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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. Yeah, cause music is meant to be played by instruments, not on devices.

    Where’s the chants, where’s the classical pieces, where’s the jazz beats, where’s the disco beats, where’s the rock beats ?

    This is why I listen to the classical music, & Michael Jackson than today’s crap

  2. FYI there is more than one genre of music. Pop does not define, nor represent, all music, be it modern or past. Your title is completely misleading and click bait. Furthermore, your suppositions are flawed and lack objective substance. There's barely any tangible arguments made here, it's all subjective.

  3. Modern mainstream music is becoming evermore throwaway and forgettable, and I think part of the reason is the younger generation downloads everything. When I was a young man, people collected records or cassettes, it was something you treasured. The other reason is there were far more proper bands on the radio playing instruments. Now its all X Factor women and dark dudes with bling.

  4. honestly the beatles are good but lol their music does get boring i could argue that ozzy and the rolling stones had way more influence on what rock and metal would become more than the beatles

  5. I was a teenager in the 60s. My friends and I would search the radio dial while driving around, frustrated with the awful crap on am radio. The bands and artists of the past that you point out were actually promoted on "underground" "alternate" radio stations, which were the beginning of the fm stations used today. They were a world away from the constant advertising and hyped up, yelling djs of Top 40 AM radio. As you say, there are still excellent artists today making truly creative music. Everything else today seems the same Top40 of old. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

  6. 100% agreed!I live in Canada. My classmates are all listening to some boring and stupid lyrics song .I really dont like those songs. theres no music only beats,and the lyrics are so bad. I am 13 but i never listen to those things,i mostly listen to the 80s or 90s Hong Kong songs.

  7. Tru, although I like the early days of monster cat electro, nu disco and countless more music.

    Although very simplistic and little depth to what your listening to, the simplistic rhythm is some times enjoyable. Issue is these days of mainstream music ie rap & pop have taken the the simplistic tune of a sound board too far.

    The golden part of edm was when it first started, and some good music here and there along the time line.

    Also also why do people like rap and then listen to county in their own time. The most contradictory thing I’ve seen.

  8. Hey! tire from the current day sound, want something a little more vibrant, more colours and talented and creative music and musicians? Violin sonatas, piano concertos, symphonies are a grain of sand to the great works. Here are some to try:
    1. Mendelssohn
    2. Dvorak
    3. Mozart
    3. Beethoven
    4. Bach
    5. Albinoni
    6. Vivaldi
    7. Sibelius
    8. Tchaikovsky
    9. Tartini (Giuseppe)
    10. Lizst (Franz)
    11. Brahms
    12. Shostakovich
    13. Paganini
    14. Prokofiev
    15. Bruckner
    16. Stravinsky (if you think you can Handel it)
    17. Hayden
    18. Bruch (Max)
    19. Bohm
    20. Camille Saint-Saens
    21. Barber

    To name a few. Try out piece forms like:
    1. Sonata
    2. Concerto
    3. Symphonies (in movements)
    4. Allemande, Courante, Gigue, preludes, Fugue, cantata and Chaconne (mainly the baroque composers)
    5. Arabesques, solos and duets for the virtuosic pieces
    7. Quartets and ensemble set ups

    All corrections are welcome. Thank you if you read through it and even more if you pursue the classics.

  9. playing to the masses…the masses are dumb. trying to cater to the most # of people to maximize profit has been the downfall of EVERYTHING. From art to architecture.

  10. Who listen to bieber or spears albums these days? nobody, it's disposable crap. Made them rich, killed music. Same will happen to all the bubble gum pop coming out these days. At least we have the classic to fall back to. Or the fabulous Utube channel called progline (and so many others). I for one only look for bands that have actual musiciens…what a concept!

  11. I am a 12 year old kid and I like old rock songs. And I'm the only one in my school who likes old music. Everytime I eat my lunch in my school I always listen to old songs. I hate new music because music or songs these days have no meaning and most of the new songs have the same tune. I love bands like The Beatles, Queen, David Bowie, My Chemical Romance, and other old rock bands. They are my inspirations and also my family.

    So I'm sorry to offend people that really likes new music but for me old songs are the best type of music. ☺👍

  12. Quite true that most of today mainstream music are made for making money and sounds very simmilar – X-times same rebeat, most woman and sisters singer singings are too high pitched as a 4 years old, no variety in music. Many times oooohhh…oohh.. because also the trunk people can still sing that.

    The sound style of the 60s and 70s musik of Pop and Rock bands are dead since minimum 20 years – whuch is very bad. Just in a few samples in modern electronic music we can find it sonetimes.

    Its the main reason why i switch of the Radio and other devices that comes that crap sound and listen to my choice of music.

    Also mainstream music playing around the world 24h which is quite bad – everywhere the same thing! 🙁

    From 100 Songs in the charts since 15 or more years are just 1-3 songs i can listen to!

  13. Title correction: why modern POP music is awful. I listen to a lot of metal, folk and various underground EDM and honestly I feel like there's still a lot of innovation going on in the music world. It's just that the stuff that's popular today is shit. You have to search for good music nowadays, whereas before it was delivered to your through radio and TV.

