Corruption of the Youth! Profanity in Music, 1958–2019

There are many neat studies on the internet of lyrical content in popular songs. People have claimed that music is getting more repetitive and sexual, among many other things. Here’s a cool analysis of word sophistication, n-grams, and lyric sentiments.

Wanting to do something similar, I scraped the weekly Billboard 100 list of songs since its 1958 conception, and then—through many hours, request throttling configurations, and changed IP addresses—scraped the lyrics to most of these songs from three different popular lyrics websites.

There’s a lot more to mine from the data I collected, but what would be an interesting and quick first analysis? What sorts of words or lyrical trends would show the most dramatic changes between the early rock-and-roll of the 60’s and today?

Hint: to keep this site kid-friendly, I included only the first letter of those six key words in the visualizations below.

By comparing the two graphs, we can also see which words tend to be repeated multiple times within songs that use them!


Contact me if you’re interested in using the data or code from this analysis! I’m not posting them publicly for lyric copyright reasons.

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