The Composition Of Music


Hello, one and all. Today, I’m going to discuss music, in particular, how music is made up in terms of the underlying theme of the song in question. We’re going to exclude classical music and instrumentals, purely because the meaning behind the music is contextual and not at all guided by the official lyrics.

So, I have said for years – literally years – that roughly 70% of all songs are love songs. Right now, scroll to the bottom, comment with the first 10 songs that come to your head and I’ll tell you why at least six of them are love songs. Even songs you wouldn’t expect are, in fact, love songs.

Then there’s the songs about sex, which I reckon make up roughly 10% of all songs. The rest? Comedy, violence and nostalgia, in various quantities depending on when the song comes out. Also, some songs fit into multiple categories, so a song about a lost lover, such as Yesterday by The Beatles, would fall under both nostalgia and love song, whilst Summer Of 69 by Brian Adams, I would say is purely nostalgic. Sure, there are love themes, but it’s not central to the song in the same way that it is in Yesterday.

So, with all of that in mind, here’s the breakdown of the current Top 20 singles in the UK..:

  1. thank u, next – Ariana Grande,
  2. Shallow – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper,
  3. Woman Like Me (feat. Nicki Minaj) – Little Mix,
  4. Let You Love Me – Rita Ora,
  5. Funky Friday (feat. Fredo) – Dave,
  6. Without Me – Halsey,
  7. Thursday – Jess Glynne,
  8. Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) – Post-Malone & Swae Lee,
  9. Lost Without You – Freya Ridings,
  10. ZEZE (feat. Travis Scott & Offset) – Kodak Black,
  11. Just Got Paid (feat. French Montana) – Sigala, Ella Eyre & Meghan Trainor,
  12. Back And Forth – MK, Jonas Blue & Becky Hill,
  13. Polaroid – Jonas Blue, Liam Payne & Lenna Stella,
  14. Ruin My Life – Zara Larsson,
  15. Taki Taki (feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna & Cardi B) – DJ Snake,
  16. Better – Khalid,
  17. 1999 (feat. Troye Sivan) – Charli XCX,
  18. Promises – Calvin Harris & Sam Smith,
  19. Love Made Me Do It – Cheryl,
  20. Arms Around You (feat. Maluma & Swae Lee) – XXXTENTACION & Lil Pump

Now, for those of you that can’t work out the key I’ve used above, it’s as simple as this:

  • Love songs are in bold
  • Sex songs are in italics
  • Comedy, nostalgic or violent songs are underlined

Interestingly, we’ve got 15 bold, 4 italics and 2 underlined songs, but there’s one that straddled the boundary between love and sex, so we’ll knock half an entry from each, which leaves us with 14.5 bold, 3.5 italics and 2 underlined songs. In terms of percentage, that works out at:

  • 72.50% Love songs,
  • 17.50% Sex songs,
  • 10.00% Other songs,

What does this suggest? Well, one of a number of things…

  1. Either my theorem about the composition of music is roughly accurate, using a minuscule sample in the grand scheme of music, and the best thing to do now is to perform a larger study using thousands of songs, multiple people analysing lyrics to determine a more accurate understanding of the theme behind the song and we get it published in some sort of scientific journal because why the fuck not?
  2. It’s all a shocking coincidence,
  3. Since I had a hypothesis to prove, I have in some way tilted the results in favour of the result I wanted, and perhaps even amended my initial hypothesis to suit the results.

Now, to be fair, technically, 3 is correct, but it’s more as a result of the sample size than the results themselves. I realised, halfway through analysing the lyrics that, actually, we won’t get a fair representation of the less prominent themes with just 20 songs. Originally, I was going to say that we experience:

  • 60% love songs,
  • 10% sex songs,
  • 15% comedy songs,
  • 15% songs about war,

but that seemed a bit generic, and actually, war songs are less prominent in the modern era and instead are consigned more to times where war is much more controversial, such as the Vietnam War.

So, I guess the question now is… Any volunteers for analysing a larger sample?

That Guy

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