Step aside, men: Study of pop music finds rise in sadness, upward trend in female chart toppers

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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.

H/T: Stereogum

Watch Chris Martin Cover George Michael’s “Last Christmas” In Surprise Performance At London Homeless Shelter

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Chris MartinAfter George Michael passed away, countless stories of his secret philanthropic work came to light, including the fact that he volunteered anonymously at a homeless shelter. And yesterday, as The Sun reports, Coldplay’s Chris Martin honored his fallen two-first-names comrade by dropping by a west London homeless shelter to surprise the residents with … More »

Escort – “Last Christmas” (Wham! Cover)

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Escort - "Last Christmas"Disco revival ensemble Escort have shared a doubly timely cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” in the wake of George Michael’s untimely death and the spirit of the holiday season. The Brooklyn seven-piece adds some post-disco bounce and funk to the original with warped, atmospheric sweeps, bright synths, bouyant bells and chimes, and soulful vocals. More »

Praying For Time: 20 Incredible George Michael Moments

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George Michael performing on stage during the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for Aids Awareness at Wembley Stadium in London on the 20th April, 1992.  (Photo by Jim Steele/Popperfoto/Getty Images)It was possible, even during George Michael’s heyday, to take the man for granted, to imagine him as some lightweight pop star who’d be gone in a couple of weeks. He had, after all, gotten his start in a knowingly goofy teenpop duo. His hair was immaculately feathered, and his stubble was immaculately maintained. His … More »

George Michael of Wham! Dies at 53

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It is with melancholy and disbelief that we report that singer, songwriter, and record producer George Michael has passed away on Christmas Day at 5:24 PM GMT on his property in Goring, Oxfordshire, England. The news was confirmed by Michael Lippman, longtime manager to Georger Michael, to Billboard around 3PM PST. Michael’s publicist made a statement to the BBC in which he said, “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George has passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

Soon after, a statement from the Thames Valley Police has been released saying, “Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2PM Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage, the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. A post mortem will be undertaken in due course. There will be no further updates from Thames Valley Police until the post mortem has taken place.”

The death comes as a surprise as George Michael has had very few health-related episodes in the last five years. This includes a stint with pneumonia that plagued his wellbeing in late 2011 in which he had suffered chest pains and was kept in intensive care unit. He would later make a full recovery and even performed a free concert for the hospital staff who he said saved his life.

George Michael is remembered as dance-pop artist from the 80s and 90s where he found success as a solo artist and as part of the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley. His debut album Faith, released in 1987, included his hit song “Careless Whisper” where he skyrocketed as one of the best-selling British acts of all time. He has been showered with awards including Brit Awards, MTV Music Video Awards, American Music Awards, and two Grammys out of eight nominations.

Let’s honor George Michael with two of his biggest hits, saluting the life he lived and the music he gave the world.

Source: Billboard

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: George Michael of Wham! Dies at 53

George Michael has died at 53

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Today, December 25, George Michael died at age 53. BBC News reports that the singer “passed away peacefully at home.” At press time, no cause of death is officially available, but law enforcement does not believe any suspicious circumstances to have been a factor. George Michael’s publicist issued the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period…The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

As both a solo artist and the principal singer of Wham!, George Michael was regarded as a pioneer of ’80s pop and dance music, and considered by many to be an LGBT icon.The artist provided the voice for many of the 1980s’ most memorable songs, including “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper,” and “Faith.”

Rest in peace, George Michael.

Via: BBC News

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R.I.P. George Michael

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LONDON - JULY 02:  Singer George Michael performs on stage at "Live 8 London" in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005 in London, England.  The free concert is one of ten simultaneous international gigs including Philadelphia, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barrie, Tokyo, Cornwall, Moscow and Johannesburg. The concerts precede the G8 summit (July 6-8) to raising awareness for MAKEpovertyHISTORY.  (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)The BBC reports that George Michael has died. According to a statement from his publicist, Michael died “peacefully at home” in Oxfordshire, and according to police, there was nothing suspicious about his death. He was 53. More »