06/08/12
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Comment: “LMFAO Are Fucking Terrible, Man. Put On The Beatles Or Something!” —Science

In a study that will no doubt delight the reddit community and provide geriatrics with ammunition in their war against ‘the racket kids are listening to these days’, contemporary pop music has been found to be more dull and unoriginal than the pop music of yesteryear. Isn’t it amazing what science can quantify!

The study was conducted by researchers in Spain who ran Top-40 ‘pop’ music from the last 50 years into a ‘Million Song Dataset’, which breaks down music and evaluates its components in accordance with complex algorithms. In the words of the co-ordinator of the study, Joan Serra, “We found evidence of a progressive homogenisation of the musical discourse… we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations— roughly speaking chords plus melodies—has consistently diminished in the last 50 years”.

Also measured was the ‘timbre pallet’, or the diversity of the musical instruments and sounds featured. Serra’s team discovered evidence that contemporary pop music lacks the diverse array of sounds prominent in previous decades. Essentially, modern pop music is bland and monochromatic compared to the more piquant flavourings of previous years pop.

It is worth noting, however, that the criteria the study bases ‘blandness’ on is tenuous indeed. Making lack of ‘diversity of transitions’, or repetition, analogous to ‘dull’ would indict not only pop but classical composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich, the critics’ darling Burial, the entirety of the House genre and the majority of Punk (to name but a few).

Meanwhile, reports that Serra was seen downing a handful of Amphetamines with a bottle of wine before screaming along to Carly Ray Jepsen’s ‘Call me Maybe’ at last Friday’s office party were met with “you must be thinking of somebody else, surely” and “uhh… no comment”.

This study appears in the journal Scientific Reports. 

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