The 2020 Countdown By The Numbers: Word Nerdery - WXPN
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“All we need is a title.”

The naming of things can often be the most difficult part of any creative pursuit, and sometimes, artists default to the tried and true, or follow patterns that provide an easy in. And sometimes, there’s a hive-mind effect of a dozen songwriters deciding that “down” is the best place to conclude a thought.

Wait, what the heck am I talking about here? Word nerdery: the top 10 first words and top 10 last words of song titles in the #XPN2020 countdown, which our statistics team has been able to sort for us.

Unsurprisingly, many of these words circle around the possessive, the personal, the idea of interconnection. Art is a personal form of expression, and the more personal an artist can make it feel for the viewer or listener as well, the more it will resonate. So, lots of “I,” “You,” and “Me” have shown up in these songs; emotive adjectives like “Sweet,” singular details like “Eyes.”

There’s also as sense of action — “Don’t,” “Take,” and “Away” are used often — as well as a general declarative nature — “The” is the most-used opening word, “Song” is the eighth most-used closing word.

Peruse the lists below — current as of 5 p.m. on December 15th — and see for yourselves.

10 Most Frequent First Words

  1. There are 73 songs that start with The
  2. There are 65 songs that start with I
  3. There are 16 songs that start with You
  4. There are 14 songs that start with All
  5. There are 11 songs that start with In
  6. There are 11 songs that start with Don’t
  7. There are 10 songs that start with When
  8. There are 10 songs that start with Take
  9. There are 10 songs that start with One
  10. There are 9 songs that start with Sweet

10 Most Frequent Last Words

  1. There are 34 songs that end with You
  2. There are 29 songs that end with Me
  3. There are 29 songs that end with Love
  4. There are 15 songs that end with Man
  5. There are 12 songs that end with Down
  6. There are 11 songs that end with Away
  7. There are 11 songs that end with Day
  8. There are 11 songs that end with Song
  9. There are 10 songs that end with Eyes
  10. There are 10 songs that end with Night

Also, when you dive further into the list and read the words in ranked order, they kind of amount to some fridge-magnet poetry hilarity…or brilliance, depending on your take. Observe:

Take one, sweet love, if just time.
It’s my A, blue this.
What? No.
I’m walk, let we.
Black down life blues, girl, rain world.
Home on days’ sky.
Time? Now. Up? Way. Mind? Fire.

Wow. Can we submit that to The New Yorker as a piece composed by the XPN community? No? OK.

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