Old, European scientists have determined that today’s young whippersnapper music is just too darn loud and samey. Researchers from the Spanish National Research Council used audio and lyrical content from the Million Song Dataset to study pop songs from 1955 to 2010, running the data through some algorithms and concluding that—surprise!—all pop music from the last 50-odd years sounds alike. The Black Eyed Peas are basically The Beatles all over again, or something like that.
One of the researchers, Joan Serra, told Reuters that the group “found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse,” including “numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations—roughly speaking, chords plus melodies—has consistently diminished in the last 50 years.” That could, of course, be contributed to the fact that pop music from the last 50 years has all been basically rock, dance, or hip-hop oriented, rather than classical, swing, or from a more varied group of backgrounds, and it’s all been made on basically the same range of instruments. But whatever.
The study published in the journal Scientific Reports also found that, since so much of the music is being made with a limited variety of sounds and instruments, the “timbre palette” has been reduced. Additionally, the “intrinsic loudness”—or, as Reuters puts it, “volume baked into a song when it is recorded”—has gone up. It concludes that any musician with writers block should simply co-opt an old song, make it louder, simpler, and record it on different instruments, and they’d have a hit on their hands.