Music is Transitioning to Sadder Chart-topping Hits
My Nguyen June 13, 2012
A new study shows that music tastes have changed to slower, sadder, more ambiguous songs. Although music is usually justified by a subjective nature, and one person’s personal favorite might be different from the next, musical palates have shown that Madonna’s recent single, Give Me All Your Luvin’, featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., “written in a major key and with a rapid tempo,” have fallen under the radar of today’s pop musical standards. According to Slate.com, Give Me All Your Luvin’ might have been a major hit 50 years ago.
A study by researchers at the University of Toronto and Freie Universitat Berlin shows that songs that were coveted on Billboard Magazine’s year-end “Hot 100” has gradually transitioned to songs written in a minor key with a slightly slower tempo over a period of five years of every decade starting in 1965.
Research also demonstrates that pop hits have changed according to this change in musical tastes. From 1965-1969, 85 percent of hits on the top 40 Billboard charts were written in major key. But as Slate.com reports as time transgressed, the number of songs written in major key has decreased dramatically, and between 2006 to 2009 only 42.5 percent of hits were in major key.
A characteristic of pop music today, sadder sounding songs have become the ubiquitous chart-climbers. Sad-sounding music tend to have a slow tempo and written in a minor key, whereas happier-sounding music are acquainted with the opposite traits.
The paper also revealed findings that chart topping pop music today parallels with society’s cultural standing point. Both, in an interrelated way, happens to preside in emotional ambiguity. This is speculated to be due to an increase in emotional ambiance found in the complexity of various avenues within the entertainment sector today that includes, video games, movies, and television shows.
What this seems to say about us as a people, remains ambiguous, itself, but it definitely makes a valid point about current hit-makers and how they highly differ from those from a few decades before.
Photo courtesy of rIOS3D