A new study out of 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.
The team, led by Joan Serra, ran the music through complex algorithms and found that pops songs have become louder and more bland, in terms of the chords melodies, and types of sounds used, in the last 50 years.
“We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse,” Serra told Reuters. “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.”
The research has also shown that the timbre palette of pop music has become poorer. The same note played at the same volume on different instruments, like a piano versus a guitar, has a different timbre. Because of the instruments used in modern pop, researchers found it has a more limited variety of sounds.
The volume baked into a song when it is recorded, or the Intrinsic Loudness, has been ramped up over the years.
The study, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, has given scientific evidence that shows what everyone over the age of 40 already knows. Modern pop music is too loud and all sounds the same.