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Music Entertainment

Study Finds New Pop Music Does All Sound the Same 576

Posted by samzenpus
from the turn-it-down dept.
whoever57 writes "A study of music from the '50 to the present using the Million Song Dataset has concluded that modern music has less variation than older music and songs today are, on average, 9dB louder than 50 years ago. Almost all music uses just 10 chords, but the way these are used together has changed, leading to fewer types of transitions being used. Variation in timbre has also reduced over the past decades."
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Study Finds New Pop Music Does All Sound the Same

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  • Not just me (Score:5, Funny)

    by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:08PM (#40813895)

    So it isn't just me?

    • by Ouchie (1386333) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:49PM (#40814151)
      The study also found that the author is approximately 60 years older than he was in the 50's.
      • Re:Not just me (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jellomizer (103300) on Monday July 30, 2012 @10:08AM (#40818221)

        Time Blurs memory.
        A lot of popular tunes of yesteryear, have been mostly forgotten, leaving the more valuable rare gems to stand out. So you listen to the oldies station 50's 60's and 70's the station is playing 3 decades of the best music. You listen to a popular music station you get 5 years of music, And they repeat the same stuff the same amount of time.

        So you have 300 songs over 30 years vs. 300 songs over the last 5 years.
        Then you have the classical Music Stations that has 300 songs over the past 300 years.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      So it isn't just me?

      No, it's not just you but there is only so many combinations of "doof, doof, doof, doof, doof" you can have until you run out of combinations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Depeche Mode's "Behind The Wheel" is just 4 chords looping endlessly and happens to be a great song with a very creative arrangement that is full of layers. So it is possible to make good music with few chords, but I wonder how difficult it is to accomplish that. I mean, Is an 8-chord song more likely to be catchy than a 4-chord one?

      Depeche Mode - Behind The Wheel [youtube.com]

  • I blame (Score:5, Informative)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:11PM (#40813917) Journal

    Glee!

    That shit all sounds the same. Same Autotuned voices that are bland and boring.

    • It's not just voices. Many instruments are auto tuned or replaced with samples (SoundReplacer on drums is all too common). Massive compression/limiting across the stereo bus. Sigh, it's a mess. Interestingly, Muse's recordings actually sound pretty good.
      • Interestingly, Muse's recordings actually sound pretty good.

        Map of the Problematique sounds awful, which sucks because the song is otherwise such a good high-energy vamp. Also, there is a Guitar Hero-based "remaster" of Knights of Cydonia floating around the tubes which is purported to sound better than the CD release.

        Muse is a big step up from Glee, but then so is a white-noise generator. It's not a very useful bar to set.

        • Re:I blame (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday July 30, 2012 @01:29AM (#40814981)

          The same thing happened with a couple of Metallica songs from "...And Justice For All"; stupid Lars messed up the original mix so that Jason Newsted's bass couldn't be heard, but the Guitar Hero version had the bass much higher in the mix, so some fans remixed the songs and released them as "...And Justice for Jason".

      • Re:I blame (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:12AM (#40814597)

        Another element is that the original drummers varied the meter and tempo of the drums dynamically. I saw a really cool video analysis of Ringo and so other old school drummers and it was anything BUT an even perfect beat. And it was intentional the way they sped up or slowed down the beat in a very analog manner.

        Currently, artificial drums have the same tempo.

        • Are you sure it's the tempo changing that they are talking about? There are little variations, but a more common difference would be how they play around the beat. A drummer might place the kick slightly ahead of the beat to make a song more energetic, or slightly behind the beat to make it feel more laid back, and they might vary how even the beats are to change the feel. There are tempo changes as well, but what I'm talking about might be confused for that by those without a lot of experience in music.
          • Re:I blame (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday July 30, 2012 @01:24AM (#40814959)

            He's alternately praised for having a rock solid back beat you couldn't move with a cran and then for not keeping metronome time but keeping with the feel of the song here:

            http://web2.airmail.net/gshultz/drumpage.html [airmail.net]

