Why are There Less Sad Songs Today?

Bianca Munz | 25 May 2018

Music that touches the heart
If you have any interest in music, you might have noticed a peculiar trend of late. There are less sad songs today than ever before. And no, this isn’t a casual observation, it turns out that there are factually less sad songs today than ever before.

But maybe you think that’s up to interpretation, and that a song being sad or happy is just a matter of perspective. But, once again, you’d be wrong. There is a thorough science behind what makes a song happy or sad, such as the specific notes used. Which is to say; major chords have a mood lifting effect, while minor chords have the opposite effect. And, as of about 2010, there are a much lower number of songs featuring sad minor chords.

So why exactly is this?

Generations Are Changing

The first thing to note is that moody songs were most popular after about the 1950’s. If you know anything about history, you’ll know that that is right about when World War 2 ended. It was not an especially good time for many countries, given that the lingering effects of the war could be felt well after it officially came to a halt.

Plus, it need not be mentioned, the Vietnam War had just got started, and would still be continuing for some time, into the 70s.

These social circumstances probably had a great deal to do with what sort of music was popular at the time, and it turns out that sad songs were more or less at their peak. Happier, more upbeat music began to see an increase in the 70’s, at roughly the same time as the so-called flower power movement began to gain popularity. So, people tired of war started to produce more upbeat music, fitting with the sentiments of the people.

2010 – No More Sad Music

From around 2010 the overall popularity of sad songs dropped to just about nothing. Faster songs with more positive lyrics all but took over the popular and mainstream music industry. Once again, the trends can be linked to social circumstances at the time, with the most obvious being that a new generation was rising. It seems that the newer generation had a strong focus on having a more positive outlook in general, with a great deal less interest in reflective, moody music.

Other Changes According To Generations

But such changes are not just limited to music. There are a number of areas in which vast differences can be seen according to shifting generations. Movies, series, and even games have all adjusted their tone over the years, with a focus leaning more towards less challenging and offensive content. The newer generation, it seems, is far less concerned with moody entertainment.

If using online games as an example, one can see that games such as World of Warcraft saw its peak popularity with the generational change. Far more focused on social interaction, and players working together as teams, as opposed to against one another, World of Warcraft shows a leaning towards cooperation instead of opposition.

In more recent years online casino games like online blackjack have seen an enormous increase in popularity, which a focus on offering single player entertainment to players. There is little in the way of tension with other players, and instead, there is a focus on a single player versus a game of odds like in blackjack online.

With the exception of poker, casino games are largely about a conflict free online game. This seems to coincide with the generational leaning towards less confrontational entertainment, and more relaxed single player experiences.


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