  14. You are comparing apples and oranges which isn't fair. If you are comparing solo males and females to world famous bands. Compare the solo females to solo females. Lulu, Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black etc to Katy Perry, Lady Gaga etc Cliff Richards to Justin Beiber. I am no fan of any of these singers I'm just pointing out your argument is flawed!!!
    I agree with you over all though older music is much better but there are some exceptions.

  15. That's what all people say.
    In the 50s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it has so inappropiate lyrics"
    In the 60s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it has so much sexual references, etc."
    In the 70s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it all sounds the same."
    In the 80s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it all sounds the same."
    In the 90s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it all sounds the same."
    In the 2000s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it all sounds the same."
    In the 2010s, parents were like "Modern music sucks, it all sounds the same. I prefer the 80s."

  16. All it is now is half naked women singing unoriginal songs, or so called rappers singing a song with no beat or literally anything

  17. "The millennial whoop". so true! Haven't found a good song since Morgan Page's old stuff (several years ago and even few and far between in his stuff). Lana Del Ray has some good stuff — but you can't workout to it.

  18. As much as I've come to love, enjoy, and closely appreciate the music of the 21st Century, this gentleman is COMPLETELY AND ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.

  19. I "hate" it when people say here "Old people only says that modern music sucks" or because "its familiar from their childhood" Btw that's so weird to hear, I'm now 16 YO. And i prefer more 70s-90s than almost any modern music.

  20. The brainwashing effect works opposite to me. Whenever I hear a song everywhere, I started to hate it more and more

  21. Modern techno use music is garbage. Beatles, pre-LSD is excellent, post LSD, I used to like it and now I hate it.

  22. Well I did some research and I found out that Dutch festivals capitalise on the shit and export it over the world

  23. That is why underground music is the real stuff, most of the music I listen to has been listened to by only few thousands of people. The real gens are rare and hard to find, not everywhere around the corner.

  24. Good music died out in the early 2000's… from there on only bulshit were made by pretty faces… Rap is down the drain it's all about sex, drugs and bashing woman.. Rapers these days look like demons, they sound like demons and their massages confirms that they are demonically possessed… I do admire and enjoy certain Musicians like Charley Puth, El Shareen, Bieber to name a few they still tend to make really special love songs without bashing or degrading woman or swear half the song through…

  25. Coldplay and Paramore are the same person. Look at Jonny Buckland, he named himself as "Taylor York", and the Irish person was the lead singer of Paramore not Hayley Williams.

    Coldplay and the Irish woman created Paramore because they wanted to test the fans on how they love real music. I hope they still make good music. ♥️♥️♥️

  26. 2019, and many children are suffering from serious anxiety problems caused by State Education and sadly some home lives. My daughter is teaching art to children. Art is therapy for young minds. And they need it:

  27. I personally am stuck somewhere in between Beethoven and John Williams. I've really got no say in this matter.

  28. Music is getting worse because it's becoming less human. What I mean by that is that it's now created more by using electronics and less handheld musical instruments… It's become much less artistic and much less heartfelt as well because there's no real human soul put into today's music. It's all just a bunch of catchy repetition used over and over again, and more often than not the vocals are also helped along by use of electronic voice modification. So ya can't even get that in today's music. It's all crap. There's no other way to say it…. I grew up during the 80's. There was so much in terms of different sounds and so much soul put into the music that came out in that decade. I believe that the 80's may have been the last great period for pop music and music as a whole. But sadly enough it was also the gateway to the garbage music we have filling the airwaves today. So in many ways the 80's was sort of a double edged sword in that sense… It was a music lovers dream but also what paved the way for the horrific electrified garbage we're stuck with now…. The only way to fix this is to put the human soul back into music, and the only way to do that is to go cold turkey with it and create a detoxification program for all the electronic junkies in the world…. Teach them how to be musicians again without the use of those dirty electronics. They also need to know that their usage of electronics in music is not just harming them but also ruining the lives of those around them…..Just Say No To Electronics🤪

  29. Led Zeppelin were plagiarists, Bob Dylan is a corporate tool (going "electric" the same year his record labael bought Fender was not a coincidence) and the Beatles were just a boy band.

  30. Music sucks now, because the listeners are dumbshits who have no life experience, spent the last 15 on their cellphones posting memes, and eat tide pods to get attention for themselves. thank you hollywood, your agenda has been met.

  31. If "hip hop" had any artistry at all, they wouldnt have to film every video from in between a fat black chicks' ass cheeks.

  32. Am I the only one immune to this kind of crap that the lame stream music trys to do by playing out tunes? Part of the reason I listen to metal.

  33. they use algorithms to peak your emotions interests, you all well know sound is a huge emotional trigger, companies are exploiting this to manipulate and control you all like sheep, whats a good way to get masses amounts of people to part with their money ? integrate music into societies culture and manipulate them through sound, allot of these popstars get their songs and backing music from the same people/person, they dont actualy make up their own songs, this is another factor to why they sound the same as well as algorithms coming into play

  34. Whelp! We all know the two evil faces behind this monstrosity they try to call music now!

    Grab The Pitch Forks And Torches!! Let's end this oppression! Once and for all! XD

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