These Eyes

August 27, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

Eyes – windows to the Soul. Also to the Rock, Alternative, Country, Metal, Folk, and most other genres, though not all.

Wired Magazine reports on a great bit of content analysis of popular music. The researchers, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, are visual artists, not sociologists, but they counted up references to body parts in the lyrics of popular songs. Then they broke the data down by genre and created this chart.

(Click on the image to see the larger version.)

Even in this small version, it's clear that Hip Hop is the most body-oriented genre, both in frequency and diversity, and Gospel the least – earthy versus ethereal.

Eyes and hand run one-two in all genres except for Blues, where head and arms outrank eyes, and Hip Hop, where ass takes the gold and head the silver.

Go here for the original, which allows you to click on the genre and see a more complete breakdown, like this chart of Gospel.
I can understand why knee gets mentioned relatively often in Gospel (prayerful posture), but I was surprised that ass was mentioned with the same frequency as neck and tongue. Obviously, I haven't been listening to enough Gospel.

There's a wealth of data. Take a look at the site and see what ideas and associations it triggers for you.

Warning: some of the pictures in some of the genres (no surprises here) may be NSFW.
HT Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ass... in Gospel music? hmm. Remember the limerick

There was a young girl from Madras
Who had quite a cute little ass.
Not soft, round and pink
As what you might think,
But gray, had long ears, and ate grass.