If, like us, you’ve been poking around second-hand furniture stores looking for just the right rocking chair from which to gripe about “kids today” and how everything is going to hell, we’ve got some good news for you: Science is on your side!
See, it turns out that scholars at the Spanish National Research Council have scientifically proven something really, really revelatory: Music on the radio is getting crappier. It’s not your imagination!
From analyzing what seems like objective criteria — ranging from “pitch content” to “timbral variety” — on 60 years worth of popular music, the scientists concluded that today’s popular melodies are all too similar. Fewer chord changes. “Less adventurous.” And popular music, adventure-wise, peaked somewhere in the 60s. Since then, it’s been rapidly going down the toilet.
Well, duh. Now excuse us as we go back to listening to the Mamas and the Papas.
But wait! If this news weren’t bad enough, the report also says that this bad music is louder — “increasing by about one decibel every eight years” — which, the researchers argue, pretty much destroys those parts of a song that would otherwise be dynamic. (Scientific American, which reported on the study, includes a link to an interesting YouTube video to demonstrate.)
Of course, as with any scientific study, there are debates about methodology. In this case, it’s whether the study’s inclusion of fewer songs from the 50s than from the 00s could be skewing the results. The “oldies” that are popular digital downloads today are songs that have more or less stood the test of time and are perhaps more “adventurous” than the blander stuff that was more popular then but now forgotten. In other words, if you’re a Rosemary Clooney fan today, it’s unlikely your favorite song is “Come On-a My House.”
Yet, debate aside, we have to ask: Who needed a rocket scientist to tell them that Justin Beiber sucks? After all, if popular music weren’t worse than ever, why would the US Navy be using Britney Spears to torture Somali pirates? (Really!)
We’ll read the full report once we’re done with The Complete Andy Rooney. Because we’re not against the idea of scientists proving stuff. We love science! Today’s scientists are brave soldiers — especially the ones who try to debate things with the hosts of FOX & Friends.
And we’re eagerly anticipating what awesome — yet completely obvious — things scientists will prove next. Bring it on, science! Rolling our eyes and mouthing “I knew it” is just about all the exercise we get, some days.
Let’s open this up. What do YOU think will be the blatantly obvious thing science will prove next? Tell us!