Lady Gaga having sex as a mermaid sells more songs. Yup, sounds about right.
Lady Gaga having sex as a mermaid sells more songs. Yup, sounds about right.

News Flash! Songs About Sex Sell

Well, duh. According to the New York Times a study of pop song lyrics showed not only that messages about sex not only go to the top of the charts, but also sell better. In a study by the State University of New York in Albany, they found that messages of procreation in country music and those found in pop and R&B are vastly different.

Country songs are about "long-term commitment to marriage, parenting children, break-ups and oaths of fidelity." But the top three themes in songs on pop charts? "The singer's sex appeal, a person's promiscuity and one-night stands." R&B song themes were about "the singer's sex appeal, boasts about the singer's wealth as it relates to finding a mate, and descriptions of erotic acts." The study, published in Evolutionary Psychology, also 'found a direct correlation between the number of references to sex in a song and how well it did on the Billboard charts."

The authors analyzed 174 songs that made it into the Top 10 in 2009 and found 92 percent of them had one or more themes from a long list of 19 categories of messages related to evolutionary biology, from descriptions of genitalia to keeping tabs on a mate. They also looked at lyrics for Top 10 songs going back in time for 60 years, in 10-year increments.

Aaaand by the numbers:

  • In country songs analyzed from 2009, there were 340 references to sexual issues (6 per song)
  • The same number of top R&B songs had 973 references to those topics (17 per song)
  • Pop songs had 513 reproductive messages (9 per song)


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