            George Martin -- "Ringo always got and still gets a unique sound out of his drums, as sound as distinctive as his voice. ... Ringo gets a looser deeper sound out of his drums that is unique. ...This detailed attention to the tone of his drums is one of the reasons for Ringo's brilliance. Another is that although Ringo does not keep time with a metronome accuracy, he has unrivaled feel for a song. If his timing fluctuates, it invariably does so in the right place at the right time, keep the right atmosphere going on the track and give it a rock solid foundation. This held true for every single Beatles number Richie played ... Ringo also was a great tom tom player." ( Summer of Love, 1994)

            but also

            George Martin -- "Ringo has a tremendous feel for a song and he always helped us hit the right tempo the first time. He was rock solid. This made the recording of all the Beatle songs so much easier." (interviewed in 1988 for The Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn)

          • Re:I blame (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday July 30, 2012 @01:37AM (#40815029)

            But these may be more what you are referring to...

            quote from another site:
            Ringo hated drum solos, which should win points with quite a few people. He only took one solo while with the Beatles. His eight measure solo appears during "The End" on the "B" side of Abbey Road. Some might say that it is not a great display of technical virtuosity, but they would be at least partially mistaken. You can set an electronic metronome to a perfect 126 beats per minute, then play it along with Ringo's solo and the two will stay exactly together.

            Ringo's ability to play odd time signatures helped to push popular songwriting into uncharted areas. Two examples are "All you Need is Love" in 7/4 time, and "Here Comes the Sun" with repeating 11/8, 4/4, and 7/8 passages in the chorus.

            So he could vary the tempo internally while maintaining a perfect beat (from one recording to the next apparently which let them easily cut the music together) in that section.

            • Re:I blame (Score:5, Interesting)

              by bfandreas (603438) on Monday July 30, 2012 @06:02AM (#40816073)
              Daltrey, Entwistle and Townshend could nip off to the pub leaving only Moon and his goldfish on the stage. Bonzo of Led Zep was something of the same caliber.
              You can't replace people like this with a machine and they are not robots. Being able to vary is what sets artists apart from pastic stuff with midi ports.
              I'd take a Buddy Rich over any sort of synthesized BS. It's the rough edges that keep stuff interesting.
              I blame techno and the 90ies. They replaced real drum work with a tortoise in a trashcan that got kicked down a flight of stairs.
              And in the 80ies we got the unholy trinity of Stock/Aitcken/Waterman who really figured out how to mass produce 'hits'. As long as people listen to codpiece Cowell we'd better not turn on the radio or TV because BS seems to sell.

              Popular music has got no soul left. Crap in the 50ies, 60ies and 70ies had to be played mostly by real musicians.
      • Don't blame tech (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday July 30, 2012 @02:04AM (#40815135) Journal

        There used to be a "rule" that music had a beginning, a middle and an end. Lots of music still does but "techno" (excuse my ignorance on a type of music I don't like listening to) has some songs (not all) that are just a synthesizer left on auto-run and song "length" is just how long it took the sound engineer to take a crap after he hit record and hitting stop.

        It is probably valid music but it doesn't carry much variation.

        Some music is meant to be enjoyed with beer and some is meant to be enjoyed with xtc. Want variance? Go for music that doesn't require you to cripple your brain first.

        Because the article makes one fatal flaw. The old music, it is still here. Never went away in fact. With each new song, the variation goes UP not down. It might not be a variant you like but you can still listen to the old stuff. And lets be honest, back in the golden days, the pop charts were just a filled with the same copies as now. The difference is that we only remember the really good ones.

        Listen to a top 2000 from the bottom. It takes a LONG time before the music starts getting good.

    • Re:I blame (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:20AM (#40814647) Homepage

      I wonder.... does the sheer quantity of pop music compensate for the loss of quality.
      Is is just that overal songs have gotten more similar or that more similar sounding songs are being released.
      Is there still the same amount of non-similar songs?

    • by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:30PM (#40814005) Journal

      Eh.. Only four bases used in your DNA. What's your point?

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      Which of course is clearly inspired by this:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM [youtube.com]

    • by billstewart (78916) on Monday July 30, 2012 @02:18AM (#40815183) Journal

      Woody Guthrie said that if you're using more than three or four chords in a song you're just showing off. And a lot of the garage bands of the 50s-70s started off only knowing four chords, and that was really enough; you could always transpose if you didn't know the chords.

