Fast facts: featuring the songs of Taylor Swift

Interest was given to Fast facts: featuring the songs of AC/DC. So much so, the decision was made to analyze another artist’s work for the sake of comparison and contrast. Taylor Swift seemed to fit the “same but very, very different,” bill.

Albums analyzed: 7 (Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red, 1989, Reputation, Lover)
Songs analyzed: 118
Total words: 44,762
Unique words: 2,799

The initial guess prior to spending a few hours collecting lyrics into a spreadsheet, breaking each word from her songs into individual cells, then performing a count of word occurrences across the range? That the most frequently occurring non-pronoun would be “love” and its variants.

It turns out that’s not such a bad guess. What was surprising, however, was the number of times her songs used the words “woman,” or “women.”

Snap, crackle, pop

The common language between metal, country, and pop? Basic chorus components (oh, ooh, ohh); references to time of day (today, tonight, midnight); and the use of weather or the elements to set tone.

Note: If Ms. Swift is going to talk about the weather, it’s going to be raining.

Note: AC/DC had a lot more fire and fire related word stems. And lightning. Go figure.

Word(s)Number of times word(s)
appear in lyrics
( o ) oh ( h / hh)
eh
( h ) uh
606
wanna162
gonna98
( yester / to / some ) day ( s / light / dream )163
( mid / over / to / good ) night ( s / mare )141
rain ( s / ed / ing / storm )
storm ( s / ed / ing )
74
sun ( set / shine )15
wind4
snow4

It’s not just metal bands… pop stars have feelings, too

And expressing those feelings requires the the very heavy use of two pronouns in Ms. Swift’s catalog of work–“you” and “I.”

Note: The heavy use of “you” and “I” is understandable, because if the data is to be believed, connecting on a cerebral or emotional level (talk, love, tell, think) happens far more often than connecting on the physical level (kiss).

Word(s)Number of times word(s)
appear in lyrics
I ( ‘m / ‘ll / ‘d / ‘ve / ‘mma )2,662
you ( r / rs / ‘re / ‘ll / ‘ve / ‘d / rself )3,470
lov ( ed / er / ers / es / ely / ing )369
think ( s / ing )166
tell ( s / ing )116
feel ( s / ing / ings )54
smil ( e / es / ed / ing )52
hate ( rs )48
kiss ( ed / es / ing )37
darling33
laugh ( s / ed / ing / ter )31
cry ( ing ) / crie ( s / d )27

Gender reveal(ing)

References to gender… the last entry is entirely up for interpretation.

Word(s)Number of times word(s)
appear in lyrics
bab ( e / es / ies / y / y’s) 181
he ( ‘d / ‘s / ‘ll )
him (self)
( play ) boy ( s / ish / friend )
( super / fresh ) man ( s / ly )
311
she ( ‘s / ‘ll )
her
girl ( s / friend )
mother
200
wom ( an / en )0

The sum of its parts

The Island of Dr. Swift is filled with creatures that have her favorite (song-related, anyway) parts.

Word(s)Number of times word(s)
appear in lyrics
eye ( s / d / lids )87
( heart ) break ( s / ing / able )81
hand ( s / ful )72
face39
lip ( s / stick )28

Miscellany

Other terms of interest for their occurrence (or lack thereof).

Word(s)Number of times word(s)
appear in lyrics
shak ( e / y / ing )91
alone47
beaut ( y / iful)45
together38
New York37
marry ( ing )6

RESEARCH NOTES:

  • All numbers provided are based on the research of a single individual who was responsible for both the creation and interpretation of the data-set and therefore subject to human error.
  • Song titles were intentionally excluded from this list.
  • Only songs that were released on Taylor Swift albums are included in the data set. Songs written for soundtracks or recorded as part of someone else’s album are not included because they were subject to outside influence.

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