With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, AI company Musimap has analyzed the evolution of The Meaning of Love in music since the 1950’s.
We selected and analyzed 300 songs with 58 AI detected moods. The selected songs are popular ones and proportionally chosen between 1950 and today.
We have noticed many nuances since the 1950’s; the definition of love varies.
We all have a personal definition of love, so which one is yours?
Somewhere between platonic and connection… Somewhere between femininity and masculinity… Somewhere between spirituality and physicality… Somewhere between joy and lust.
Some emotions are more present in love songs today than in the past and others are disappearing.
To simplify the results, we defined 3 main periods: “old school” period (50’s, 60’s, 70’s), “conservative” period (1980- 2009) and “modern” period (last decade). We gathered all the 58 detected emotions (including five rhythmic moods: lyrical, chaotic, staccato, flowing and stillness) in 18 groups of sub-moods, also gathered in 6 main moods tendencies.
Observations about the evolution of disseminated moods in love songs after these 300 love songs were analyzed:
1. Fire — Dream — Love is spiritual.
These moods were present in the oldies, a real increase in the eighties and it seems to be not needed in today’s love songs. Today it seems that love means less hope and less dreams. Does that mean that today’s love is less inspirational? It looks like all the feelings of “love & above” are decreasing. The 1980’s were the dreamiest period for love.
2. Metal — Sensibility — Love is femininity.
Today love songs are decreasing in romanticism and in the beauty of platonic love. But the withdrawal feeling has totally disappeared (0%), nowadays people are less ashamed to express their love.
3. Water — Love is confident and sensual.
Since the 80’s we lose sensuality, glamour and intensity in love songs.
4. Air — Love is vitality
Vitality and energy keep growing with time: energy is the fuel of love.
Evolution: love is more and more about joy, innocence and lively moods.
The melodrama in love songs is now back to “normal” after a peak in the 80’s:
5. Wood — Male — Love is Masculinity
Constant level of good vibes in love songs since the 50’s.
Considerable reduction of the aggressive manliness in the love songs of today. But there is still a part of extroversion which is a heritage from the 80’s.
6. Ground — Love is challenging and physical.
Today love is not so much about a physical challenge or conquering than in the 80’s.
A new equilibrium in Love.
What does this evolutive transformation of emotions in love songs mean?
Here Musimap’s sociological point of view:
A) Where are we between spirituality and physicality?
Today the spirituality related moods are decreasing.
The physicality is also decreasing since 1980’s.
These two opposite emotions are more weakly represented in the definition of Love today. That does not mean that we have a better balance between spirituality and physical love, it means more that we are lacking nuances.
Spirituality: « Falling » by Julee Cruise
Physicality: «Still Loving You » by Scorpions
B) Where are we between femininity and masculinity?
It seems that all the emotions linked to our “femininity” are more affirmed today because there is a decrease of manliness essentially visible in the annihilation of the aggressive moods.
Today we are experiencing a better balance between these two groups of moods. Love songs are more and more in balance than before when we were closer to Masculinity.
Feminity: « My Funny Valentine” by Chet Baker
Masculinity: « Sixty Minute Man” by Rufus Thomas
C) Love songs are more oriented towards providing more vitality and energy. It seems that Love is more active and freer than before. Sensuality (decreasing after the 80’s) is no longer the first basic expression of love.
This precisely corresponds to a decrease in withdrawal and dreaming feelings in love songs.
Vitality and energy are killing sensuality. Maybe our digital era with a greater access to sexual content has a role to play in this evolution?
Vitality: « I Like Me Better” by Lauv
Sensuality: « I Will Always Love You » by Whitney Houston
What are the love songs of tomorrow?
The perfect equilibrium: a better balance between all our moods?
Which would mean a hope for a paralleled increase of physical feeling and spiritualty in love songs, a good balance between femininity and manliness and to get back to more sensuality and comfort with less energy.
The continuous disequilibrium?
Which would mean even more energy and femininity in love songs.
No matter which one it is, music will continue to be a powerful emotional catalyst. At Musimap we believe that Emotion AI can help humanity to better understand and improve life experiences.
So are you in the mood for Valentine’s day? Try out our Valentine’s app.
Get in touch with Musimap at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Musimap
Thierry Ascarez, CEO and Pierre Lebecque, Senior Musicologist