Stranger Things - what song lyric sentiment analysis doesn't tell you

Stranger Things - what song lyric sentiment analysis doesn't tell you

Comparing lyric sentiments to the reactions the music generates. Do they correlate? Can negative lyrics still move you? Could Metallica’s Master of Puppets get back in the charts? - Stranger Things have happened!!

This was originally an exercise in trying out the rolldown package.

This combines 2 of my favourite things :

  1. R
  2. Metallica

Here I do what I’ll call a meta(l) analysis, comparing the sentiments of YouTube reactors to the sentiments of the song they are listening to. The video is titled ‘Metallica “Master of Puppets” Best of Reactions Compilation - How To Make A Metalhead’, compiled by Derek Brooks and is ready for watching here.

You may think the idea of watching people listen to a song for the first time to be complete nonsense, as indeed I used to. But if you know the song yourself, it’s actually really entertaining seeing someone else go through what you went through however many years ago.

This compilation is great, so be sure to watch it. For several months, I’d been planning to go through selected individual reaction videos and do this exercise, and then this compilation magically appeared, and made my job much easier.

From a technical perspective, I played with both the regular and sidebar layouts. In the end, the amount of scrolling required (from the user perspective) was the same with both. The sidebar layout gives an impression that you are doing less, but in reality, it’s the same. It’s definitely not comparable to the work that Connor Rothschild did, but that is hardly surprising because he is much smarter than me.

I was in two minds about posting this, but its taken ages and is the most work I’ve put into a blog post for years. You may well decide that it was a waste of time, and that’s fair enough, but I’ve learned a few things while doing it, so it’s still worth it as far as I’m concerned. If you’re reading this on R-Bloggers or similar, please be aware this is very much a work in progress, so check back, as it’s likely to get updated.

<!DOCTYPE html>Actions speak louder than words - when sentiment analysis is not enough

1 Song Intro

The song starts with 4 power chords, which takes first time listeners by surprise.

Altogether now:

Duh! Duh-Duh-Duh!

2 The main riff

Almost immediately, the main riff kicks in, setting the tone for what’s to come. It’s a complex riff, with some stacatto cymbal crashes highlighting the slightly off beat tempo. That’s no problem for our brave reactors though, who are straight in with their thoughts.

These are ever so slightly positive..

3 Here come the drums

The drums finally kick in at around 30 seconds in, and we are off and running. No actual song lyrics at this point so we can all just sit back and enjoy the ‘Classic’ Metalllica lineup in it’s finest hour.

Already, we have some positive reactions - air drumming, giggling, and comments on the incredible riffs.

The only perceived negative comment is from No Life Shaq, and even then, it’s simply a lament that he cannot move his head in time quick enough. He’s enjoying it really.


4 First Verse

No one has anything to say at this point. The lyrics themselves are deemed to be slightly negative at this point. Some ‘reactors’ place great store in seeing the lyrics at the same time as hearing the music, others just seem to want to focus on the music itself.

There are some who focus on the vocal performance, and others who are just there for an overall experience - looking at you, Mr Video (he’s awesome, I’ve watched a few of his now).

Others - such as Deondre, are just air drumming, or more accurately, smashing the hi-hats.


5 First chorus and reaction

At this point our intrepid reviewers are starting to wonder what this song is actually about. Some are already picking up on the themes of control and drugs.

Some others…aren’t.

One thing I learned from this bit is that this song has ‘bars’.

And that’s a good thing.

6 Verse2

During verse 2 the penny drops for a few more listeners.


7 Instrumental

Now the song takes a complete left turn. The fast , driving rhythm has stopped, and some beautiful melodic guitars take centre stage. Will our intrepid reactors spot what is going on? Some do, but others, need to take a pause, because, in the words of Ryan and George over at ‘Lost in Vegas’ - ‘it’s a lot to take in’.