According to the data, it seems that pop-music is once again obsessed with death. The reason behind this morbid push, however, is rather interesting.
Gurl, the Grammy Awards are upon us. But in the under the permafrost of moist-eyed platitudes and you people are the stars gestures tinkles the spooky organ of death.
Potential song of the year, Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” directly addresses the societal condition of death, or more accurately put, death by one’s own hand, as the above digits represent the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
So, yes. It seems the end, my beautiful friend, the end is currently marketable af. However, Logic is no pioneer, as his ode to his own mortality is merely the next banger in popular music’s current obsession with the grave.
Chart wizards Atlas measured the “deathliness” of pop music, by examining the lyrical content songs charting on the Billboard 100 since 1958, focusing on the usage of the words: die, died, dead, death, kill, killed, killing, murder, murdered, slaughter, and slaughtered.
The wiggling worm that indicates more death. Death in pop music is nothing new of course, as we’ve all previously bumped and ground to the ghostly pallor of The Smiths, and their idealism of being tragically killed on a date (and therefore being happy forever), or with The Shangri-La’s earnest appraisal of the experience of being the naive schoolgirl charmed into banging, then mourning the local biker (1964 was a hell of a drug). What separates this from the past is that this push might have been pioneered by the change in hip-hop music, as it has strangely switched from hubris to mortis.
Carrie Battan in The New Yorker made the connection, stating: “If hip-hop has historically focussed on invincibility, this generation is fixated on mortality…Nihilism, taken to an extreme that feels almost competitive, has become its own form of braggadocio.”
So, while the enlarged chrome feet for your whip might be on a hearse rather than the Escalade of years past, the take-home lesson from today’s Grammys is obvious: Bitch, stay mortal.