Music Indicates Economic Climate

As the Dow Jones continues to drop to record breaking lows on a daily basis, the New York Times notes that economic ups and downs carry with them interesting trends. During times such as these, there is a marked increase in laxative sales, suicides, and meaningful slower songs topping the charts. Economic uncertainty brings songs such as, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ and ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’ ” said Terry F. Pettijohn II, a professor of psychology at Coastal Carolina University. “In better times, it’s more likely to be faster, upbeat songs like ‘At the Hop’ or ‘My Sharona.’ ” The correlation isn't perfect however, with "Macarena" being a massive hit in 1996, not a particularly good year.

In the UK, the Guardian notes a similar correlation between music and the economy, but with AC/DC in particular. All of the band's biggest selling albums have been released during economically uncertain times. Their current album, Black Ice, is outselling the #2 album two to one despite not being available digitally while their biggest seller, 1980's Back In Black, has gone on to be the second best selling album of all time after shifting an estimated 42 million copies and was released as inflation in Britain reached 20% and nearly two million people found themselves unemployed. Their biggest flops have come after the economy recovered, such as 1985's Fly On The Wall barely managed to sell 1 million copies.

So while Black Ice is bound to be a (relative) blockbuster, I'm not sure that repeating womanizer 113 times qualifies as meaningful lyrics. Perhaps they meant that the meaningful lyrics come after we start wearing fedoras and lining up for dinner at a soup kitchen.



vicm said...

Womanizer is a very meaningful lyric. Especially if you emphasize the 'wo'. And what's up with your newfound obsession with AC/DC?

::ana zaida riquelme:: said...

very witty. i like it.

Bronson said...

Things must be bad. AC/DC is #1 in Britain right now.

hun*ter said...

...and they are going to debut at #1 in the U.S. They sold 784,000 copies of Black Ice this week, besting Coldplay's first week numbers and making it the second best debut this year. Only Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III has sold more (1,005,000 copies) in a single week this year.

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