This is what researchers at the University of California at Irvine did when they looked at 500,000 songs released in the United Kingdom between 1985 and 2015 and then categorized them by mood. According to a new study conducted by the University of California at Irvine, pop music has been on an emotional downward spiral over the past three decades, as The Associated Press points out.
Yet "successful songs are happier, brighter, more party-like, more danceable and less sad than most songs", it continues.
The report lists some of the songs towards the less "happy" end of the index as Sam Smith's "Stay With Me", Whispers" by Passenger and "Unmissable" by Gorgon City, compared to happier songs from 1985 such as Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" and "Freedom' by Wham.
However researchers stress that they are just talking about a trend, and upbeat dance tunes still dominate the charts.
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The study of lyrics concur that positive emotions are on a decline, and indicators of loneliness and social isolation are on the rise.
"So it looks like, while the overall mood is becoming less happy, people seem to want to forget it all and dance", emailed Komarova, who wrote the report with Myra Interiano, Kamyar Kazemi, LijiaWang, Jienian Yang and Zhaoxia Yu.
"In the recent years, successful songs are more often sung by females", said the study.
"This is particularly interesting given a large debate about the role of women in the music industry, especially the issues of gender inequality, stereotypes and the sexualization of female singers".