Is pop music becoming less meaningful? [Перевод]
Last year we wrote on Habré about post-fidelity – a new era of music consumption and technological innovation. The author of the story, Daniel Guberman, believes that since about 2001, music lovers have come to value ease of access, variety of choice, personalization, and preservation of their music collection over sound quality. The topic we’ll be looking at today continues this logic, but uses slightly different tools to explore yet another aspect of good sound.
Matt Ritter reflects on how pop music has changed in terms of meaningfulness, which he identifies by counting unique words on song tests. A similar approach was used by the journalists of the Huffington Post and other researchers of this issue.
In this case, the author wrote a Python program that received 40 Top40 Charts for each year from 1950 to the present. From a technological point of view, the following were involved: Beautiful Soup, MongoDB and PyMongo. The lyrics themselves were taken from lyrics.wikia.com.
First, I found out the number of unique words in each song, the total number of words in each song, and found the relationship between the two. The results of my research confirmed the fact that the number of unique words and their total number increased over time, while the value of their ratio became significantly less.
This could mean that the level of semantic content of the lyrics in popular songs really decreased.
Matt associates such results with the transition to new genres and styles. For example, the peak of unique words falls on 2003, when a large number of hits in the genre of rap and R&B were released. Matt says the words of older songs weren’t necessarily “more meaningful,” and the length of the words doesn’t tell you the quality.
It can be assumed that the lyrics of pop artists have become less creative over time. There are definitely more repetitions in the lyrics. The entire code for this experiment is hosted on Github.
It is worth noting that the context changes along with the music (and vice versa). Various stages in the development of society make their own demands, including for music. Someone thinks that nowadays music is more enjoyable if you use it as a background to other activities.
Connoisseurs of quality music think differently, denying listening to music in the background in favor of immersion in the world of their favorite sounds. They believe that listening to music with focus can actually improve the experience of copyrighted material.