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

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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.

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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.

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Pearl Jam Play Entire ‘No Code,’ Debut New Song at Moline Concert

 

 

 

Pearl Jam had a pair of major surprises in store for fans at their Friday night concert at Moline, Illinois’ iWireless Center. Not only did Eddie Vedder debut a new song dedicated to the Quad Cities town, Pearl Jam performed their 1996 album No Code straight through in its entirety, from “Sometimes” to closer “Around the Bend,” Jambase reports. “No Code. Front to back. #PJMoline #PJFall2014,” the band tweeted before sharing a photo of the Moline setlist, which confirmed that the new song Vedder debuted onstage was also called “Moline.”

According to WQAD, Vedder told the crowd that the new song was written especially for Moline and the Quad Cities area. “Moline, it seems, this is for me. You can call me Nancy and I live in Moline,” Vedder sings on the track that’s about a woman who leaves Detroit for the Illinois city. Vedder also revealed that he’d written the song just minutes before the band took the stage, and that the cut was related to Vitalogy‘s “Better Man.”

It’s unclear why Pearl Jam opted to make Moline, Illinois the setting for the No Code performance other than the fact that the 1996 album was partially recorded nearly two decades ago at the not-so-nearby Chicago Recording Company studio. Vedder joked following the performance of No Code‘s “Off He Goes,” “Alright, end of side one.” The singer told the crowd that the No Code performance marked only the second time the band had performed a studio album of theirs in its entirety; as the band’s official message board points out, Pearl Jam played their whole 2006 self-titled record, out of sequence, at a Torino, Italy concert in September of that year.

In a wild coincidence, on the same night that the Foo Fighters were rocking out with Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen at Chicago’s the Cubby Bear and on a previously recorded Late Show With David Letterman performance, Mike McCready also paid tribute to the guitarist by busting out a checkerboard guitar Nielsen had given him while Jeff Ament brought out a bass with a similar pattern.

Foo Fighters leave David Letterman in tears with emotional performance of “Miracle” — watch

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Wednesday night’s episode of the Late Show with David Letterman featured a full gamut of emotions, from funny to exciting to bittersweet.

Marking the third night of Foo Fighters’ week-long residency on the late-night show, Letterman first employed his musical guests for a quirky faux commercial for the law firm of Grohl, Hawkins, Mendel, Shiflett, Smear, & Associates.

Later, the band hit the stage for their latest all-star performance. This time, they were joined by swamp rock legend Tony Joe White for a stomping rendition of “Polk Salad Annie”. Letterman seemed especially tickled by the performance, remarking of White, “If I were this guy, you could kiss my ass.”

At the request of Letterman, Foo’s also performed one of their own songs for a special web exclusive video. Letterman introduced the band by discussing their relationship, “These gentlemen, we’ve known each other for a long long time now. They have crossed my path in ways unexpected and expected. And, as a result, each and every year they grow to mean more to me as human beings and talents musical artists.” He then relayed a story about taking his four-year-old son skiing, which the ski instructor caught on video and soundtracked with Foo Fighters’ song “Miracle”. “It’s the second song of theirs that will always have great great meaning to me for the rest of my life,” he explained. Following the performance, a teary eyed Letterman proclaimed, “You see what I mean? That’s pretty good!”

Earlier in the week, Foo Fighters teamed with Heart for a performance of “Kick It Out” and Zac Brown to cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. It all comes in support of the band’s new album, Sonic Highways, due November 10th via Roswell Records.

Foo Fighters performed a secret show as The Holy Shits in an abandoned train tunnel

Foo Fighters - London

Foo Fighters – London

Foo Fighters were at it again Thursday night, performing another secret show in the UK ahead of their gig at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games. Once again, the band appeared under the-holy-shit-that’s-awesome moniker, The Holy Shits. And while there was no Foo Fighters cover band to speak of, they did play in an abandoned train tunnel underneath London’s Waterloo Station.

In front of a crowd of 600 lucky fans, the Foos ripped through a 21-song set comprised mostly of their numerous greatest hits. There were a few exceptions, however: “Weenie Beenie”, off the band’s 1995 self-titled debut, was performed live for the first time since 2009. “For All The Cows” also made a rare live appearance.

