For years, many considered pop music to be sunny, chipper and happy. According to a study published in the Psychology Of Aesthetics, Creativity, And The Arts journal, this isn’t true.
According to The AV Club, the study, which was conducted by Glenn Schellenberg and Christian von Scheve, analyzed the tempo and mode of the most popular 1,010 songs from between 1965 and 2009 taken from Billboard's annual Top 40. They claim that happy sounding songs are usually fast in tempo and in major mode, while sadder tracks are slower and use minor modes. We can all agree on that, right?
However, their findings discovered that the number of songs recorded in minor-mode has almost doubled over the last 50 years, while the number of slower tracks has also increased after reaching a peak in the '90s. They also claim that in addition to a drop in the number of happy, fast-mode songs as well as a rise in the number of emotionally ambiguous tracks, pop songs have become longer and there has been an increase in the number of compositions from female artists.
Don’t fret, the reason why this happened isn’t because we’re depressed, but rather it’s because we’re eager to show-off our sophisticated taste, which allows for darker songs to become popular and traditionally peppy songs such as Abba's 'Waterloo' have fallen out of fashion for sounding "naïve and slightly juvenile."
So all isn’t lost.
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