United Kingdom "top 5" pop music lyrics
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North, A. and Krause, A. and Kane, R. and Sheridan, L. 2017. United Kingdom "top 5" pop music lyrics. Psychology of Music. Copyright ©2017 The Authors. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications
The present research conducted a computerised analysis of the content of all lyrics from the United Kingdom’s weekly top 5 singles sales charts (Study 1, 1962–2011), and considered their macroeconomic correlates (Study 2, 1960–2011). Study 1 showed that coverage of interpersonal relationships consistently reflected a self-centred and unsophisticated approach; coverage of violence featured predominantly anti-authoritarian denial rather than overt depictions; and more recent lyrics were more stimulating. Study 2 showed no evidence that variations in lyrical optimism predicted future variations in economic optimism and subsequently Gross Domestic Product; but, consistent with the environmental security hypothesis, economic turbulence (defined as volatility in the closing price of the London Stock Exchange) was associated with the later popularity of lyrics concerning certainty and succour. These findings are discussed in terms of the advantages and limitations of computerised coding of lyrics.
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