By Frisco Rosso
After years of listening to the sharp retorts and general moaning of parents, as well as other know-it-all elder types, it seems there is now scientific evidence that they weren’t just being “old” and crotchety after all.
A study in Spain has come to the conclusion that pop music has become louder over the years and that essentially it now all sounds the same, with chords and melodies becoming increasingly mediocre and insipid.
Hardly “shock, shock, horror, horror” considering we pretty much knew this anyway, and if you didn’t you should probably be playing in the garden now instead of reading this.
Joan Serra, an artificial intelligence expert at the Spanish National Research Council, along with fellow researchers, used a colossal archiving system known as the Million Song Dataset to analyse approximately half a million pop tracks recorded between 1955 and 2010. The system is said to deconstruct lyrical and audio content which can then be analysed through algorithms of numbers and symbols to find patterns and relationships.
Serra is quoted as saying, “Much of the gathered evidence points towards an important degree of conventionalism, in the sense of blockage or no-evolution, in the creation and production of contemporary Western popular music.
“We found evidence of a progressive homogenisation of the musical discourse. In particular, 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,” she said.
The study also found that contemporary pop music has fewer sounds and an increasingly limited timbre palette, which essentially means that future generations will be happy to listen to the sound of a stick against wood or, more aptly, of hitting their own heads repeatedly against a wall.
As The Ataris once proclaimed “The Radio Still Sucks”. Yes, yes it does, but maybe that’s because we’re not doing enough to steer precious DJs away from their daily crap quota, supplied by record labels who like to keep the mainstream dumb, shallow and above all massively profitable. Just a thought.
So, “cheers to the freakin’ weekend” but don’t sink to that. Yeah, yeah etc… zzzzZZZzzzzZZZzzzz.
You can check out the report and exposé of an increasingly short-changing and brain-dead industry here.
With more tension than your mother’s suspension, I am Frisco Rosso. I’m likely to deliver a few lines worth at any given moment regarding film, music, sport, books and anything morally unsound that strikes a blow between the eyes in the name of entertainment.