Study Finds Pop Music Has Gotten Sadder But Also More Danceable

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Written by Sam Murphy on May 17, 2018

A study looking at popular music from the last three decades has found that it’s getting sadder.

Published in the Royal Society Open Science, the report studied 500,000 songs released in the UK between 1985 and 2015 labelling them all with their mood.

As the AP reports, it found that there are less songs about being happy and more songs about being sad. At the same time, it also found songs are getting more “danceable” and “party-like”.

“So it looks like, while the overall mood is becoming less happy, people seem to want to forget it all and dance,” researcher Natalia L. Komarova told the AP.

Songs with a low-happiness rating included Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’ and Passenger’s ‘Whispers’ while songs with a high-happiness rating came from the ’80s and included Wham’s ‘Freedom’.

Despite this trend, the research suggests that people actually prefer happier songs.

“The public seems to prefer happier songs, even though more and more unhappy songs are being released each year,” the report says.

The report also confirmed the spiralling popularity of rock music saying that there is a “clear downward trend” for the genre while pop and dance have risen in popularity.



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