Saturday, July 14, 2007

An iTunes Word Search: "Child"

Long ago, Eli and I did general music shows at CKMS, and sometimes we'd brainstorm themes. Could one of us do a show entirely full of songs about bodybuilding, for instance, or alcohol, or trees? We'd wrack our brains for songs that fit particular themes, and we'd usually end up being surprised at how good our mental search engines worked.

But now I have an iPod, and I'm constantly fascinated by the way it searches. I find myself typing the first letter of the word I'm looking for, seeing how many songs titles contain that letter, then I type a second letter, I watch the search narrow down...and I notice that some words appear in a huge number of songs ("love") and others you rarely see at all ("metamorphafasize").

Anyway, while iTunes can't tell me anything about the THEME of a song on my iPod, it CAN do a quick and dirty search through the titles. So I wondered: what will I find if I pick a moderately common word like "child" (excluding derivations of the word like "childhood" and "children") and see which song titles pop up?

Try it with your music selection! Here's what I found:
  1. Pity the Child (Andersson-Ulvaeus-Rice)
  2. Child King (Edward Ka-Spel)
  3. Spoilt Victorian Child (The Fall)
  4. Man with the Child in His Eyes (Kate Bush)
  5. Child Star (Marc Almond)
  6. Satan's Child (Marc Almond)
  7. The Inner Child (Mike Oldfield)
  8. Do You Fear For Your Child (My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult)
  9. Eyes of a Child (Naked Eyes)
  10. Hot Child in the City (Nick Gilder)
  11. Star Child - Mothership Connection (Parliament)
  12. The Obvious Child (Paul Simon)
  13. A Spirit Steals a Child (The Residents)
  14. Hurting Child (Roxanne Potvin)
When it comes to children we have quite a few songs about bad childhood, and songs about naivete, songs about bad children, songs that use "child" to mean "young adult," songs with cryptic lyrics that aren't really about children at all, and...well, a song about a spirit-abducted Eskimo child. The latter is probably not a common song theme.

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