The TRUTH Why Modern Music Is Awful

The TRUTH Why Modern Music Is Awful

Hey Thoughty2 here. On the 6th December 1966 four guys from Liverpool
stepped into Abbey Road Studios and began to record an album. 333 hours and many questionable substances
later, The Beatles had emerged having produced their eight album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It would go on to sell over 32 million copies
worldwide and be named the greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine and
many other publications. It was highly experimental, using mould-breaking
techniques and a huge array of unusual instruments. The band had produced an emotional masterpiece
that epitomised the so called summer of love and was a true masterpiece of its time, yet
it remains just as relevant and powerful today. Fast forward 44 years to 2010 and Justin Bieber
released his hit single “Baby”, this is generally considered to be a bad move. So what went wrong? How did we go from Bob Dylan to Britney Spears,
from Led Zeppelin to Lady Gaga and The Kinks to Katy Perry. But who am I to criticise the musical tastes
of the vast majority of today’s youth? Personally, my musical tastes are stuck in
middle of last century, but you may think that just makes me old fashioned, stuck in
the past and I should move with the times. But here’s the thing, there is far to this
than simple nostalgia and when your parents keep telling you that the music died long
ago, they may actually have a point, because it turns out science agrees with them. Over the past thirty-plus years researchers
have been studying how trends in music have changed. And a recent study in 2012 by the Spanish
National Research Council revealed that the suspicions of somewhat antiquated individuals
such as myself are very true, music IS getting worse every year. The researchers took around 500,000 recordings
from all genres of music from the period of 1955 to 2010 and they meticulously ran every
single song through a set of complex algorithms. These algorithms measured three distinct metrics
of each song, the harmonic complexity, timbral diversity and loudness. The most shocking result that the researchers
found was that over the past few decades, timbre in songs has dropped drastically. Timbre is the texture, colour and quality
of the sounds within the music, in other words, timbre is the song’s richness and depth of
sound. The researchers found that timbral variety
peaked in the 1960s and has since been steadily declining. The timbral palette has been homogenised,
meaning songs increasingly have less diversity with their instruments and recording techniques. This divide is clearly evident if we take
what is widely considered to be The Beatle’s masterpiece, A Day In The Life, which was
recorded using an orchestra of forty musicians. But this is not classical music, this is pop. The five minute piece contains violins, violas,
cellos, double bass, a harp, clarinets, an oboe, bassoons, flutes, french horns, trumpets,
trombones, a tuba and of course the four band members playing their usual instruments over
the top. In contrast Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines uses
but one instrument, a drum machine. And yes this a rather extreme example, a song
known for it’s one-dimensional but punchy baseline. But it represents an overall trend with modern
pop music that the researchers found in their data. Instead of experimenting with different musical
techniques and instruments, the vast majority of pop today is built using the exact same
combination of a keyboard, drum machine, sampler and computer software. This might be considered as progressive by
some, but in truth it sucks the creativity and originality out of music, making everything
sound somewhat similar. Do you ever flick through the radio and think
to yourself “all these songs sound the same?”. What the researchers found is that the melodies,
rhythms and even the vocals of popular music have become more and more similar to each
other since the sixties. One facet of this homogenisation of popular
music was pointed out by musical blogger Patrick Metzger. Metzger noticed that hundreds of pop artists
were using the exact same sequence of notes that alternate between the fifth and third
notes of a major scale. This is usually accompanied by a vocal “Wa-oh-wa-oh”
pattern. Metzger named this the “Millennial Whoop”
and it sounds like this. The Millennial Whoop can be found in hundreds
of chart-topping pop songs created over the past few years, and its usage is becoming
more frequent. From Katy Perry’s California Girls to Justin
Bieber’s baby, literally every single major pop star today has included the Millennial
Whoop in at least one of their songs. But why? Well, quite simply, familiarity. Our brain likes familiarity, the more we hear
the same sounds the more we enjoy them. The millennial whoop has become a powerful
and predictable way to subconsciously say to the masses, “hey listen to this new song,
it’s really cool, but don’t worry you will like it because it’s really familiar, you’ve
kind of heard it a hundred times before”. And in this wildly unpredictable world, this
makes us feel safe. Sticking to the same cookie-cutter formula
comforts people and that’s important. But what about lyrics? Well, I’m afraid it’s bad news there too. Another study examined the so called “Lyric
Intelligence” of hundreds of Billboard chart-topping songs over the past ten years. They used different metrics such as the Flesch–Kincaid