      I play a few genres of traditional music - old-timey, Irish, a bit of bluegrass, some folk, some German. I mainly play mountain dulcimer, which is a diatonic instrument, so changing keys is annoying, since you have to retune, as opposed to guitars, pianos, and accordions where you've got the whole chromatic scale there. It turns out that there's a very wide range of music that not only uses only 3 or 4 chords per song, but always uses the same scale because that's friendly to the fiddle player or piper, and also if you don't have many strings, you can't play very complicated chords. But just because it's the same few chords, that doesn't mean the melodies aren't complex and/or weird, and I don't think they were measuring that.

      So it's I, IV, V (or V7, especially for blues), and maybe a VII or the minor ii or minor vi. And the key is usually in D or G, or E minor for Irish, or A for old-timey (though the A tunes might not be an major scale - they're often Dorian or Mixolydian, which are a bit minor, though the chords will usually still be A, D, G, and sometimes E.) So the chords end up as D, G, A, C, and occasionally E or Em or Bm.

      French traditional music seems to mostly use a C scale instead of a D (so it's like playing on the white keys of the piano instead of transposed up a whole step.) I've been doing some German beergarden stuff recently, and it's been all over the map - most of it's 3 or 4 chords, but maybe the key is C or F or Bflat (which is brass-friendly), and there are a lot of 7th chords because accordions are good at those and they sound a bit schmaltzier.

      And yes, the jazz and classical people always did much fancier chord work. And there are a lot of amazing guitarists out there, and sometimes if you can't figure out how they played something it was because they're using alternate guitar tunings to get different chord inversions, or they threw in an ARRR-flat-7th-diminished-dominant9th chord just to add some color or because it matched the lyrics or covered up the horribly wrong note the bass player had just played. (By contrast, if a bluegrass guitar wants to show off, it's more likely to be by playing a riff extra-fast by adding grace notes, or by throwing in a few bars from another well-known song that's related in some way. And if Woody Guthrie wanted to show off, he'd doing it by writing some really incisive lyrics or getting the audience to go on strike.)

  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:16PM (#40813939)

    Scientific approach aside, I think the more interested you are in something, not just a musical genre, the more you are inclined to notice the components which differentiate one from the other. If you aren’t interested in a specific genre of music, then yeah, it’s all going to sound the same because your brain goes into "ugh, techo" mode.

    My music tastes tend to hover around the classic/progressive rock band. Most Techo/electric/dubstep/house/etc all sounds the same to me because my brain doesn’t even spend the effort to actually listen (where it would notice the differences) and just goes “ick”. Same with pop music, country, rap.. (especially rap!).

    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:55PM (#40814189) Journal

      I don't think it's merely perception in your case. Classical music reached considerable complexity, and the modern forms in some cases are even more complex, both in chords, changes and even in the scales used. Progressive rock in many cases has tried to replicate, though not often with as much success, the complexity and diversity of classical forms. You take a band like, say, King Crimson, where Fripp and his cowriters went out of their way to use bizarre tunings, strange chord sequences ripped from jazz, classical and even early and mid-20th century avante garde. The same goes for many 1970s prog rock acts like Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes. Some of the progressive rock musicians, like Robert Fripp, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Neil Peart, Tony Banks, David Gilmour and Rick Wakeman are considered some of the most talented musicians to play "popular" music. There are still a few acts out there that follow in their steps, but by and large full blown prog rock pretty much died by the early 1980s, which is when I think you began to see the beginnings of a slide towards conformity.

      But also keep in mind here that most popular musicians from the post-war period onward did not receive any kind of formal training. While that doesn't make becoming a good songwriter impossible, it makes it harder. What I will note from my knowledge of popular music over the last half century is that those songwriters who did excel were ones who often had a very wide familiarity with music. Take the Beatles. You listen to a lot of their early recordings, in particular the BBC Sessions from 1963 to 1965, you find that these guys had an enormous wealth of popular and obscure songs in many genres; rock, rockabilly, R&B, blues, jazz, show tunes, country and western, in fact they were walking encyclopedias of music from the pre-war and immediate post-war period, so when they went to pen their own songs, even the seeming trifles from early on, they could draw on that encyclopedia to come up with all sorts of odd changes and surprising chord progressions you wouldn't expect to find from four young men of seemingly limited experience.

      • Progressive rock in many cases has tried to replicate, though not often with as much success, the complexity and diversity of classical forms.

