Pop Music Is Louder and More Boring Than Ever, According to Science


Has it ever occurred to you that every pop song you hear piped into mall stores or blaring out the speakers of passing cars sounds basically the same, down to the Auto-Tuned chorus? Well, take heart, because that isn’t just you getting old and cranky — scientists have just confirmed that pop music really is getting louder and more generic. A team from the Spanish National Research Council has used a nifty tool called the Million Song Dataset to analyze the music and lyrics of popular songs from 1955 through 2010, and guess what? “We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse,” artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra told Reuters.

In a bit more detail, this means that transitions between note combinations are becoming more similar, and songs feature a smaller variety of sounds due to the diminished “timbre palette” that results from using a less diverse set of instruments. As for the loudness, it’s not just that teenagers are cranking their stereos to 11 — “intrinsic loudness” originates in the recording process and can make one song sound louder than another, even if they’re played at the same volume. All of which is to say, you have the permission of science to tell those damn kids to take their big, dumb music and get off your lawn. [via NME]