Awani Review

Complete News World

How have English song lyrics evolved over time?

How have English song lyrics evolved over time?

The old complainers may not be wrong: Song lyrics, in English at least, have become simpler and more repetitive over the past 40 years, according to work published in Scientific reports Thursday.

A study of 12,000 songs, belonging to several musical genres (rap, country, pop, rhythm and blues, and rock) dating back to the period between 1980 and 2020, showed a stronger tendency towards anger and contemplation.

Eva Zangerli, who works on music recommendation systems at the University of London, told AFP that song lyrics can act as a “mirror for society” because they reflect changes in its values, emotions and interests.

“Over the past 40 years, we have also witnessed a radical change in the music landscape, from the way music is produced to the way it is sold,” says this researcher, the study's lead author.

Vinyl records and cassette tapes in the 1980s gave way to the Internet and portable music platforms, which promoted algorithm-based music.

The study team looked at the emotions expressed in the words, the proportion of different and complex words, and their frequency. “In all musical genres, we found a tendency towards simplification and repetition,” explains Eva Zangerli.

This work confirms previous research that found a decrease in positive or happy subjects, and an increase in those expressing anger, disgust or sadness. and an increasing tendency to contemplate the lyrics of singers, who increasingly use “I” and “me.”

Rap music was given a special place in the study, with a very sharp increase in the number of repeated phrases in the song. The researcher points out that “rap music expresses anger more than other genres.”

See also  The world's largest camera will monitor the universe from Chile

I also looked at searches made by fans of different music genres on the lyrics site Genius.

For example, rock music fans, unlike others, look for old lyrics rather than modern songs, clinging to the glory days of a genre that has been less popular for several decades.

Another notable change: “The first 10 or 15 seconds are crucial for listening to or skipping a song,” the researcher points out.

In addition, music today tends to be heard more in the background: songs in which choirs sing simple lyrics seem more popular. “These words are remembered more easily, simply because they are easier to memorize.”

“The lyrics of these songs should work more easily, simply because they are easier to memorize,” the academic concludes.

To watch on video