The lyrics of recent No. 1 singles average at a third grade reading level



No one would ever dare to compare the writing prowess of artists like Macklemore, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry to Chaucer and Ginsberg, but a new study from Andrew Powell-Morse reveals just how dumbed down the lyrics are for songs currently dominating the Billboard charts.

Powell-Morse analyzed the reading levels for 225 songs that spent three or more weeks atop Billboard’s Pop, Country, Rock, and Hip-Hop song charts.

Whereas chart-toppers in 2005 read between a third and fourth grade level, a decade later that average is declining, and fast. In 2014, the reading level of a Billboard No. 1 single averaged between a second and third grade reading level, with the bar trending downward in five of the last 10 years.


Of the four genres analyzed, country music came out with the highest average reading level (3.3), followed by pop (2.9), rock ‘n’ roll (2.9), and R&B/hip-hop (2.6).

At an individual level, the data is even more fascinating. The average reading level of Eminem is a grade-and-a-half higher than Beyoncé, while Nickelback (!) tops Foo Fighters by nearly a number letter grade. In the world of pop music, superstars like Mariah Carey and Adele rank a full number grade higher than the likes of Lady Gaga and Ke$ha.

Of all 225 songs analyzed in the studio, the highest-scoring rock song was Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dani California” with a reading level of 5.5. Meanwhile, Three Days Grace’s “The Good Life” is the “dumbest” with a reading level of 0.8.

Below, you can find a few more infographics illustrating the data. The full report can be read here.


Lollapalooza reveals 2015 schedule: Here are the 10 worst conflicts




The 2015 edition of Lollapalooza takes place July 31st – August 2nd at Chicago’s Grant Park. Today, the daily schedule has been revealed.

The festival kicks off Friday with performances from The War on Drugs, alt-J, Alabama Shakes, First Aid Kit, Father John Misty, and Hot Chip before ending with a two-hour-and-fifteen-minute headlining performance from Sir Paul McCartney. Playing opposite of Macca will be The Weeknd and Flying Lotus.

Saturday offers sets from Tame Impala, The Tallest Man on Earth, Tyler the Creator, Death From Above 1979, and Brand New, with Metallica and Sam Smith serving as the headlining acts.

Lollapalooza’s third and final day includes Florence and the Machine, TV on the Radio, FKA twigs, ASAP Rocky, and Twin Peaks.

With such a massive lineup, there are bounds to be some scheduling conflicts, and that’s certainly the case for Lollapalooza 2015. Here are 10 particularly nasty ones to work your way through:

Lollapalooza’s 10 Worst Conflicts:

10. Metallica vs. Sam Smith, Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

09. ASAP Rocky vs. Odeza, Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

08. Brand New vs. Banks vs. Kid Cudi, Saturday at 6:45 p.m.

07. The Tallest Man on Earth vs. Delta Spirit, Saturday at 4:45 p.m.

06. Death From Above 1979 vs. Toro y Moi, Saturday at 3:45 p.m.

05. FKA twigs vs. TV on the Radio, Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

04. The War on Drugs vs. Alabama Shakes, Friday at 5:30 p.m.

03. Tame Impala vs. Tyler the Creator, Saturday at 5:45 p.m.

02. alt-J vs. First Aid Kit vs. Gary Clark Jr., Friday at 6:30 p.m.

01. Paul McCartney vs. Flying Lotus vs. The Weeknd, Friday at 7:45 p.m.

Click here to see the full schedule.


Read St. Vincent’s heartwarming Grammy acceptance letter

February 09, 2015, 1:00pm
Last night, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark became the first female solo artist in 20 years to win the Grammy for Best Alternative Album. Clark was unable to attend the ceremony as she is currently touring in Australia. However, this afternoon, she shared a heartwarming letter of gratitude to her supporters. Read it in full below.

In 2007, i signed to beggars banquet records. i was living in dallas, texas in my childhood bedroom at the time, which i had fashioned into a makeshift studio in order to record some of what would end up being my debut album “marry me.”

the first days of touring my own songs and as “st. vincent” are very vivid. in early 2007, in anticipation of the release of my record, my (much beloved) agent put me on the road as solo support for jolie holland and midlake. he saw potential in me, but rightfully, thought i needed to get my live act together. get comfortable playing for people. get road-tested. like most of the rest of my career, it was a trial by earth, wind, and fire.

i was performing solo; just my voice, a guitar through an array of effects pedals, a “stomp board” — a homemade device i made out of a piece of plywood and a contact microphone that i ran through a bass EQ pedal, and a keyboard. i thought the keyboard looked unmysterious on it’s own, so i designed a lighted wooden enclosure to go around it. my brother-in-law helped me build it in his garage. it weighed a gazillion pounds and gave me splinters to carry, and i don’t think anyone was under any illusion that there was anything but a keyboard inside it. neither the first nor the last in a series of hilariously ill-fated ideas.

January 2007, i borrowed my father’s station wagon and drove 12 hours from dallas to frozen lincoln, nebraska to open for jolie holland (what a voice) at a half-full 150 capacity carpeted club. i believe the compensation was $250/gig but it could have been as much as $500 — more $ than i’d ever seen for a gig for sure and guaranteed, no less! in my memory, this midwestern jolie tour dovetailed right into opening the midlake tour. they were out in support of their excellent record, “the trials of van occupanther” and were the sweetest good texas boys you could ever hope to meet. the drummer of midlake, mackenzie smith, would later prove to be a great collaborator, playing on actor, strange mercy, and st. vincent.

On this tour, i’d enlisted my dear friend, jamil, to come and sell merch and help do the long drives. we’d just played a show in detroit and while we’d been inside, a blizzard had swept through and covered the stationwagon in snow and ice. it was treacherous. jamil, who always had some incredible hustle going, hired a homeless man named larry to dig the stationwagon out of the snow. (in college, he had a gold lexus, stripped it of the good parts, and resold it. when i asked if he was sad to see it go, he said, “girl, they think they bought a lexus but they bought a corolla.”) i’ll never forget driving out of bombed out-detroit, apocalyptic at 1 AM. interstate 94 tense and quiet, jamil trying to make sure we didn’t crash or stall on the icy road.

I have eaten years of veggie subway sandwiches on highways 10-90, stayed at a super 8 motel behind a kansas federal prison, peed in cups in dressing rooms when there was no bathroom, gotten eaten alive by bedbugs at a cincinnati days inn. i would not trade a single highway or city or moment or person i met for anything. i have loved it all.

I’m very grateful to have received this grammy. thank you to my producer john congleton, thank you family, thank you friends, thank you to all the incredible musicians involved, thank you managers and agents and publishers and labels and publicists and everyone who works hard at their jobs. and thank you guys. thanks for everything.