A recent study have shown that modern pop music really is louder and does all sound the same.
Researchers in Spain used a huge archive known as the Million Song Dataset, which breaks down audio and lyrical content into data that can be crunched, to study pop songs from 1955 to 2010. A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through some complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used.
"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", Serra told Reuters
They also found the so-called timbre palette has become poorer. The same note played at the same volume on, say, a piano and a guitar is said to have a different timbre, so the researchers found modern pop has a more limited variety of sounds. Intrinsic loudness is the volume baked into a song when it is recorded, which can make it sound louder than others even at the same volume setting on an amplifier.
The music industry has long been accused of ramping up the volume at which songs are recorded in a 'loudness war' but Serra says this is the first time it has been properly measured using a large database.
The study, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, offers a handy recipe for musicians in a creative drought: old tunes re-recorded with increased loudness, simpler chord progressions and different instruments could sound new and fashionable.
I agree with Joan Serra, in general. I've never been interested in popular music apart from this or that individual song. Backbeat I find monotonous and it tends to give me a headache.
I did go through an interval in the late '60s and early '70s when I enjoyed the then-popular Folk and Folk-rock, at least certain artists. Since then it's been all classical with just a little jazz, mostly Hard-bop and Modal.
What you are seeing here is the transition from full studio quality recording, to more home based recording on DAW's. It could also be the result of going from analog to pro tools based recording. If you use the A/D and D/A converters in the software, it is known to slightly bleach timbre. These things coupled with the fact there are only a dozen or so producers producing pop music, and the shrinking recording budgets, and you have the receipe for highly compressed, timbre bleached, overly processed sound with little variety in beat and tune.
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These things coupled with the fact there are only a dozen or so producers producing pop music, and the shrinking recording budgets, and you have the receipe for highly compressed, timbre bleached, overly processed sound with little variety in beat and tune.
Might as well add excessive bass to the mix also
I watch local music channels (CoolTV) which play today's pop tune videos and some of songs make my subwoofer to go overdrive. The excessive bass almost make it unlistenable. The producers must be deaf.
I've noticed the higher recorded volume, but pop songs over the last couple of years (especially GAGA) have this crashy sound to it, making the song unlistenable. It's even more noticible on a hifi system.