How I Listen

Surprisingly Amazing: The Words Associated with Every Kind of Music

Spotify_650Music fans, prepare to lose a few minutes, possibly hours, with the latest in time-sucking music data entertainment. This is a massive list that pairs nearly 1400 genres with the words that are most distinctive to the song titles from each genre, from Spotify data alchemist Glenn McDonald

                                                                                                   

Guest Post by Eliot Van Buskirk on Spotify Insights

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‘Genres In Their Own Words’

If you’re anything like us, it will make for surprisingly compelling reading — we say “surprising,” because nobody wrote these words; they simply emerged out of the data, as being associated with certain genres of music.

Alternative Pop comes off as about sweet as one might expect, with titles including (ranked by frequency): “it’s down pretty song star like girl little around everything your don’t than never here baby time what this you’re.” Brutal Death Metal, on the (very) other hand, is all about “flesh dead blood collapse wrath death chaos suffering slaughter existence upon torture souls reign within divine human remains weak oblivion.”

There’s all kinds of odd trivia to glean from this list, including regional insights. Chinese Indie Rock is about the city: “city live song love night don’t your.” Chinese Opera is more about the country: “aria spring story mother river song.” Chinese Traditional is even more about the country: “lowing plum spring autumn blossom silk lake mountains tune yang village variations moon palace ensemble lotus melody river flowers water.”

Another one that caught our eye: Chill Lounge, which has a lot to do with the sun and the sea — quite relaxing indeed: “sunset beach sunrise remix original ocean love slow summer rain soul your instrumental come time days mind away part lost.”

Meanwhile, the states of Texas and Oklahoma come in first and second as most distinctive toCowboy Western titles, as do honky-tonk, lonesome riders, trucks, and more: “texas oklahoma honky truck boogie cowboy tonk lonesome riders trail country i’ll recorded guitar rose don’t heart that again valley.”

It’s a really fun list is fun to explore on your own, if you’re the type.

Back The Other Way

You can spend minutes or hours working through the above list, and you won’t even be done. McDonald built another list out of this data — this time going from the words to the genres — called “Words In Their Own Genres.” (You can also get there by clicking on any word in “Genres In Their Own Words,” so it’s possible to jump back and forth, ostensibly for days.)

There, you can find out that the genres that most concern themselves with fools tend to be southern, or northern, or soulful. In order, songs about a “fool” are: Neo-RockabillyBlues-Rock GuitarSoul BluesSouthern SoulDoo-wopDeep Southern SoulMemphis SoulChicago Soul, and Northern Soul.

For songs about being “foolish,” however, your best bet is Adult Standards. Want to hear a song about bears? Try Nursery. Songs about getting “rich?” That would be Hyphy. Looking for “action?” Try Punk BluesTrash RockGarage Rock, or Protopunk.

For whatever reason, the genre most associated with “Larry” is Smooth Urban R&B.

These lists go on and on, to the probable delight of music nerds and the curious:

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1 Comment

  1. That was someone with a lot of time on their hands but I guess you can say the same of me lol cuz I searched all the “metal” on this document. It came up 89 times and while there was “neo classical metal” “neo-trad-metal” and even “nwothm” (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal) ‘surprisingly amazingly’ what I didn’t run across was the good old-fashioned standard “Heavy Metal” or “Traditional Metal” hmmm?

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