readability index, which indicates how difficult a piece of text is to understand and the quality
of the writing. This was the result, over the past ten years
the average lyric intelligence has dropped by a full grade. Lyrics are also getting shorter and tend to
repeat the same words more often. We’ve gone from the absolute poetic beauty
of Bob Dylan and Morrissey too well… this… and this… What if I also told you that the vast majority
of chart-topping music in the past 20 years was written by just two people. What do Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Ellie
Goulding, Robin Thicke, Jessie J, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake,
Maroon 5, Pink, Leona Lewis, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Kesha, The Backstreet
Boys, Westlife, NSYNC, Adam Lambert and all have in common? The answer: their songwriter. I’m not saying 100% of their songs, but a
good chunk of all of these artist’s songs were written by the same Swedish man, Mr.
Max Martin. This one man is singlehandedly responsible
for over two-dozen number one singles and thousands of songs in the top 100 charts over
the past decades. He has written universally recognisable tracks
such as “I kissed a girl”, “Baby one more time”, “Since u been gone”, “California Gurls”,
“Shake it off” and so, so many more. And if Max Martin didn’t write it American
signer-songwriter Lukasz Gottwald most probably did. Known professionally as “Dr. Luke”, together
with Max Martin, they account for the lyrics and melodies behind the vast majority of pop
music today. You’ve likely never heard of them and that
is very intentional. These two men are the hidden pop factories
behind virtually every single band that is played on the radio today and probably every
music act you grew up with, if you’re under thirty-years old. And you wondered why everything sounds the
same. There are still popular, chart-topping musicians
that write the entirety of their own music today, but you have to look really, really
hard. Research has also shown that the hook, the
part of the song that really grabs us and pulls us in, is occurring sooner in modern
songs and they happen more often. Researchers believe this is because when it
comes to music, our attention spans have drastically shortened, unless a song instantly grabs us
our brains tend to shut off and ignore it, often skipping to the next song. This shortened attention span is a trend amongst
people that has only occurred in the past ten years and it’s believed to have been caused
by the instant access to millions of songs at our fingertips. It used to be the case that if you wanted
to hear a song you had to go out and buy that one single or album, take it home and play
it. You would probably play it countless times
because you had spent so much money on so few songs. Over time you would learn to appreciate all
the subtle nuances throughout the album. And then the iPod happened granting access
to thousands of songs on one device, which eventually led to streaming. Today we flick through songs on Spotify without
much thought to each song’s subtleties and unique talents. This has caused musicians and record companies
to favour punchy bass lines that demand our attention and to stuff each song full of so
called “hooks” to instantly grab our attention and keep it for as long as possible. And they’ve been doing something else in recent
years to grab our attention, something subtle but very powerful, yet so very, very wrong. For the past twenty years music producers
have been engaged in a war. The “loudness war”. The aim of this war is to produce louder music
than your competitors. But how do you make music louder when the
listener is in control of the volume, not the producer? Well, they use compression. You may have heard of dynamic range compression,
it’s the process of boosting the volume of the quietest parts of a song so they match
the loudest parts, thus reducing the dynamic range, the distance between the loudest part
and quietest part. This makes the whole song sound much, much
louder than the un-compressed version, no matter what volume the listener has set their
device to. It’s like me standing in the middle of the
street and mumbling nonsense to myself, occasionally whispers and sometimes speaking a bit louder. A few people might notice and avoid me. But then if I were to compress my dynamic
range I would suddenly be bellowing out every single word at the top of my voice, loudly
and proudly. Suddenly everyone turns around to look at
the crazy man shouting in the street and the police would be called. But this is exactly why producers do it, as
the market has become increasingly crammed with similar sounding pop music, making your
song shout louder than all the others ensures it will be heard amongst all the competition. But there’s a big price to pay for loudness. Dynamic range compression, when abused, as
it often is today, is an absolute travesty when it comes to the art of creating music. Where physics is concerned, the rule is that
you can’t make a sound louder than the volume it was recorded at, without reducing its quality. Compressing a song’s dynamic range strips
away its timbral variety. It muddies the sound, subtle nuances that
would have before been very noticeable and could have been appreciated are now, no longer
nuanced, they sound exactly the same as the rest of the track. Listen to this short recording without any
compression. Now hear what happens when the dynamic range
