessary, please contact [email protected].com

(Welcome to forward to Circle of Friends~)


ID: Guokr42

Reliable popular science

Look at the fruit shell

Pop songs are getting more and more lost? nightAs the curtain falls, it's not as good as Amway's saddest song in your heart.

BTW, we have set a small threshold, I believe you who love science will definitely pass the test! Scan the QR code below to answer as many questions as possible correctly within 42 seconds, and you can join after reaching a certain score. You can only answer the questions once every 24 hours. Phew~ Take a deep breath, and then answer the questions well!

You may not believe it, but the songs you listen to are really lost every year

AI and colleagues are waiting for you to play~