The Science Behind Why Popular Music Is So Awful
You’re not just stuck in the past; today’s pop music, including pop-country, really is terrible and science has verified this. Complexity, timbrel diversity and volume are three key parameters of a song where Justin Bieber‘s hit “Baby” and the Beatles‘ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band sit at different ends of the spectrum that this video analyzes. [youtube id=”oVME_l4IwII” width=”600″ height=”350″]As for volume, The Who, a band noted for using lots of it, knew enough to vary it and in doing so made “Baba O’Reily” a huge hit. Ditto for Zep‘s “Stairway to Heaven.” Imagine either of those hits mixed so that every note had the same at volume as the loudest note in the song. That’s how they mix pop tunes these days and why, as the video explains, songs sound the same, not only between one song and another, but in the same song from end to end.
There’s more in the video, including a dissection of the “Millennial Whoop,” named after a three-note sequence that’s a must in every new pop song. The Millennial Whoop combined with brutally repetitive drum tracks and banal lyrics has reduced pop music to sonic wallpaper. Sonic wallpaper is the mother’s milk of streaming services like Spotify and XM: “If you like that, then you’ll like this,” from here to eternity. All a person has to do is hit that “like” button to be musically doomed forever, and ever, amen.
If there’s a smile to be found in this depressing situation, it might be in Bo Burnham‘s answer to the horror that soccer mom country has wrought. [youtube id=”MPTKR12cUqc” width=”600″ height=”350″]