        Eh ?
        Look mate....... All the truly great music, anything from Beethoven to the Rolling Stones, sounds very simple, but when you break it down you realise it's actually very complex.

        Prog Rock on the other hand, sounds very complex, but when you break it down you realise it's moronic. :-)

  • 9dB is ALOT (Score:3, Informative)

    by morcego (260031) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:19PM (#40813957)

    9 might sound like a small number, but dB is a logarithmic measuring. 9dB louder (please correct me if I'm wrong) mean 8 TIMES louder.

    • by Anrego (830717) *

      To further complicate things however, it is not directly tied to perception either..

      In other words, it doesn't actually sound 8 times louder...

    • Re:9dB is ALOT (Score:5, Informative)

      by countach74 (2484150) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:28PM (#40813995)
      A 3dB increase represents twice as much "power", but the human ear does not perceive the increase in quite the same way. About 10 dB is perceived as "twice as loud."
    • by arth1 (260657)

      9 might sound like a small number, but dB is a logarithmic measuring. 9dB louder (please correct me if I'm wrong) mean 8 TIMES louder.

      That depends on what you mean by louder. If, as I think is reasonable, you see (hear) it from a listener perspective, then 9 dB is three small volume steps - the smallest step in volume that's apparent to most listeners is around 3 dB.

      Also, as the total dB goes up, the difference becomes less important - a 110 dB fricking loud isn't that much different from a 118 dB fricking loud, despite the energy being much higher.

  • Big surprise? (Score:5, Informative)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:42PM (#40814095)

    Is it a big surprise that contemporary music sounds alike? They keep sampling each other's songs, with and without permission, and recycling the all sorts of song elements. That is before you consider different bands performing each other's music outright. The current custom seems to produce homogenized music.

    Rick James - Super Freak [youtube.com]
    MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This [youtube.com]
    Jay - Z Kingdom Come. [youtube.com]
    Gucci Mane - Freaky Gurl [youtube.com]

    Wikipedia has a more complete list. [wikipedia.org]

  • by dark grep (766587) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @10:44PM (#40814115)

    No pun intended, but Phil Specter knew that 49 years ago. The son 'Da doo Ron Ron' was deliberately made to be the sum of all pop songs, which was the theory behind the Wall of Sound', and IMHO has artistic merit for that point alone.

  • off key (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:15PM (#40814287) Homepage Journal

    The purpose of popular music was never to provide musical diversity and variety. At root, it's a folk art form and like all folk art forms, it's going to be stylistically similar.

    If you look at the popular music of 16th century England or 19th century America (the two countries who have the biggest effect on worldwide pop music) you would probably find even less musical variety than the music of today.

    Also, remember, that the 1950s, the era that this study compares to our current era, there was a confluence of some very different musical forms making up "pop music". There was big band music, with roots in Jazz and the American Songbook, there was country, blues, R&B all collapsing in on each other to form the popular music of the day. You might hear Tommy Dorsey, Frankie Lane, gospel, Louis Jordan, Hank Williams. Top 40 radio of even the 1960s would have the Beatles fighting it out for the top of the charts with Sergio Mendes, elements of deep country, Frank Sinatra singing "strangers in the night" and Sonny and Cher, folk music, etc.

    But the biggest influence on the homogeneity of current popular music is the concentration of ownership of media outlets. You have a handful of companies owning 90% (or more) of the radio stations in the US, for example. You scan the dial in LA, Chicago, New York, Memphis or Rolla Missouri and you're going to hear the same top 20 songs, the same "classic oldies" stations, the same "urban contemporary" and they're all owned by the same companies, using their market position to put the same exact formats (and often the same exact program directors) on all of the stations in any given category.

    The days of the independent radio stations is over. Satellite radio was supposed to offer variety, but now there's even a growing concentration of ownership in those stations. And who sells all the records? Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and other chains, who really aren't going to give you much variety.

    It's not the music that's lacking variety, it's the economy.

    • Re:off key (Score:4, Insightful)

      by StripedCow (776465) on Monday July 30, 2012 @05:42AM (#40816003)

      It's not the music that's lacking variety, it's the economy.

      Copyright replaced passion for composing music by greed.
      Instead of making music that touches the heart, nowadays the only music that is created is the kind that sells best.
      Copyright is, contrary to political belief, not a good thing.

