Book Review: Pop Charts (100 Iconic Song Lyrics Visualized)

This is a nifty and fun book of visual information. Artist Katrina McHugh began creating one-page visualization of pop music songs, with a nature theme, as a side project to keep her artistic spirit going. The result became this book — Pop Charts: 100 Iconic Song Lyrics Visualized, with the tag of “A Collection of Diagrams for Music Lovers.”

She even offers up the idea of making her charts a readers’ guessing game — can you identify the song from her art? I may have got about 60 percent of them correct, but each of her pieces of art are pretty interesting, as she uses a collage style method to layer in visual cues to iconic lyrics.

Can you guess this one?

Or how about this one?

This book is a great example of how visuals can project information in interesting and meaningful ways. Connecting the visuals to memory of pop song melodies (for your brain starts to sing songs with identification of the lyrics) and writing is pretty nifty conceptual art.

McHugh explains in the liner notes that she chose the nature theme for all 100 of her diagrams because she began noticing how lyric writers use nature in different ways, as metaphor and story and more. Animals, landscapes, water all run through these pieces, connecting the 100 to the whole.

Peace (in the way pop looks),

PS — The answers: Fire and Rain by James Taylor and Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding.

PSS — I lent this book to my band and no one liked it as much as I did. Just a heads up.

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