As a side note, visit Ricky Raw’s Blog for more reading: he has some in depth analysis of narcissism and the study of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Read this short summary of a study conducted by the University of California at Berkley:
To summarize, narcissists tend to use more pronouns that are self centered, such as “I”, “me”, “my.” Narcissists tended to say “I” 70% more than low scoring narcissists, or normal people. They also used “we” 40% less than normal people. This confirms real world experience. A guy who is enrolled in the same curriculum as your humble host approaches group projects with “I think we should do this” and “I want to put this in my contribution.” The remaining five group members stand and scratch their heads, promptly ignoring the guy. He simply cannot incorporate other’s ideas into his own mental machinations. To make it worse, he has an unfortunate combination of non-alpha physical traits that prevent his narcissism from blooming into “Dark Triad” alpha cred.
On a more profound level, narcissism sells. Maybe its the combination of letting go of appearances or nursing our egos. Or maybe its projection of ourselves into the song.
Take the highest selling song single (40 million copies) of all time: Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” It has a healthy dose of “I’m dreaming of,” or “just like the one I used to know.” The song contains 6 personal pronouns, at a track length of 3:03.
Now look at Jay-Z’s most popular single “Empire State of Mind”, having sold 3x Platinum or 3 million copies. The song is a testament of Jay-Z’s relation to the city of New York, and all that he endured there. The song contains 32 personal pronouns at a track length of 4:36.
Jay-z’s song is only 1.4 times longer than Bing’s, yet contains 5.3 times more references to self. I guarantee that most pop songs today will have an equal magnitude of self references.
What does this mean for us as a society when Bing is considered the best artist of his day, and Jay-Z could be considered the best artist of our day? It suggests fewer cultural ties, fewer personal connections, decline in thinking of oneself as part of a group. It also suggests more eat-or-be-eaten, I’m the best, “screw you all who don’t understand me” type sentiments.