Most decade-specific words in Billboard song titles

Posted to Statistical Visualization  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

David Taylor looked for words in Billboard song titles that appeared during a given decade more than other decades. Then he charted usage for the top five of each decade, going back to 1890.

The third column for keyness is an estimate for how much the word is unique to the decade. The graphs show usage over the years, and the decade of interest is highlighted red. So the words with relatively high keyness values will show peaks at and around the red bars. Then there are more generic words like “you” and “we” that are in some of the decades, but they’re kind of used throughout.

Other than the topical words per decade, it gets most interesting when you compare this decade to others, more so the farther back you go. For example, look at those words in the 1920s: blues, pal, sweetheart, rose, and Mammy. This decade: we, yeah, hell, f, and die. Mm, classy.

More details on methodology.

Favorites

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …

The Changing American Diet

See what we ate on an average day, for the past several decades.

How We Spend Our Money, a Breakdown

We know spending changes when you have more money. Here’s by how much.

Jobs Charted by State and Salary

Jobs and pay can vary a lot depending on where you live, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s an interactive to look.