Words have a tendency to increase or decrease in popularity over time. One of the best ways to figure this out is by looking at popular songs throughout time.
Artist Nickolay Lamm recently mapped out how often certain words have been used in popular songs since 1960.
Here’s how to decipher the graphs:
The horizontal axis is the year of the song and the y-axis is the song’s popularity according to Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles. Each cell represents a song. The more red a song is, the more often that particular word appears appears in the song. For example, if a song has 5 “love” words and a total of 100 words in the entire song, that song is assigned 5% and a particular shade of red. The higher the %, the darker the shade of red.
Let’s take a look below.
For starters, it looks like body issues really started to become more prevalent in the 1980s.
Sex has been around since the beginning of time, but no one was really openly talking about it until the early nineties.
Same with weed. People either started smoking a lot more weed in the nineties, or just became more comfortable talking about it.
Based on the looks of things, people have been angry for a while now.
But at least there’s not nearly as much hate as there is love in popular songs.