Because adolescents tend to listen to a certain type of music rather than simply "popular music" in general, the 1,000 songs in the music sample were distributed evenly among 5 popular genres: Country-Western, Alternative Rock, Hot-100 (or Top-40), Rap, and Heavy Metal. The study design called for the inclusion of the top 200 songs (100 for each year) within each of these categories; however, the existence of considerable yearly and genre "crossover" complicated the general picture. For example, a list of songs that made the top 100 in Rap for 1996 and 1997 included several that were popular in both years, thus yielding an overall sample somewhat smaller than 200.
Table of Contents Heavy Metal Sample
Billboard charts were used for all music types except Heavy Metal. Because Billboard does not publish a Heavy Metal chart, song titles in this category were derived from a two-step process. The first songs included were those that appeared on Radio and Records magazine’s Active Rock singles chart, without at the same time appearing (or "crossing over") on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart (used to define the Alternative Music list for this study). This process yielded 94 songs. The remaining songs—the number needed to achieve the total Heavy Metal sample—were taken from College Music Journal’s list of top Loud Rock albums. Cuts were randomly selected from the top 58 albums of 1996 and the top 59 of 1997. While this hybrid selection procedure deviated from the method used for other music categories, it nonetheless achieved the end result of accumulating a list of songs representative of the core of rock music’s "heavy" edge.
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Genre Crossovers with Hot-100
Billboard’s Hot-100 chart represents mainstream or pop music as well as certain songs from other genres that became popular enough to break into the Hot-100 charts for 1996 or 1997. The following figures indicate the extent of this "crossover" phenomenon.
31 songs appeared on both the Hot-100 and Rap lists (15 percent crossover).
21 songs appeared on both the Hot-100 and Alternative Rock lists (10 percent crossover).
2 songs appeared on both the Hot-100 and Heavy Metal lists (1 percent crossover).
1 song appeared on both the Hot-100 and Country lists (0.5 percent crossover).
The following pages identify all of the song titles that were included in this study.