By Nikki Brown: Music Columnist
According to a recent study, the average tempo of 2020’s top 20 best-selling songs is 22 beats per minute – not exactly slow-paced. It turns out that this average pace is the highest recorded since 2009.
It’s no surprise right now that we all need a little something to lift our spirits. We’ve battled with a global pandemic, been forced to stay away from our loved ones and have been subjected to sad news left right and centre. Is there any wonder that we all need a bit of a dance around and something cheerful to rely on? Music has the power to lift our spirits and, amid the chaos of 2020, it’s clear that we need this more than ever.
For many of us, music is a true form of escapism and can help us imagine a different way of life, and right now many of us need a break from the harsh realities of a world in the midst of a pandemic, battling in a fight for equality and for many, seeking safety. Dance songs help us blow off steam and get us moving, pop music can have us singing along and be rinsed with nostalgia, while a good old fashioned pop-punk banger can help us relieve some tension. It’s clear that for many people middle of a pandemic isn’t the time to tap into our emotional side with an album that will leave us in tears; we’ve done enough of that.
This shift towards more upbeat music happened during the great depression and World War Two; providing a sanctuary for many. So it’s no surprise that it’s happening once again.
The proof is really in the sales. The year’s biggest album releases so far in the UK have come from Dua Lipa, J Hus and Lady Gaga. We’ve seen Dua Lipa recreate the world of disco with her own sassy twist, J Hus brought a fusion of afrobeats front and centre while Lady Gaga’s album saw a much-anticipated return to her dance-pop days. All of these genres are rooted in pop, which is a departure from the hip-hop and RnB influences that have dominated popular music for recent years. Plus, their rhythm and electronic origins could not be farther from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi who have dominated the charts for so long.
A survey from Spotify, which analyses tempo, energy and ‘danceability’ of songs found that the 20 best-selling songs so far in 2020 scored 57% on the happiness scale. This the highest figure in 3 years.
Of course, we can’t overlook that many of us have been indulging in home-workouts – which, sorry to the Adele’s of the world, but it can’t be denied a ballad won’t quite get our pulse-raising. However, a bit of jogging or home exercise can’t be the only factor that contributes.
One thing that this does prove is the undeniable power of music. It’s clear that a song or album can completely change our mood and can reflect on the feelings of not only a nation but the world.
It’s clear right now that we all just need a bit of pure and simple, bubblegum pop (or a bit of grime and rock influence if that’s not your cup of tea). We need to feel good and have our spirits lifted when everything else in the world seems hugely negative.
It could be that once the pandemic is over, we see a rise in sad songs, fuelled by writers feelings during this terrible time. We can only imagine the angst, loneliness and emotion that is bottling up in the minds of some of our favourite artists and songwriter.s But for now, put on some pop bangers, dance around your house and let one aspect of 2020 be truly happy.