is compressed to match that of modern pop music. Hear how everything sounds less punchy and
vibrant, the drum beats stand out less, everything just makes less of an impact. But there’s very real reason why popular musicians
and producers today don’t stray away from their safe-haven of repetitive, monotonous
drum machines, unimaginative, factory-produced lyrics, rhythms stolen then from the previous
popular song then chopped up and changed slightly and of course, their ever popular millennial
whoops. It all has to do with risk. In the fifties, sixties and seventies record
labels would receive hundreds of demo tapes from budding young artists every week. They would sift through them and the most
talented acts would be offered record contracts. Even if they weren’t that special it didn’t
matter too much, the record label would just through a few thousand pounds into marketing
and if the public liked their music they would gain traction organically and make it big,
if not, they would fade away into the night. And this is crucial because importantly, the
public were voting with their ears for the best, the most talented musicians, singers
and songwriters. We, the people were the final judge and jury,
the ultimate arbiter. And so musicians had to be really bloody talented
to impress us enough to stick around and make more music. But this was risky, because many times record
labels would pump thousands of pounds into an act that weren’t destined to be and their
gamble wouldn’t pay off, losing their investment. But when they signed the really big acts it
would balance the books. However today promoting a new band is more
expensive than ever. Over time the cost of breaking in a new artist
onto the global music scene has sky-rocketed. In fact the IFPI reports that today it costs
anywhere between $500,000 and $3,000,000 TO sign a new act and break them into the music
scene; that’s a hell of a lot of money. Would you want to gamble with three million
dollars? No? Neither do music producers. So the industry has reacted by removing the
risk. Instead of trying to find genuine musical
talent they simply take a pretty young face, usually from a TV talent show and then simply
force the public to like them, by brainwashing them. Instead of allowing the public to grow to
like an artist and make their own mind up about the quality of their music, the industry
now simply makes you like the music, thus removing all the financial risk. Brainwash you say? How on earth do they do that? Have you ever noticed how “that” popular new
song seems to follow you around, everywhere you go. It’s on every radio station, it’s played in
your favourite stores, the supermarket, online and its even in the latest Hollywood movies
and popular TV shows? This is no coincidence. What that is in fact, is the record label’s
$3 million making sure that that new single is quite literally everywhere, completely
unescapable. Remember I was talking about the power of
familiarity? It’s called the Mere-exposure effect, a physiological
phenomenon by which people develop a preference for things they see and hear often. Our brain releases dopamine when we hear a
song we’ve heard a few times before and the effect only gets stronger with each listen. Can you remember the very first time you heard
your favourite pop songs from the past ten years? Whether it be Gangnam Style, Happy, All About
That Bass, Blurred Lines, Hotline Bling, did you truly like it the first time you heard
it? Or where you kind of repulsed? Did you have this brief moment where you thought,
what the hell is this? But then you heard it a few more times and
you began to think, well I guess it’s kinda catchy. And they your friends are all listening to
it and you hear it a few times and boom, it’s your favourite song and you can’t stop listening
to it. If this has happened to you then I’m afraid,
you have been brainwashed. The mere-exposure effect has gotten to you. Surely if a song is truly a great song, then
you wouldn’t need to force yourself to love it, you wouldn’t need to be won over through
a period of repeated exposure, you would just like it the first time you heard it. We all have different musical tastes but they
are sadly being overridden, diluted and emulsified by the brainwashing activities of big record
labels, the repeated and constant exposure to manufactured songs that we’ve heard a hundred
times before. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fantastically
talented bands out there, but in today’s industry virtually none of them will ever be signed
because they are simply too risky to promote, because they don’t fit the usual pop formula…
they are different. But being different is important. You may be thinking, “so what if I’m being
brainwashed, I enjoy contemporary popular music and isn’t that what’s important?” Yes, of course, music is an expression of
your personality and it should be enjoyed, no matter what others think. But it’s also really important to not let
creativity and originality disappear. Music as an art form is dying, it’s being
replaced by music which is a disposable product, designed to sell but not to inspire. So we shouldn’t be so complacent in allowing
systematic, cold, factory produced music to dominate or else the beautiful, soulful and
truly real music that we’ve all at some point loved and has been there through our darkest
times and our happiest times, could soon be a distant memory, never to be repeated. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “The TRUTH Why Modern Music Is Awful

