Pop music is getting sadder, according to a study reported by the Associated Press. While the tracks we squirrel down our ears on the daily are getting more “‘danceable’ and more ‘party-like,’” according to study co-author Natalia L. Komarova, the overall trend is a depressing one.
After assessing more than 500,000 songs released in the UK between the years 1985 and 2015, Komarova told the AP, “‘Happiness’ is going down, ‘brightness’ is going down, ‘sadness’ is going up.’”
That doesn’t quite mean that pop music in the ’80s and ’90s was super upbeat, nor that songs in 2015 were all weep-inducing and tragic. The researchers instead emphasize that the “decrease in the average happiness” has been gradual. In other words, rather being inundated with chirpy hits from Wham!, we’re now more often getting “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.
Audiences, however, don’t necessarily back the trend: “The public seems to prefer happier songs, even though more and more unhappy songs are being released each year,” the study says. “So it looks like, while the overall mood is becoming less happy, people seem to want to forget it all and dance.”
Do you think the music you listen to is getting sadder? Is it time to dust off the mid-aughts emo look? Let us know in the comments.
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