We came across a blog post about the most common words used in band names, album names and song names which utilized Billboard Pop Charts between 1890 and 2008. Intrigued by the information displayed, we wanted to take our spin on how we would visualize word frequency in song titles between 1890 and early 2010 using ALL words in song titles used.
Inspired by Boris Müller's Faust Faust poster, we wanted to give a sense of the volume of total words used in song titles using both size and a color spectrum to order each word from most frequent at the top to least frequent at the bottom. Below is a showcase of our work. Click on each image to view a higher resolution image to see all words and explore.
Results: Obviously, articles and pronouns made it to the top of the lists and we considered filtering these out to shine the light more on nouns and verbs. However, for now we decided to keep it all in so as not to distort the full data set. We hope to have time to build a small application to all you to explore and filter the data yourself.
Background on data: We stumbled across an anonymous
user post on an intriguing
blog post about the Whitman project that pointed us to a spreadsheet that claimed to be created by a
passionate fan (and record keeper) of Billboard chart data. Here we found a spreadsheet that seemed to have
simple but at least accurate song title information on the pop charts during this time. On the blog post
above, we read an interesting discussion on the background behind Billboard chart rankings, etc. Good thing for us, we are not
visualizing chart rankings. Instead, we are using this data set as a sample set as a linquistic endeavor to better understand
words used in US song titles and to compare word usage from one decade to the next. This is a window into our history.
Created by Pitch Interactive (follow us on twitter)
Data Source: Start by reading this: http://waxy.org/2008/05/the_whitburn_project/
Tools used: Processing