Is Pop Music Getting Sadder And Angrier? (BBC)
Broken hearts and righteous anger have always made some of the greatest hits. From Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” (later recorded by Whitney Houston) to Adele’s “Someone Like You” and Sam Smith’s ”Stay with Me”, artists have turned their tears to gold.
But does today’s music express an even deeper unhappiness than the songs of the past? That’s the conclusion of two recent analyses examining thousands of US and UK hits from the last few decades. Since the 1980's, emotions such as sadness and loneliness have become increasingly prevalent in song lyrics. Expressions of pure joy, meanwhile – think the Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” – are apparently less likely to trouble the charts.
What’s the cause of these changes? Does it simply reflect a change in the way music is consumed? Or is it simply expressing the emotional undercurrents of society today?