2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life


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Song lyrics are getting more repetitive (and crappier)

That’s official! A Canadian scientist, Colin Morris, has analysed 15,000 songs dating back to 1958. From the poetry of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell to the modern pap that is churned out by the likes of Rhianna whose song Oxygen mentions America 33 times and breathe 22 times.

The most repetitive was a 1999 song by Sisqo called the Thong song and among the least was the late Chuck Berry’s 1959 song Back in the USA.

He used a compression algorithm which reduces files sizes by assigning repeated sequences a marker rather than storing the whole sequence. So a song with no repeating sequences can’t be reduced in size. On the other hand Daft Punk’s 1997 hit Around the World simply repeats the title 1,480 times and can be compressed 98%.

Songwriter Crispin Hunt blames the trend on the chart-buying public which comprises largely of 8 – 12 -year olds. The music industry focuses on this age group to get them hooked early.

It does raise the question of whether words really mean so much. When music is so repetitive and songs (?) like Get Low by Dillon Francis and DJ Snake comprise solely the words Brr  x 4 and Get low x 28 repetitions.