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Grammys 2012: A record of the year word cloud

February 8, 2012 | 12:22 pm

Grammy Song of the Year word cloud
What, exactly, are we hearing when we're bombarded with the five songs nominated for song of the year at the 54th Grammy Awards, which take place in Los Angeles on Sunday night? Of course, we're hearing music, but what words are being drilled into the head with each listen to Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Katy Perry's "Firework," two of 2011's most relentlessly overplayed hits? Toss the other three into the mix -- Bon Iver's "Holocene," Bruno Mars' "Grenade," and "The Cave" by English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons -- and that's a lot of verbiage going into America's ears.

Which words, specifically? Through the wonders of technology, Pop & Hiss fed all the lyrics of the five songs listed above, which are nominated for record of the year, into a word cloud generator. What arrived is the above image. (Click on the image to expand it.)

Much to your high school grammar teacher's dismay, the most repeated word in the five songs is "gonna," followed by the mantra-words from Adele's hit -- "rolling" and "deep." More interesting, though, is to examine the lesser-used samplings, where "jagged," "strength" and "choke"  pop up alongside words such as "black," "ice" and "bullet." 

What does the cloud say about 2012's lyrical themes? Not much, probably, other than the fact that Adele repeats "rolling" a heck of a lot during the song, just as Perry drills the word "firework" into our heads. As for "The Cave"? Mumford & Sons mentions the title word only once in the lyrics, and none of the other songs feature the word, so it didn't even make the cut  -- unless it's buried in there somewhere we can't see.


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-- Randall Roberts