2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life


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Ain’t no love any more when it comes to pop songs

If the Righteous Brothers lost that loving feeling back in 1965 then its got worse ever since.

Pop songs now are less likely to be about love and are increasingly likely to be about sex.

An analysis of the top 50 songs in the US Billboard charts from 1960 to 2008 found that almost 60% of songs were about romance.Since then the proportion has dropped to 49%.

And male singers are increasingly singing about sex – up to 40% from only 7% in the 1960s.

No longer the Beatles vanilla “I wanna hold your hand” but Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous“, “Birthday Sex” by Jeremiah, and “Love Sex Magic” by Ciara.

And on of the greatest modern songwriters Marvin Gaye progressed from being crazy about his baby in 1963 but demanding sexual healing ten years later.

And the researchers – from 3 universities in America – blame it on male R & B and rap artists. They say “Over these five decades relational content became somewhat less common and sexual content, including objectification of women, became more common. These trends were slightly more apparent in songs performed my males rather than females.

The changes seem driven by the rap genre which did not place a song in the top 50 until the 1990s”(I would argue that rap doesn’t have songs but that’s my traditionalist view).

Song lyrics inevitably reflect the language we all use to express ourselves said a British Phonographic Industry spokesman. “Back in the fifties and sixties public morality made it difficult for people to speak as openly as they wanted and it’s likely that love was simply a euphemism for sex“.

And were songs any worse for that? Using allegory and imagery rather than misogynistic, in your face, puerile language?

I’ll leave you with a song from the great Bobby “Blue” Bland ” from 1974 (also Whitesnake’s first hit)