July 26, 2012


Pop Music Is Too Loud and It All Sounds the Same

Brendon Thorne
Brendon Thorne

If you're under the impression that today's pop music is too loud and everything on the radio sounds like the same bland, homogenized mish-mash of recycled sounds and ideas, well, I'd have to disagree with you. I really like pop music. Especially this. But according to a new study, you're pretty much right!

Reuters reports that Spanish researchers used an archive of songs called the Million Song Dataset, which breaks down sounds and lyrics into data, and compared songs from between 1955 and 2010.

They found that over the last 50 years, pop songs have on average become louder and their chords, melodies and the types of sounds used in each song have become more similar.

The lead researcher said, "We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse. In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations - roughly speaking chords plus melodies - has consistently diminished in the last 50 years."

So what should you do with this information? Go up to a friend of yours who likes pop music, bet them $100 that it's louder and blander than ever, and then show them this post and win $100. And then buy a cheap guitar with the $100 and start your own band that will one day become enormously popular, and then use your influence to shift pop music away from loudness and blandness. Okay?