  1. My neighbour uses a drum machine, can’t sing. Modern day weirdo. I block it out with the cure, stone roses, the seahorses, style council,Joy division, the jam, lightning seeds,Alison moyet, cranberries, and especially the sex pistols. Kids are all weirdos nowadays. All this shite now drives me round the bend. Shocking. wearing tight jeans and stupid bobble haircuts, set of gimps. Wouldn’t be tolerated when I was at school. Depopulation cos there all into pride and all taught to be left. My half sisters a weirdo, it riles me. Brainwashed by the system. Rant done!

  2. I don’t like mainstream music. I like hearing musical instruments with words so of the musicians I like Steve vai, Alice Cooper, Within Temptation, Ozzy Osborn, LED Zeppelin, unsun and George Thorogood. I like all types of music but I hate when I hear a new song and I think someone else is singing it because they sound the same.polyphonic computer master killed new music. If you look at Lindsey Stirling some songs may have polyphonic for the singing but she is a violinist must songs she has no one is singing. Music from other countries ( in English) sometimes is nicely designed like Within Temptation music.

  3. Billy Joel at a recent concert I went to said, “Thanks for coming, I’m still playing the same old shit I’ve been playing for 40 years” and a guy shouted, it’s better than anything today. So true.

  4. Pop is entirely shit except a few songs. HipHop has turned completely trash. EDM is changing rapidly, so some don't like it some do. But true, experimentation has reduced. Anyways this all BillBoard stuff is SHITE. Listen to channels like SuicideSheep if you want to really find some "out-of-the-box" music.

  5. Pop music as we know it was influenced by just five artists; three bands and two solo singers. The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. All playing different types of music, but ultimately remaining the gods of music. These guys had skill like no other.

    So why are artists today so talentless?

  6. I'm a big J-Pop lover, as well as old music in English. I literally have no idea what is currently number 1 in the UK/US

  7. In 1987, at the age of 40, I had finally stopped listening to the currently popular rock, and the curtain fell. For me, it had finally morphed into noise.

  8. I agree with everything accept Lady Gaga. She is for sure just as talented as any musician ever! Listen to her sing the national anthem at Super Bowl 50. Listen to her sing jazz with Tony Bennet. She wrote hit songs for other artists (Britney Spears is one) before she was famous. She started in a Led Zeppelin cover band. Listen to her sing The Sound of Music at the Oscars. If you don't believe me ask just about any older rock star like Mick Jagger, Ozzy, Sting, Elton John, Metallica, etc, etc! She has performed with ALL these people and fit right in. She was accepted at Juilliard for her piano playing.

  9. So true. Modern rap crap with its dour boring untalented angry shite and talentless arrhythmic unmusical bass with no musicality is appallingly bad.

  10. Now a days every one wants to make money in good or bad way and they only use bad way so they use this way to make music worse
    they don't care about people only money

  11. They dropped the instruments, talent and creativity and a raw sewage called RAP came out. Every track sounds the same, every loudmouth doing it sounds the same, and all you need for lyrics is profanity and violence.

  12. Futurists believe this time will be remembered as the Entertainment age Yes both music & movies have peaked already it won't get better

  13. If music is relative then nothing is better or worse than anything else. However I would say the music today is not as expressive as earlier stuff meaning there is only superficial feelings that come from it.

  14. “We are in the Golden age of music one day in the future the next generation will use machines to make music instead of relying on raw talent” – Freddie Mercury some time in the 80s

  15. I personally think the pop songs and musics are for majority of people that are simple and stupid and less intelligent :))))

  16. So what can we possibly do? I feel like it’s a lot deeper than this. Movies do it, Hollywood, Politics, everyone tries to manipulate the masses and that’s why the country is so divided right now. What can we the people possibly do about this when we can’t even join together and stand up to crap like this? Same thing with Vaping too. It’s all about money. Climate Change can be thrown in there too, literally just about anything you can think of can be questioned and when dug into deep enough you discover stuff like this. This world is in such a terrible place right now, I mean damn.

  17. I do not believe I am subject to the "familiarity" effect While some newer songs I do like, I prefer the parody videos of them, because I like to laugh. I like Katy Perrys video Roar, but only if the sound is off… lolz

  18. Wow. This is one of the most uneducated opinions on music I’ve ever seen, it’s almost impressive the amount of ignorance this has. The closest I’ve seen to this amount of ignorance in musical opinion is Ben Shapiro

  19. I don't even listen to the radio anymore, all the stations that used to play good music are gone. Youtube does a better job at predicting what music I'll like.

