You probably already know that most of the songs in the Billboard 200 are about loving, sexing, and getting your freak on. Well, now someone has explained that in graph form.
According to an academic study published by SUNY Albany psychology professor Dawn R. Hobbs, a good 92% of the songs that made the Billboard Top 10 in 2009 contained “reproductive messages,” a nice catch-all euphemism for everything from getting married to, um, less reproduction-oriented activities. Furthermore, the more “reproductive messages” a song contained, the more likely it was to beat out other songs to make it into the Top 10. Sex sells, people. You know this.
She also broke down the exhortations to sexytimes into a bunch of different categories, from “sex act” to “parenting,” and analyzed the proportion of pop, country, and r&b songs in which they appeared:
As you can see, R%B is the most sensual of genres (again, duh), but aside from the slightly conservative slant of country, all three show similar patterns.
Is this something we should worry about? Maybe, but this has been going on for so long that whatever damage it might do to the human race has definitely been done by now. The study says this trend goes back hundreds of years to the days of opera, which, as you know, was all about sex and death. “While the frequency of some of the themes differ,” she writes, “these findings clearly show that the same reproductive categories derived from the content analysis of our initial sample of 2009 contemporary songs map surprisingly well onto the lyrics from opera and arts songs dating back hundreds of years.”
Which is all to say, we are a horny, horny species, and there’s nothing that inspires someone to write a song (or listen to one, for that matter) like a restless stirring in the heart and loins.