Wonder why our songs are getting worse? It might be because of global warming
Climate change is predicted to intrude into almost every area of life — from where we live, to what we eat and whom we war with. Now music can be added to the list.
VIENNA: Climate change is predicted to intrude into almost every area of life — from where we live, to what we eat and whom we war with. Now music can be added to the list.
That's the unusual idea put forward by British researchers on Tuesday, who say the weather has powerfully but discreetly influenced the soundtrack to our lives. And tastes in songs are likely to change as the climate shifts.
Fancy listening to the Beatles' 'Here Comes The Sun' when you are grinding out yet another long, sweaty heatwave? "These assumptions we have about certain weather being good and certain weather being bad, like sun being good — that might change," researcher Karen Aplin of the University of Oxford said at a European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna.
Aplin and five other scientists combed through databases of more than 15,000 pop songs, finding statistical backing for the assumption that our moods are strongly swayed by the weather. These emotions, in turn, are expressed in the music artists compose and what the public likes to hear.
The team looked at some of the most popular English-language songs, mainly from the US and Britain, from the 1950s to today. They searched song titles, band names and lyrics for references to weather. "We found about 800," said Aplin. Of the 500 greatest songs of all time, as listed by Rolling Stone magazine in 2011, a whole 7% were weather-related.
Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the most prolific in this category. The sun was referenced most often, followed closely by rain, said Aplin.
The seasons and wind or breeze were third and fourth most popular, while "frost" and "blizzard" were at the bottom of the list. Love and relationships were unsurprisingly the biggest single category for weather metaphors.
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