Check out a few photos and videos, along with the full setlist, below.

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Setlist:
White Limo
Arlandria
Generator
Rope
See You
New Way Home
The Pretender
Learn to Fly
My Hero
Cold Day in the Sun
All My Life
Skin and Bones
Monkey Wrench
Hey, Johnny Park!
For All the Cows
Breakout
Weenie Beenie
This Is a Call

Encore:
Times Like These
Best of You
Everlong

Interpol’s new album, El Pintor, to be released in September

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Interpol’s new album entitled ‘El Pintor’ (The Painter) will be released on September 9th. The 10-track effort marks the band’s first release since 2010′s Interpol.

If it’s too early in the morning for you to put two and two together, El Pintor is not only Spanish for “the painter”, but it’s also an anagram of Interpol. How clever.

The band wrote and recorded the bulk of the album in New York City, hitting Electric Lady Studios and Atomic Sound. They finished mixing earlier this year while touring the UK. James Brown (Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys) served as engineer, while Alan Moulder was charged with mixing.

Update: According to Matador Records, the album sees Interpol frontman Paul Banks taking over bass duties for the first time. It also features guest appearances from The Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Beck, Air), and Rob Moose (Bon Iver).

Interpol has shared footage of the recording sessions:

El Pintor Tracklist:
01. All the Rage Back Home
02. My Desire
03. Anywhere
04. Same Town, New Story
05. My Blue Supreme
06. Everything Is Wrong
07. Breaker 1
08. Ancient Ways
09. Tidal Wave
10. Twice as Hard

The band has already lined up several dates in support of the release, including a string of headlining dates and festival appearances. See the up-to-date docket below.

Interpol 2014 Tour Dates:
06/05 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
06/07 – Toronto, ON @ Field Trip Festival
06/08 – New York, NY @ Governors Ball Music Festival
06/20 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ The Best Kept Secret Festival
06/21 – Scheessel, DE @ Hurricane Festival
06/23 – Neuhausen, DE @ Southside Festival
06/24 – Paris, FR @ Alhambra
06/25 – London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
06/27 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Music Festival
06/28 – Evreux, FR @ Rock Dans Tour Ses Etats
06/29 – Luxembourg @ Rock-A-Field
07/01 – Berlin, DE @ Postbahnhof
07/02 – Gdynia, PL @ Open’er Festival
07/03 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
07/06 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/08 – Nimes, FR @ Nimes Festival
07/10 – Lisbon, PT @ Optimus Alive
07/12 – Keflavík, IS @ All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland
07/25 – Byron Bay, AU @ Splendour in the Grass
08/01 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/20 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
08/21 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Pool at The Cosmopolitan
08/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
10/03 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/10 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits

Stream: The Birds of Satan’s debut album, featuring Dave Grohl

The Birds of Satan Album

The Birds of Satan Album

 

The Birds of Satan, the side-project of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, will let loose its self-titled debut album on April 15th through Shanabelle Records. In anticipation, the LP is streaming in its entirety below.

Comprised of Hawkins, Mick Murphy and Wiley Hodgen, of Hawkins’ Chevy Metal cover band, The Birds of Satan marks the trio’s first official release since launching earlier this year. The album was recorded over the course of one week at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in California and boasts appearances by Grohl, fellow Foo Pat Smear, Butch Vig, and Yes frontman Jon Davison.

[The Birds of Satan] is just all real old school rock with all sorts of little flares and touches,” Hawkins recently told Billboard. “It’s like a love letter to the music I love, a nod to everything, a homage sometimes. You’ll hear the (Rolling) Stones song that we learned last week and the Move song, or you’ll hear the Van Halen song or the James Gang song or whatever, but in our own songs.”

