Use of the word “love” in pop music is at an all time low. And “hate” is appearing more. We won’t get into use of the word “ho’s”.
Linguistic researchers have done a study on how often the word “love” appears in pop music, and we have hit the skids.
Tyler Schnoebelen at Idibon has written an article on his discovery of the lack of love in popular song titles. Oddly, this revelation comes up at the same time as THIS study, which reveals normal dating procedures are out of vogue with young people today, as a culture of “hooking up” as emerged. I won’t make that jump, but I’m just sayin’. (I guess I did make that jump).
Using the Whitburn Project‘s list of songs that charted on Billboard’s Hot 100, Schnoebelen first noticed that LOVE is far and away the most commonly used word when it comes to song titles.
From 1890 to the end of 2012, there have been 39,044 songs that have hit the top of Billboards charts. 3,583 of these songs have love-words (love, loves, loved, lover, lovin’, luv, etc.). But for the last couple of years, the percentage of hits with love in the title has been only 30% of what it was in 1980, when people knew how to love.
What does this study mean? Perhaps we’ve moved beyond cliches and are now singing about deeper things than love, or love on a deeper level. (Okay, that may have been a leap), or perhaps, as many suggest, we’ve just gotten so cynical, we longer sing about love as a higher standard.
The statistics also show that non-love titles songs stay on the charts an average of two weeks longer, so maybe we’re just better businessmen. Which is really startling because it means we’ve sold out an art form. Never mind, it’s just pop music.
Here’s a year by year breakdown of the decline of love:
Charts from Idibon
So perhaps the Black Eyed Peas knew what was going on back in 2003, when they asked “where is the love y’all?”
The original study is here.