Digital artist Nickolay Lamm has tracked the popularity of certain words (i.e. ‘money’, ‘baby’, ‘lonely’) from every song on Billboard’s Year-End Hot 100 list from 1960 to 2013. For each word, Lamm has created a single infographic which uses colored rectangles to represent each song and columns to represent each year. The rectangle’s color reflects the frequency with which the word was used. Blue rectangles indicate that the word wasn’t used in the song, while shades of red highlight the frequency of use. The deeper the red, the more often the word was sung.
What’s interesting about the infographics is the frequency of words over time. People mention ‘love’ in chart topping hits more than they do ‘money’ or ‘sex’. However, the use of the word ‘love’ has decreased in the last twenty years. The frequency of ‘we / us’ continues to dominate – indicating that emotions, heartbreak and relationships continue to rule the air waves.