Thursday, 13 September 2007

Colour My World

Just in case you were thinking I was completely sane, here is a bit of research that will cause you to rethink your opinion. Have you ever wondered how often colours are used in song titles? No, thought not. Nevertheless, I can reveal today, for the first time in the public arena, my valuable research into this little appreciated subject and the results will amaze you…or not. I have taken as my sample, my personal music collection (just short of 10,000 songs). I have recorded every instance of a colour in a song title (Red, Blue etc) and set out the results below – in reverse order, naturally. I have not looked at those obscure colour-chart descriptions that decorators adore, like ‘autumn haze’ or ‘cowardy custard’, or the type of colours only computers like (Cyan??).

At the bottom of the scale are the likes of Orange, Pink and Purple who only managed to rack up two instances each. I guess these are far too exotic for most songwriters who wouldn’t know what to do with them unless your name is Prince.

Next comes a bunch of slightly more assertive colours, the top two being Green (19) and Red (22), followed by Brown (8), Yellow (7) and surprisingly, Grey (5). At this stage you can guess at the way this is going. Green, Red and Yellow are optimistic colours and the song titles they provide are generally up beat, but Brown and more pertinently, Grey show a slightly less optimistic frame of mind.

This unease continues into the next section which comprises Black (54) and White (26). The use of Black in song titles almost invariably denotes a sombre or fearful note. Interestingly White tends to pair up with Black in the same title (Black and White Boy – Crowded House, Eve Black/Eve White – Siouxsie & the Banshees) to give a paradoxical flavour. But it’s only heading one way.

So it comes as no surprise that by far the most used colour is Blue (120). Of course, I have included instances of ‘Blues’ in the Blue category, which accounts for its pre-eminent position but even looking at Blue without the ‘s’ the tally is very high so it seems that songwriters are a thoroughly morbid lot. It’s something that I’ve always suspected: great art comes from pain not smug well-being. Perhaps this explains the attraction of Country & Western?

Or does it reflect on me? After all this is my music collection that is seemingly riddled with morbid songs. Damn!


Jayne Ferst said...

So Blue comes out top? I think I listen to both instances of ‘Pink’ you mention – Pink by Aerosmith and Pretty in Pink – Psychedelic Furs. Let’s see what else is in the iPod – White Lines (Grandmaster Flash), Red Red Wine (UB40 – didn’t know that was there to be honest!), 99 Red Balloons (Nena), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John), Golden Brown (The Stranglers), Blackbird (The Beatles), Black Betty (Lynard Skynard), A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procul Harum) and finally, a blue – Mr Blue Sky (ELO). I am sure you can psycho-analyse this, there probably is already a University degree in it as we speak!

musicobsessive said...

Actually, you're half right - it's Pretty in Pink and Pinky Blue (Altered Images) and even that's got blue in it!
I quite like the sound of your ipod, it looks very classy. Mine's about to give up the ghost as the disc keeps failing to shut down properly. Oh God, I'm going to have to transfer all my stuff to a new machine. Technology eh? So labour saving!

Alan said...

Only 2 pinks - I don't think you are trying. My iPod offers "Pink Peg Slacks" (Eddie Cochran), "Pink Pedal Pushers" (Jerry Lee Lewis) and "Pink Cadillac" (Bruce Springsteen).
You could even make up a compilation album to include: "Pink" (Boris), "Taste of Pink" (Prisoners), "Pink Moon" (Nick Drake), "Pink Flag" (Wire), "In the Land of Grey & Pink" (Caravan), "Pink & Green" (Uncertain Snares), "Pink Squares" (I was a Cub Scout), "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" (Flaming Lips) finishing up with "The Pink Panther Theme".