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These Popular Words in Music Over the Last 50 Years Reveal More Than Just the Music History

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Nickolay Lamm, a Pittsburgh-based digital artist, has a recent project called “History of Love” in which he collected the data of the songs on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 list since 1960 and made colorful graphs that showed the frequency and popularity of certain words in the songs.

The horizontal axis represents the year and the y-axis represents the song’s popularity according to Billboard. Each rectangle represents a song. The darker the color of the cell, the more often the specific word appears in the song.

the-word-baby

The word “baby” appears in the songs constantly throughout so many decades, though it appeared more frequently in a song before year 2000.

the-word-girls

“Girls” or “Girl” appears in popular music all the time, do women tend to attract more focus in the society?

the-word-boys

Compare to “girls”, “boys” doesn’t appear often in the songs.

the-word-home

“Home” seems to appear less in nowadays’ songs.

the-words-i-love-you

“I love you” appeared very frequently in a song before 2000.

the-word-love

Love songs’ everywhere, so as the word “Love”, but there’s a decline in the frequency of its appearance in a song.

the-word-money

There’re more and more popular songs mentioning “Money” in these few years.

foul-words

There was almost no foul words at all in popular songs before the 1990s.

the-word-body

There’s an increasing trend to have the word “body” in the songs.

the-word-sex

As the society’s getting more opened, talking about “sex” in songs is getting quite common too.

While I’m enjoying the music history, I wonder what actually goes on in our culture that contributes to the difference throughout these years. What do you think?

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