Study Finds The Lyrics Of Number One Hits Average At A Third Grade Reading Level
It's no secret that many music fans grow tired of the songs dominating top 40 radio. The growth of streaming services indicates a switch to user-curated listening experiences, but songs on the Billboard top 40 often align with the songs the radio plays. A new study by Seat Smart analyzing the lyrics to these songs finds a disturbing trend: The number one hits on the pop, rock, country and hip-hop charts averaged at a third grade reading level.
Researcher Andrew Powell-Morse examined 225 songs that remained at the top of the Billboard charts for three weeks or longer from 2005 to 2014. Morse found that songs average between a third and fourth grade reading level in 2005, but in 2014 found that the reading level average decreased to a third grade reading level average. The results skewed closer to the second grade level than the third grade level, and individual analysis of specific genres found that country ranked as the genre of the four with the highest reading level.
Check out infographics from the study's findings below...