Scientific Study Claims: Pop Has Become More Depressing

A new scientific study has noted that pop, over the last five decades, has gotten more depressing.

Scientific Study Claims: Pop Has Become More Depressing
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Here at Ultimate Guitar, we're pretty accustomed to lamenting the sorry state of pop music. When a study published back in July told claimed that pop music was getting louder and more boring, it confirmed what most of us already knew. As if that wasn't enough, though, a new scientific study has noted that pop, over the last five decades, has also gotten more depressing. According to NME.com a new study published in the Psychology Of Aesthetics, Creativity, And The Arts journal suggests that songs have become increasingly sadder and more melancholy. The research, conducted by Glenn Shellenberg and Christian von Scheve provided an analysis of the tempo and mode of the 1,010 most popular songs from 1965-2009, taken from Billboard's annual top 40 list. The pair have claimed that the number of songs recorded in minor, rather than major modes has doubled over the last 50 years, and that the number of slower tempo tracks has increased: "We examined whether emotional cues in American popular music have changed over time, predicting that music has become progressively more sad-sounding and emotionally ambiguous. Our sample comprised over 1,000 Top 40 recordings from 25 years spanning five decades Over the years, popular recordings became longer in duration and the proportion of female artists increased. "In line with our principal hypotheses, there was also an increase in the use of minor mode and a decrease in average tempo, confirming that popular music became more sad-sounding over time. Decreases in tempo were also more pronounced for songs in major than in minor mode, highlighting a progressive increase of mixed emotional cues in popular music." The pair have suggested that the influx in sad songs could be the result of consumers' demand for more taste and an increasing eagerness for showing off the "sophistication" in their taste, which makes jovial songs unfashionable for sounding "naïve and slightly juvenile".

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    milanio
    There are too many songs about sex and drugs, usually I'd be fine with that but when the majority of people who listen to these songs are around 12 years old, it's wrong. Just listen to "Whistle" by Flo Rider (or not, if you value your ears), that song is the blow job euphemism. They're the reason kids are growing up so fast. Seriously, the ****. You don't want young sluts? Don't make songs that give instructions about blow jobs. But that's just like my opinion, man.
    Superperfex
    Depressing in the sense that most popular songs are terrible. (Emotionless songs, with terrible lyrics and simple beats in the background)
    the_small_guy
    People will make anything just to sell and milanio said, it just aids the culture making kids think it's ok to act that way just because it's popular, none of the artists currently breeching the top 40 (im talking from a Uk basis as thats mainly what I hear) will be around this time next year, or at the very latest 2 years. Most of the time is not the artists fault though as they don't write the songs, mearly put their name to the track with some autotuned vocals/rapping, kids are just sucked into it because it's what they hear and think its kool without being conscientious. oh and in addition, im sick of hearing big songs from thr 80's used as samples with rapping over.....also Minor is a key not a mode (but thats just me being padantic)
    curly-d23
    Well since most pop songs these days are girls singing about getting their heart broken, it's no wonder.
    jrodgers
    This reminds me of one of the opening lines to the movie High Fidelity. John Cusack, a record collecting music junkie asks, "Do I listen to pop music because I'm depressed, or am I depressed because I listen to pop music?" Pop music, inherently, has always been a reflection of the moods of the current society. The songwriters and music business operate this way because giving people what they want equals $$$$. I'd worry more about what this all says about our society if our pop music is getting more and more depressing.
    TheBisness87
    just my opinion but, I have noticed since 2000 that most "pop" songs have been dance tunes with no soul lyrically or musically. depressing music seem to have more of an impact both lyrically and musically, at least to me. and "pop" is not a genre of music as so many believe it means any song that is well received by the public regardless of what that song may sound like but anyway I don't agree with this I think its the opposite like a lot of others already posted on here. most songs on the radio are about "being in da club" or being a ***** of some kind haha. now if the *****s were sad about being in the club maybe that would be interesting.
    a7xb4d
    It's funny cuz most of the haters of genres like metal, hardcore, etc. call the fans of those genres emo while at the same time listening to pop. Just a little interesting connection I see.
    TheBisness87
    just my opinion but, I have noticed since 2000 that most "pop" songs have been dance tunes with no soul lyrically or musically. depressing music seem to have more of an impact both lyrically and musically, at least to me. and "pop" is not a genre of music as so many believe it means any song that is well received by the public regardless of what that song may sound like but anyway I don't agree with this I think its the opposite like a lot of others already posted on here. most songs on the radio are about "being in da club" or being a ***** of some kind haha. now if the *****s were sad about being in the club maybe that would be interesting.
    Camron62\m/
    that's why there's exciting music like metal, metal and metal. and hardstyle, house, and dubstep. (that was the other me talking.)
    CodChick
    I can see this happening. People want music to relate to when they're upset. The more relatable songs the pop world pumps out, the more they'll sell.
    N1kola189
    um, did anybody here actually understand/read the damn article?!?!?! the one thing that this article doesn't take into account is the number of quicker tempo songs with near major sounding connotations that are entirely depressing and disturbing. look at the lyrics to "Mad World" from tears for fears, or for a more recent release "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People (granted, you can also argue relative minor as opposed to using major, but whatever). just because it's a slower tempo song in a minor key, doesn't mean that it's going to be produced and sold as a depressing song. "Moves Like Jagger" is uptempo and in a minor key, that's not that depressing of a song! but what the hell does talk about auto tune, discovering double entendre's and your general displeasure with the current state of top 40 radio have to do with songs being more depressing?!?!