If you’ve suspected that all the songs on the radio are starting to sound the same, you’re not just being a curmudgeon. Science says you’re objectively right. A new study that analyzes songs from nearly 45,000 artists released between 1955 and 2010 demonstrates that not only is pop music becoming more homogenous, it’s getting louder, too.
Researchers parsed the sound data of nearly half a million songs to try to map out structural trends on popular music. They noticed that timbral variety has been on the decline since the ’60s; or, in other words, everything since the Beatles has started to sound more and more like everything else. And in case you hadn’t noticed, popular songs have upped the volume across the board. Play a Lady Gaga song next to a Madonna song without tweaking the volume knob and I’m sure you’ll recognize how one’s a greater assault on your ears.
But this should come as no surprise to anyone who’s realized how much more corporate pop music has become since the birth of rock n’ roll. Fewer singles are written by actual artists; they’re written by panels, by executives, by industry machines. I mean, half the pop hits of the ’90s were written by one dude in Sweden, and he’s still profiting from the corporate noise pollution. Of course it’s going to get a little samey up in here. [The Verge]
Photo: Silvio Tanaka/Wikimedia Commons