Charts, Graphs, and Other Random Stuff Based On Song Titles and Lyrics
Hi. I’m the guy that draws all these nerdy charts about rock songs. I’m not the only one that does it, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that does it regularly, and I try hard to be the best at it.
The idea came from a thread on a football message board of all places, where a couple of people were posting funny charts like this one:
There were a couple that were made out of song lyrics and I fell in love with the idea. I wanted to contribute to the thread, but minutes upon minutes of Google searching failed to turn up the work of brilliance I was looking for, so I grabbed some paper and a Sharpie and had a go at it myself. This is the first Rock Chart I ever made, and maybe it’s not brilliant, but I still think it’s pretty good:
One thing this chart displays is the tendency to use pie charts even when they’re not appropriate as a way to show what are really just lists of things. I try to avoid falling into that trap now, but you can see several instances of it in my earlier work.
From there, I just kept on going, finding myself listening to the radio with one ear always mining that lyrical data, waiting for those numbers, comparisons, or similarities to other songs that tend to inspire a chart.
As you can tell, I originally just used a thick Sharpie on white paper. Eventually, I switched to graph paper and a few different markers. I think the graph paper adds a little character to the charts. Most people use computer programs like Excel to generate their charts and those can look nice, but I prefer the more organic, hand-drawn style for mine and it lends some cohesion to the whole set.
The Liner Notes
When I moved the blog over to WordPress, I decided to add the new background info/factoids to go with the charts. All the new charts will have them and I’ll be adding them to the old ones (working backward) as time allows, so make sure to go back through and check those out too!
As with any endeavor that draws heavily on outside sources for its material, there exists a very real possibility for overlap of ideas. As I mentioned, I’m not the only one doing this and others did it before me. I know of a couple places (the Song Charts flickr group is a good one, and I have contributed some of my charts there) that I usually check when I have an idea to make sure that no one has done it exactly that way yet. If I find that a chart I have planned has already been done, I don’t do it.
I’m open to ideas for charts from anyone willing to part with them, as long as you promise not to get mad if I don’t use it. Just e-mail me. I’ve done a couple that were suggested by friends and family and they turned out pretty well. As long as the interpretation of the lyrics is solid, it generally works. Obscure songs are always welcome.