  20. What a heaping pile of lies and complete lack of any real understanding about the tools used to make and talk about music.

  21. This is why I like the Pogomix radio for example, there isn’t any brainwashing, people request songs and others vote is the song good or bad

  22. Well holy shit, if you consider Bob Dylan to be a good example of a creative musician, then you should definitely not be talking about music.

  23. what happens when a non-musician tries to talk about musical things. the video and the study on which it solely relies are heavily flawed from the beginning. timbre (pronounced TAM-BER, for your information) is no means to measure how 'good' music is, and neither is 'harmonic complexity.' good music exists on pretty much every point of those spectrum. pretty sure this guy couldn't even identify an N6 chord if he heard one. or could explain to you why dominant chords work.

  24. Modern pop music isn't JUST hip hop and rap. it's actually a bunch of genres mixed.
    like "pop" is just short for popular. so if you want better music that fits your taste then just don'
    t listen to the radio it's not a big deal.

  25. I wish Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Lil Pump, most mumble rappers, as well as "artists" who sing about sex and "artists" who didn't put lots of effort into the lyrics, didn't exist.

  26. Requiring half a million instruments to make a “good” song just makes the industry even more exclusive than it is now.

  27. Some songs are created using instruments, some by computers and some by MJs beatboxing, but who cares? Listen to whatever sounds good to you

  28. Peak pretentiousness at its finest, a non musician or a non audiophile thinking "Modern Music" only contains popular music
    Not knowing the cultural contexts behind why music has changed has been the largest red flag for me
    Try digging deeper next time mate

  29. You might think the beatles, (don't deserve capital letters) are awesome if you are a satanic entity worshipping lucifer.

  30. From 90s. I've been repeating ourselves in music and also Cinema, I think all of the music that they're playing on radio now he's always showing no art no excitement

  31. Music require musicians. People who write their own songs , dont use a computer to sing. Play actual instruments. Retards today don’t do any of that. Because. Jews. Don’t want you listening to though provoking shit. They want you dumb down.

  32. I mean for music just because you can use 100 instruments in a song doesn't make it better like led zeppelin's stairway to heaven has two to three instruments yet it sounds good for a reason but quality of the music made from the instrument is better than the quantity of instruments

  33. look at all the filth trash you triggered with your totally unoffensive content, how pathetic has humans become? pathetic enough to be culled

    in actuality humanity has always been pathetic enough for that

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  35. And nowdays rap music seems to be getting popular, which is even worse. Most rap songs are as much as songs as talking with a soar throat and making random noises.

  36. Uggggh
    You’re conflating mainstream music with modern music, it’s not the same thing. Modern can be pretty awesome.

    you’re someone who doesn’t know anything about music and music production.
    This study is faulty. First off, none of the ones composing the music paper have a background in music. Second it’s a very limited data set, which only takes into account the main stream, not the music around.

    All of the trends you’ve talked about have come and gone throughout history. It’s repeating it self.

    Timber doesn’t say a lot about music.

    Suggestion. Read up about music and music theory. When you’re either a producer or read up on the subject, get back to us.

    Oh max Martin or Dennis pop is not responsible for most modern pop music. That’s at most 10 percent, which is an impressive number.

    Also main stream is what sells, hence why corporations doesn’t like to take chances. Your issue is with capitalism.

  37. Modern music doesn't suck. Mainstream music does. Go listen to To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar, best album of the century.

  38. I have news for you: ALL generations love familiar music, TV and movie themes, car styles, blah, blah, blah. Advertisers have always counted on this fact. For instance, we Boomers love the cookie cutter British Invasion songs, as GREAT as they are! I remember hearing on Sirius that John Lennon himself openly loved double-tracking because he didn't like his voice "unplugged." Still, "No Reply," a Lennon classic, is my favorite Beatles song. Meanwhile, here in America, "The Wrecking Crew," led by kick-ass and versatile drummer David Blaine, backed a huge proportion of the most popular songs of the 60s and 70s, from "God Only Knows," to "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Subconsciously, we got hooked on their great back-ups and amazing vocal harmonies of each group they backed (another big hook in the 50s, 60s and 70s). And HEY! I'm 64 and they told us TV had shortened OUR attention spans. We didn't have iPods, but we could flip those 45s around! 😂


    Stop pretending to know a single thing you're talking about. You and all the other braindead retards here who think they're the next mozart because they can bandwagon make actual musicians cry at how absolutely moronic you are.

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