kent_allard_jr: (profile)
[personal profile] kent_allard_jr
My experience with music is typical: My interest peaked around age 18 and my tastes haven't changed much in 25 years. Luckily my tastes weren't typical for an 80s teenager, so I haven't been listening to Huey Lewis and Whitney Houston for a quarter century (thank Zeus), but I wish I'd picked up a little more over the years.

When Kimberly met me she liked my jazz collection -- standard stuff from WWII to the mid-60s -- and that's what we've listened to together ever since. On road trips, though, she prefers the radio, and that's when I really listen to contemporary pop music. My reaction to it has surprised me.

I don't have the stereotypical reaction of a cranky old man. ("Their music is just noise!") Instead I find it ... bland. Pleasant enough, but boring. It's as if nothing new has appeared since the Clinton administration.

Sometimes we'd switch to the classic rock stations, which endlessly recycled the same four-dozen songs from the late-60s to the Disco era, with Nirvana thrown in for the under-40 crowd. God knows I never want to hear "Freebird" again, but even with the endless repetition I got the impression there was a lot more variety in what I was hearing. More experimentation with instruments, more complex harmonies, more contrast in volume.

These were just vague, uninformed impressions, but I'm happy to hear they've been scientifically validated. I'm sure the study has issues -- commentors point out it doesn't measure rhythmic innovation, where hip-hop may shine -- but it confirms I wasn't completely imagining things.
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August 2012

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