      It is almost like small-term investments. Optimize your profits, and don't think about societal impact, and true wealth (happiness).

      We need to seriously consider that our capitalist view of the world is just not so perfect after all.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Sunday July 29, 2012 @11:30PM (#40814369)
    ...of real musicians creating real music with real instruments... http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D9wLQNrr15sA&v=9wLQNrr15sA&gl=US [youtube.com] Enjoy...
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:10AM (#40814585)

    There are a lot of songs you can recognize instantly from the 60's and 70's because they used unusual instruments like the sitar.

    • by whoever57 (658626) on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:50AM (#40814805) Journal

      There are a lot of songs you can recognize instantly from the 60's and 70's because they used unusual instruments like the sitar.

      For me, the '70s brought synthesizers which introduced a radical change in music. Prog Rock from the '70s was significant different to its predecessors and successors. Think of Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, etc..

  • by mister2au (1707664) on Monday July 30, 2012 @12:35AM (#40814725)

    Really simplistically, recording with 9dB less headroom increases the AVERAGE volume by 9db and the PEAK by 0db.

    So adjusting your listening environment back down by 9dB to compensate for the 'loudness wars' and return the music to same AVERAGE level actually reduces the PEAK volume by 9dB ... either the average volume goes up or the peak volume comes down, or in reality partly both

    Simply, the loudness wars caused the PEAK volume to decrease ... feel free to disagree ;-)

  • A few complaints (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Keen Anthony (762006) on Monday July 30, 2012 @01:09AM (#40814875)

    Understanding that pop music in this article surely refers to popular music of today and not specifically electronic, mostly dance, music, I've got a few complaints about this article.

    1. If you analyze music based solely on the mathematical characteristics of the sound without any historical or cultural context, you might as well follow with a critique of paintings by counting the number of colors used by Rembrandt vs those used by Warhol.

    2. Music is genealogy. Ergo, similarity must exist. It indicates the convergence of genetics from multiple sources into a singular modern pop musical form. Today's popular music can have a rhythm section that borrows heavily from Caribbean sounds which borrow from African, and yet have neo-classical European influences in the melody. We'll ignore the fact as we're talking about western music, we're already dealing with a specific set of genetic traits.

    3. The commonality of musical instruments (digital gear included) means that there will be common sounds. Most the hot rodded guitar pickups you buy today are based on one of two platforms: mahogany and maple bodied PAF guitar or alder/ash bodied single coil guitar. PAF was a 50's era technology. One of the pickups I play today is a 36th Anniversary Dimarzio PAF that is a copy of the original Gibson PAF. Also: Def Leppard's "Hysteria", ZZ Top's "Eliminator", and Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" are three genetically diverse rock albums which share a similar sound because all three employ the use of Tom Scholz' Rockman guitar amp, compressor and chorus/echo gear which Tom created to encapsulate his signature Boston guitar sound. Additionally, much of the synth sounds used in pop music are signature preset sounds that vary between brands and models of keyboard synthesizers. Yes, folks, just as there is a Fender sound and a Marshall sound, there is also a Korg sound and a Roland sound.

    4. Music has gotten louder in part because music has gotten heavier due to the influences of each generation before. I myself a British rock guitarist. My sound is the British sound (ie, Marshall amps, V shape equalization, heavy overdriven PAF style humbucker sound with obvious blues background that originate in the Mississippi Delta mixed with decidedly German cultural influences). I was influenced by bands that were influenced by Led Zeppelin, Buddy Guy, and so on. The kids who came after me were influenced by bands that were contemporary to my sound (Metallica and so on). There's a reason why I don't hear a lot of blues in today's harder heavy metal, and it's because those kids grew up listening to Metallica in the 90s whereas I grew watching Metallica in the 80s. Every genre of music has gotten heavier. Hip Hop/Rap musicians aren't doing Zip Zap Rap anymore. Even American country music is heavier and more rocking today than during the days of Merle Haggard. Pop music today is heavily influenced by the club scene as it has been for a long time. And today's club scene is very bass-heavy.

