Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive? (hint: yes)


Originally published at:


With that in mind I present a great melody and lyrical mix.


i KNEW it. so happy that my old man rant is now backed by science!


I was a little disappointed they didn’t call out Harry Nillson’s “Coconut”, but that’s just me, I guess.

I suppose they could work it backwards in time to the days when ballads like “Jack Orion” or “Jack Rowland” would go on for dozens or even hundreds of verses with complete narratives.


Are headlines that end with a question mark always correctly answered with “No.” :grey_question:


The question is whether “more repetitive” equals “less quality”. And even within songs that are equally repetitive, there is going to be a difference in quality. In his dataset, the most repetitive song is Daft Punk’s Around the World, for instance. Like it or not, that is an absolute classic and even today seen as one of Daft Punk’s better songs.


The saddest thing is that I can think of a few songs they left off this list.


no argument from me there. i’ve loved the Homework album since it came out. i don’t think “more” always equals “worse” – but it depends on the song. this study specifically is saying “pop lyrics.” i don’t think daft punk qualified as pop at the time that album came out. electronic dance music was still the “new” thing then.


Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive (Yes!)
Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive (Yes!)
Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive (Yes!)

Uh huh, yeah
You got it girl

Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive (Yes!)
Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive (Yes!)
Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive (Yes!)


This thread is making me think nostalgically about times the repetition was part of the point. Layla by Derek and the Dominoes, for example.


Are pop lyrics getting more repetitive?

Da, da, da.



You asked for it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


This newfangled music is rotting kids’ brains, I tell you, causing drugs and pregnancy. Why can’t we all just listen to Jethro Tull like we did in the Golden Age of Man?


You’d think that people would have had enough of shitty love songs;
But I look around me and I see it isn’t so, oh no!
Some people want to fill the world with shitty love songs;
And what’s wrong with that? I need to know;
'Cause here I go…


Near as I can tell, running the lyrics of The Champs’ “Tequila” (“Tequila Tequila Tequila” - 8 unique characters repeated thrice) through Lempel-Ziv causes the output to increase in size.

My methodology could be off tho; I’m just running gzip on a text file, so there’s probably a few chars of header gunk in there for filenames.


I’m surprised Ariana Grande isn’t higher in the list. It may be because they only have 8 of her mindlessly repetitive songs in their database.


Very interesting but most of those that I am interested in are missing. For instance, Jethro Tull Bungle in the Jungle was number 14 1st January 1975 but doesn’t seem to be in the dataset. Free Bird was 35 but is also missing.

I presume i have misunderstood something about how things are chosen.


Thanks for posting that! It was my first thought when I saw the thread title!


Or Donna Summer’s ‘I feel Love’?