Popular music lyrics and the COVID-19 pandemic

Putter, Kaila C., Krause, Amanda E., and North, Adrian C. (2021) Popular music lyrics and the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychology of Music. (In Press)

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Abstract

A limited amount of previous research suggests that deteriorating socioeconomic conditions may be associated with greater popularity of music lyrics featuring negative emotional content and references to relationships. The present research considered this in charting popular music before and during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. A dataset based on the song lyrics of the top-5 charting weekly songs in the UK and USA from January 1999 to August 2020 was computer-analysed for interpersonal variables, such as satisfaction and human interest, and positive and negative emotional valence. Results indicated lower satisfaction and human interest in lyrics in the USA and UK in the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the lyrics in charting songs in 2015-2019. The USA charting songs in 2020 also saw higher leveling and negative emotional content; and, when considering monthly data from 1999-2020, there was a positive association between economic misery and the number of negatively-valenced words. The findings broaden our understanding of the relationship between significant global events and trends in popular music.

Item ID: 69438
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1741-3087
Keywords: psychology of music, social psychology of music, music psychology, popular music, lyrics, charts, COVID-19, pandemic, Diction
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Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2021. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2021 04:07
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 70%
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3603 Music > 360399 Music not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 70%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130102 Music @ 30%
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