A new study reveals pop music is the saddest it’s ever been

Written by Bianca Davino on 16th May, 2018
A new study reveals pop music is the saddest it’s ever been

In the mid-00s, the emo phenomenon seeped into the mainstream with a black-eyelined vengeance. Once an underground sensation, the genre become radio’s favourite spin and MTV’s hottest commodity. Since then obviously, Fall Out Boy, Paramore and Panic! have gone on to even bigger and better things, and pop punk and emo have held massive profile in the music world.

Its enduring popularity seems to have had a massive impact on artists not traditionally found within the genre. A new study has revealed that pop music is officially sadder than its ever been, with artists taking to more introspective and sombre themes and soundscapes in their tunes.

As reported by Stereogum, researchers at the University of California at Irvine assessed 500,000 songs released in the UK between 1985 and 2015 and categorized them by their mood.

According to the report released by the journal of Royal Society Open Science, “‘Happiness’ is going down, ‘brightness’ is going down, ‘sadness’ is going up, and at the same time, the songs are becoming more ‘danceable’ and more ‘party-like’”. As Paramore would say, the public is looking to cry hard, and dance harder. 

“The public seems to prefer happier songs, even though more and more unhappy songs are being released each year,” the researchers shared. They also revealed that thematically, the use of “positive emotions” has declined and “indicators of loneliness and social isolation have increased.”

“So it looks like, while the overall mood is becoming less happy, people seem to want to forget it all and dance,” said the report.

Despite prevailing inequality within the music industry, the study showcased that the “maleness” of songs overall has decreased over the last 30 years, showing that “successful songs are characterized by a larger percentage of female artists compared to all songs.”

The success of current female pop artists does NOT surprise us whatsoever. With acts like Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Halsey and Lorde holding it down for the ladies (amongst plenty of others, of course), women in pop are fearlessly taking down boundaries and exceeding expectation in every way.


The article was originally published on Don't Bore Us

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