Why Is Music So Angry?

No, you're not wrong. Music really is worse these days than it was when you were younger.

That's not exactly the finding of some new research but it's close enough. A study looked at lyrics of popular songs and found that they're angrier and more repetitive since the 80s.

That shouldn't really come as a surprise. You didn't see that parental advisory sticker on old gramophone records. There was no explicit remix of George Formby's When I'm Cleaning Mother***king Windows, B**ch!" Although that song is about some perv watching a newly married couple have sex, but it's not angry or repetitive so that makes it OK.

They looked at lyrics in rock, rap, country, pop and R&B songs. At the risk of getting cancelled, it feels like rap must be doing a lot of the work here. In the 1980s rap songs seemed peaceful when compared to the drill music that Daily Mail readers get angry about. Although back in the 80s we had songs like The Sugarhill Gang's (see, there were gangs back then too) “Apache” with the lyrics...

Tonto, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it
Kemosabe, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it
Custer, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it
Apache, jump on it, jump on it, woo

Cultural appropriation aside, that's quite repetitive. If a song is quicker to write using control-C, control-V you're repetitive.

Rock songs of the 1980s included things like Van Halen's Jump with the lyrics.

Ah, might as well jump (jump)
Might as well jump
Go ahead and jump (jump)
Go ahead and jump

Still repetitive but for a song that's actually called Jump it tells you to jump less than The Sugarhill Gang did.

The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that anger-related words may have become more common because music "reflects more general changes in society and culture". So, we're more miserable. That fits.

It's not all negative news. Eva Zangerle, an assistant professor at the University of Innsbruck's department of computer science in Austria, found that songs are simpler these days and easier to understand.

I'm grateful for that. The 80s had songs like Teddy Pendergrass "Love T.K.O." which I don't know if that's a good thing or not. The 90s had "Smells Like Teen Spirit" whatever that is.

It predates this study but in 1968 Song by Gary Puckett & The Union Gap released Young Girl, which is basically someone admitting they should be on a register.

Modern day songs are easier, like Megan Thee Stallion's, WAP, which seems to be about a cat in a bath. Ah, simpler times.

» Read the source story

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