My song chart addiction

12 March 2008
2:07 PM


A few weeks ago a new phenomenon was launched by a single chart produced in Microsoft Excel:

Percentage of boys brought to the yard by respective milkshakes

If you missed 2003, this chart is a reference to a song by Kelis, “Milkshake,” which spent several weeks at the top of the charts. In that song, Kelis sings:

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard,
And they’re like
It’s better than yours,
Damn right it’s better than yours,
I can teach you,
But I have to charge

If you have only a vague idea what this milkshake might be, you can check Urban Dictionary, which tells us that milkshake means, “A girl’s body and the way she carries it.” Once you know all that, the chart is funny, no?

I thought so, as did several hundred other people, many of whom have decided to try their hand at making their own song charts. Now there’s a Flickr group dedicated to graphs and charts representing songs. In three weeks the group has accumulated 475 members and over 750 song charts. These are a few of my favorites.

Diagram of My LoversProcess diagram: why do we scream at each other?
Map of where in the world she has beenWays to leave lover

I think part of the humor comes from the excessive chartjunk used to represent extremely simple data. There’s also the sometimes-hilarious a-ha! moment when you get the chart you’re looking at. I played around with a few ideas and made a handful of song charts to contribute.

Hope you enjoy at least one of these—I covered 80s pop, 90s hip-hop, rap and rock from the 2000s, plus some Three Dog Night. I’ve been told that some of the references are obscure, especially the chart representing Men Without Hats’s hit “Safety Dance.” Let me know if you make a chart of your own.


ryan- this is awesome! i have such a good idea for a song chart but how do i even begin to make it and then post it?

I used Excel, Apple Numbers, OmniGraffle, and Photoshop to make my array of charts, but you don’t need all those programs. Many of the song charts—and some of the funniest—are nothing more than graphs in Microsoft Excel.

The easiest way to put one together is to make up some data in Excel, select that data, and then create a chart with Insert > Chart. Once you have it laid out the way you want, you can copy the chart to a image program (like Paint in Windows) and save it as a PNG or GIF file.

If you don’t have a Flickr account, signing up is easy, although you need a Yahoo account. After you’re signed into Flickr, join the Song Chart group. Then on your chart’s Flickr page, click on the Group button and send your chart to the group pool.

Here’s the simple Excel document that I used to do my chart of “Stacy’s Mom.”

Leave a comment