The Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work” has topped a list of songs that make people feel sad, a scientist has found in research conducted on behalf of phone company Nokia.
Dr Harry Witchel, an expert in physiology and music, has measured physical reactions to music – heart rate, respiratory responses and skin temperatures to find song’s “tune trigger quotient”.
In conjunction with the Official UK Charts Company, Dr. Witchel has also compiled lists of the happiest songs, measured by levels of sighs – as they indicate happy memory recollection, and exhilarating songs, measured by an increased breathing rate.
Dr Witchel commenting on the results said, “Music is undeniably powerful at triggering different emotional states. Changes in tempo and frequencies induce profoundly different emotional states. A slow tempo song like the Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work slows down the heart
compared to most of the other songs and compared to white noise – in other words, it works like the emotional state of sadness.”
In contrast, the research found that Lily Allen’s “LDN”, Abba’s “Dancing Queen” and R.E.M’s “Shiny Happy People” were the ones guaranteed to bring on a smile.
Blur’s “Song 2” topped the ‘exhilerating’ songs list by quite some way, Witchel said, “I was surprised that Blur’s Song 2 could be such a clear winner among our participants.”
The research found that the saddest ten songs were:
1. The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work
2. Robbie Williams – Angels
3. Elton John – Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
4. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
5. Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U
6. Will Young – Leave Right Now
7. Elvis Presley – Are You Lonesome Tonight?
8. Christina Aguilera – Beautiful
9. James Blunt – Goodbye My Lover
10. Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees
and the happiest ten were:
1. Lily Allen – LDN
2. Abba – Dancing Queen
3. REM – Shiny Happy People
4. B52s – Love Shack
5. The Beatles – She Loves You
6. Beyonce – Crazy In Love
7. Britney Spears – Baby One More Time
8. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – I’ve Had The Time Of My Life
9. The Spice Girls – Spice Up Your Life
10. Kylie Minogue – Spinning Around