Back when Sophie Allison did her Soccer Mommy Stereogum Session around this time last year, she performed a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” At the time, she said that we’d “never hear a recording of it, so if you like it, you can just keep watching this video over … More »
For the past five years, New York native Billy Joel has been playing monthly gigs at Madison Square Garden. Last night, he played the venue for the 100th time, 40 years after his first gig there. These residency gigs have featured a lot of special guests, and he marked last night’s special occasion with a … More »
Bruce Springsteen’s one man show, Springsteen On Broadway, is coming to Netflix. The special will debut on 12/15, which also happens to be the final night of the performance. Springsteen will have performed it 236 times at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway. The Boss was awarded an honorary Tony for the show and … More »
Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show usually ends with “Born To Run,” but last night, the Boss decided to do something a little different. For the first time ever, he came out for an encore after “Born To Run” and performed “This Hard Land,” a song that is not included on the Springsteen On Broadway setlist. More »
Bruce Springsteen won an honorary Tony Award during the ceremony at New York’s Radio City Music Hall tonight. The award, which was presented by Billy Joel, was bestowed upon the Boss in recognition of his twice-extended Springsteen On Broadway show, which will finally wrap up its run in December. “This is deeply appreciated. Thank … More »
Despite intentionally choosing not to submit himself for competitive award consideration, Bruce Springsteen is still getting an honorary Tony Award for his ongoing, twice-extended Springsteen On Broadway show. The organizers of the Tonys probably figured that if they gave him a Tony, the Boss might show up and perform, which would undoubtedly be … More »
The Asbury Park bowling alley/music venue Asbury Lanes closed down for renovations and was bought by a new developer in 2015, but it reopened this past Memorial Day Weekend. The space is having an official re-opening party on 6/18, and it’s just been announced that Bruce Springsteen will perform as the special guest. He’ll join … More »
I’m gunna let you finish, Kanye, but uh…
Female singers with upbeat dance songs are far more likely to top the music charts nowadays, according to new findings by researchers at the University of California, Irvine. The study also found a downward musical trend in happiness and an increase in sadness.
The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, examined 500,000 popular songs released in the UK over a three decade period, from 1985 and 2015, and categorized them each based on their mood.
“‘Happiness’ is going down, ‘brightness’ is going down, ‘sadness’ is going up, and at the same time, the songs are becoming more ‘danceable’ and more ‘party-like,’” co-author Natalia L. Komarova told The Associated Press.
Of course, researchers emphasize that a gradual decrease in the average “happiness” index does not mean that all successful songs in 1985 were “happy” and all successful songs in 2015 were “sad.” They were looking for average trends in the acoustic properties of music and the moods describing the sounds.
The overall mood shifts in the songs’ musical elements fall in line with past studies that have examined lyrical content changes over the years. They have found that positive emotions, on the whole, have declined; while indicators of loneliness and social isolation have increased.
“So it looks like, while the overall mood is becoming less happy, people seem to want to forget it all and dance,” says Komarova, a mathematician and evolutionary biologist who led the study. She added, “The public seems to prefer happier songs, even though more and more unhappy songs are being released each year.”
Some songs with a low happiness index in 2014 include “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith, “Whispers” by Passenger and “Unmissable” by Gorgon City. Songs from 1985 with a high happiness index include “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen, “Would I Lie to You?” by the Eurythmics, and “Freedom” by Wham!
Additionally, researchers found the most successful musical genres of recent are dance and pop, with a “clear downward trend” in the success of rock, beginning in the early 2000s.
The researchers also found that the “maleness” of songs — or the frequency of male singers in popular music — has decreased over the last 30 years. “Interestingly, successful songs exhibit their own distinct behavior: They tend to be happier, more party-like, less relaxed and more likely to be sung by a woman than most.”
The same trends hold true for the US market, based on a preliminary review of data by researchers. A few 2014 hits that meet the study’s qualifications for successful pop music include Clean Bandit‘s “Rather Be,” Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off,” and Meghan Trainor‘s “All About That Bass.”
The findings arrive at a critical time when the music industry is grappling with issues of gender inequality, where men are overwhelmingly dominating the visible ranks of artists and songwriters, despite studies such as these, which show a strong cultural/consumer yearning for female dance/pop hits in the contemporary global music climate.
Read the fully study by UC Irvine here.