 

 

The Birds of Satan, the side-project of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, will let loose its self-titled debut album on April 15th through Shanabelle Records. In anticipation, the LP is streaming in its entirety below.Comprised of Hawkins, Mick Murphy and Wiley Hodgen, of Hawkins’ Chevy Metal cover band, The Birds of Satan marks the trio’s first official release since launching earlier this year. The album was recorded over the course of one week at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in California and boasts appearances by Grohl, fellow Foo Pat Smear, Butch Vig, and Yes frontman Jon Davison.

[The Birds of Satan] is just all real old school rock with all sorts of little flares and touches,” Hawkins recently told Billboard. “It’s like a love letter to the music I love, a nod to everything, a homage sometimes. You’ll hear the (Rolling) Stones song that we learned last week and the Move song, or you’ll hear the VanHalen song or the James Gang song or whatever, but in our own songs.” 

Pre-orders for the album are ongoing.

The Birds of Satan Tracklist:
01. The Ballad of the Birds of Satan
02. Thanks for the Line
03. Pieces Of The Puzzle
04. Raspberries
05. Nothing at All
06. Wait Til Tomorrow
07. Too Far Gone to See

Awesome Performance by Foo Fighters for Super Bowl Week Bash

David Growl of Foo Fighters

David Growl of Foo Fighters

 
“As far as I’m concerned, this is fucking half-time right here,” Grohl said.
 
Foo Fighters knew they were playing for a broader audience than usual at their Bud Light-sponsored Super Bowl week gig last night in midtown Manhattan, so, late in their set, Dave Grohl gave the crowd a lesson in Foo history. “Years ago, I was in this band and while I was in this band I wrote a bunch of songs and made a bunch of recordings in my basement. . . . [Then] I wasn’t in the band anymore, so I decided to do what I learned in Seattle – we started a band, bought a Dodge Van and played clubs. And that was 20 years ago.”
 
He began strumming 1995’s “Big Me,” delivering the endearing melody alone until the band joined in. The Foos then shifted into their more recent single “Walk,” with Taylor Hawkins pummeling explosive, dynamic rhythm as Grohl howled the arena-size choruses. The two songs proved just how far the Foos have come in the last 20 years, from opening for Mike Watt to selling out Madison Square Garden. “I wrote this song as a joke,” Grohl said before “Big Me.” “It’s not a joke anymore.”
 
As Grohl pointed out, the show was only the band’s third gig in the last year and a half. Set on a 1,500-capacity airplane hangar tent outside the old WWII aircraft carrier the Intrepid, it was a massive operation. Four thousand contest winners and corporate partners stayed onboard the ship; last night, concertgoers packed the multiple open bars while servers readily passed out hors d’oeuvres. (Openers the Zac Brown Band likely kept the barbecue for themselves backstage.)
 

It may have been an off-cycle gig for the Foos, but the minute they hit the stage with the thunderous “All My Life,” it was clear they weren’t holding back. Pat Smear grinned away, his guitar slung lower than ever while Taylor Hawkins created fireworks from his drum kit, looking like he just strolled in from the Santa Monica Pier. Grohl said being back onstage “makes me remember I have the greatest fucking job in the world.” Aside from perhaps Grohl’s buddy Paul McCartney, no one seems to approach the role of rock star with more palpable joy than Grohl. Toward the end of the night, he grabbed and sipped from someone’s Bud Light bottle and mugged with a thumbs up a la the “Big Me” video – a move few others could pull off. “As far as I’m concerned, this is fucking half-time right here,” Grohl said.
 
It really could have been, as Grohl ran, screamed and head banged throughout the tense, jagged grooves of “Rope” and “The Pretender.” One highlight was “Generator,” off the band’s most underrated album, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, whereGrohl rested his foot on the monitor, face down, concentrating on the winding riff. He seemed hypnotized by an extra-long “Monkey Wrench,” which broke down into a series of blues licks until he finally howled the song’s epic bridge.
 
At one point, “This is a Call” also turned into a funky roadhouse boogie –”That’s the Black Keys version,” Grohl joked – before the band broke into a steamrolling take on Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh.” Before he left, Grohl acknowledged that he knew some fans were hoping to hear songs from the band’s next album : “I wish I could play you our whole new record,” he said. “But I can’t. It’s a surprise.”