    5. 60 years is not a long enough time to be making an educated criticism about how today's music sounds the same. 60 years is not even the lifetime of a person. 60 years means I can take Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Ry Cooder, Frank Zappa, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Adrian Smith, Paul Gilbert, Slash, John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa, and Orianthi Panagaris, and put them into a single room and they will find a common dialect in music with which to communicate. And actually, with a few exceptions, I can do that. The point is, in 2012, we're still only a few generations removed from the earlier pop musical forms that are perceivably distinct enough that we'd consider them alien in comparison; for example, big band music.

    6. Congratulations, with this research at hand, some crotchety geezer can shout that it sounds the same, then blame some anonymous music industry exec for ensuring that all music anywhere is exactly similar.

    • A big problem with this article, and this conversation overall, is that what is understood as "Pop" music and what is understood as "Blues/Blues Rock/Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal/etc" are two completely and different styles and audiences. IMHO, the latter categories haven't made a dent into the world of "Pop" since at least the early 90's. The current definition of "Pop" is more closely aligned with the stomach turning phlegm(almost all of which has a definite and easy to notice "club sound" influence) we c
  • by Genda (560240) <mariet.got@net> on Monday July 30, 2012 @01:32AM (#40815003) Journal

    Look at the 70s. The vastness of musical genres was amazing. As bad as the recording industry was, it just let artists be artists and we got a 1,000 unique styles and voices. Look at the female vocalists. Not a professional model among the lot, but sweet jebus they could wail your brains out at 50 paces. Today must is preprogrammed, preprocessed, tested for all the parameters that will make it a top 20s hit, and press fit to the production standards bankers have come to know and love. The women are all size 0, curly blonds, with precise the right dimples, and are so perky you wanna stick'em with hat pins to see if they explode.

    Go to the indie providers. All the great musicians are still making music, just not for the bankers.

  • by wienerschnizzel (1409447) on Monday July 30, 2012 @04:14AM (#40815695)

    It's easy to dismiss today's pop-music as simplistic and look up to Wagners and Mozarts of the past. However, 200 years ago, most of the western worlds population never heard an opera and the music they were playing/singing and listening to was just as simplistic. A typical tune, like Pastime with Good Company [youtube.com] was nowhere near the complexity of the Ride of the Valkyries

    On the other hand, there is still a lot of serious music being made [youtube.com] now-days that is being listened to by a minority, just like before.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAylogfO7Hs [youtube.com]

    ^ wouldn't work if it was too complex (may still not work as is for you, but works for me).

    If you make it because you want to say something, or just hypnotize and/or enjoy yourself, anything you do is a Good Thing in my books. If music becomes more simple on average, that might also mean it becomes more accessible? By that I mean, every fucktard can make "music" these days -- I must know, I did it myself. And yes, it's super simple and shallow, I ain't a musician. But it's fun to do, and beats just singing the songs others wrote.

    Also, I will always love the song "Doop". Sue me :P Actually, there are many simple songs I like... for example, how is The Blue Danube Waltz [youtube.com] not simple, and how is that a problem? To me that is THE pop song of classical music, and I love it to bits.

    Orwell said about writing that bloat and pretension come from dishonest aims. I think that's not entirely fair (when taken out of context at least), because maybe it also can come from the sheer joy of language and strange words, sometimes. And perhaps you can say the same for music... sometimes it's complex because someone got really lost into what they were doing, sometimes it's complex because it's over-engineered bullshit, sometimes it's simple because it came from the heart from untalented or unpracticed fingers, sometimes it's simple because it's a money-making scam. I'd say, play from and listen with your heart. The calculator cannot help you here.

    Take this [youtube.com] for example. Is it music? For me it's just a buildup to be able to say something in last part, only then the previous repetition takes on meaning by being chopped up... that's just a guess, I can't put the finger on why I adore this song.. maybe I'm just rationalizing it ^^ But for me the intro HAS to be simple and kinda boring, so the ending has a stage on which to do a very short and very powerful dance. Not complex by any means, and it would mean nothing, or anything, without the vocal sample. So what... ?

  • by BenBoy (615230) on Monday July 30, 2012 @09:08AM (#40817505)

    If you get your music from your local ClearChannel station, or via American Idol / the Musical Industrial Complex, sure, you get homogenized pap. But there is good music out there. It's just not presented to you any more ... you've got to dig a bit. Go listen to a few local acts, or tune in when you watch a good indy flic (how I discovered Tom Waits).
    It's out there and it's worth finding -- as much or more variety as there's ever been, but better hidden.

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