This story is over 5 years old.

Scientists Confirm That Pop Music Is Too Loud & It All Sounds The Same

A crack team of Spanish philistines just confirmed that your parents were right all along.
July 26, 2012, 5:30pm

Today, everything your boring parents ever told you was confirmed by specialists at the Spanish National Research Council: pop music is stupid, loud, and it all sounds the same.

According to a crack team of Spanish philistines (using a complex snarkhive called the Million Song Dataset), over the past 55 years there has been "a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse." This means that transitions between combinations of notes and chords has diminished: songs have less changes in them, and are less different from one another. In addition, the researchers used sophisticated algorithms to prove that pop music has become significantly louder than it was during the first half of the 20th century, as record producers ramp up the volume during the recording process.


Another thing that could potentially bum you out: the same scientists found that if you take an older song (like, say, "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats), and crank up the volume at the production level, people will probably like it more.

First off, let's just say one thing - pop music has been loud and simple for a while. That's what we all like about it. Take "Shout" by the Isley Brothers. Does this sound rhythmically, lyrically, sonically, or musically complex to anyone? It's the same shit over and over really fucking loud! And we all love it!

So, yeah, pop music is louder and simpler. Is that a problem? Some of us (including minimalist composer Steve Reich) strive for "voluntary simplicity," the idea that there's a certain beauty and purity in single chords, single notes. Or just saying the word "swag" over and over.

And loudness? I love loudness! Every morning on my way to work I crank up my headphones to near-airhorn levels, and if you can get past the encroaching tinnitus, music is way more fun that way! But are we approaching some dystopian future where we all listen to single tones played at blaring volume levels? I doubt it.

The point of this study is that pop music is boring, but there's nothing too new about that. So if you're in a band, do one of two things: make extremely complex music, or extremely simple music. Either way, do it crazy fucking loud.