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Opening Arguments

The song remains the same

Just in time for my fuddy-duddy "this dang music today is awful" stage comes this validation:

The scepticism about modern music shared by many middle-aged fans has been vindicated by a study of half a century's worth of pop music, which found that today's hits really do all sound the same.

Parents who find their children's thumping stereos too much to bear will also be comforted to know that it isn't just the effect of age: modern songs have also grown progressively louder over the past 50 years.

The study, by Spanish researchers, analysed an archive known as the Million Song Dataset to discover how the course of music changed between 1955 and 2010.

While loudness has steadily increased since the 1950s, the team found that the variety of chords, melodies and types of sound being used by musicians has become ever smaller.

Of course if they'd studied even further back, they probably would have discovered the same thing. The big band classics had considerably more variety than rock 'n' roll, and a good symphony is a trifle more complex than any of it. And any style of music we don't like "all sounds the same." I can't tell the difference between one hip-hop song and another, but I can hear nuances you wouldn't believe in bluegrass. I suspect our tastes are cemented when we're young, which probably makes the "this lousy music today" a universal component of the human condition.

Still. That music the kids listen to today. Sucks. Absolutely.