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Singing about the body

September 16, 2009

Via Sociological Images, a visual representation of what we sing about when we sing about bodies. (NSFW)

I think this is a really cool project. There are a couple of neat comparisons that you should take a look at across these genres: first, the different body parts that are prevalent (or not prevalent!) in each category, and second, the huge variation in the number of prominent body parts in each category.

What does this study say about how different genres of music conceptualize the body? For example, hip hop refers to the largest number of distinct body parts, and also explicitly references genitalia and buttocks. Meanwhile, country music contains almost no references to genitalia, but emphasizes the head and hands. Both musical genres concern themselves with sex, relationships, and love. Does this study suggest that hip hop is more interested in representing the physical and country the emotional? Or does it suggest that country is more likely to traffic in metaphors and skirt around describing the physical?

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