Why pop music sounds bad (to you)

Share this video on

What's Hot

What's New

Top Grossing

Top of the Chart


Adam Neely : Hey all! Sideways made a video about Coco that explored similar points, you should check it out! https://youtu.be/v7foqVQNPcQ I realize this looks like I copied his video, and I can assure you I did not intentionally, nor did I get my inspiration for the subject from it. I just finished reading This Is Your Brain on Music, and has wanted to explore the idea of taste and age for a while, specifically how it related to popular reactions to jazz and rock at the time. Similar people working on a similar subject working from similar sources will reach similar conclusions and tell similar stories. I realize how hypocritical this makes me look, after I whined about Vox doing a similar thing with my video on the US national anthem. I’ve since taken that video down. Lesson learned, and I sincerely apologize to Vox, as well as Sideways. Sideways’ treatment of the subject is in some ways more in depth than mine, and so my take sounds a bit like a cheap facsimile. Anyway, check out his video.

S.I.C.K Art : In 20 years from now people will say "I remember the good old LIL PUMP days and mumble rap, Music in 2038 suck"

Naomi PR : "turn of the millenium suburban teenage angst" is actually pretty important in the context of history, actually. The idealism of the 90s fell to the horror and uncertainty of the post-9/11 america, our country was suddenly in two wars that none of us wanted, and we essentially had two recessions in a row. Nothing was going to be okay, and all we could do was make art about it. It's fun to laugh at how *cringey* nu-metal was, but I think it was a pretty good representation of many feelings that teens and young adults had at the time. Plus, the music freaking rules, so.

Naoki Watanabe : I wish you were right but we can actually verify and quantify how bad modern music is. 1. 2012 study "Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music" shows us music has become more homogenized (sounds the same) 2. A 2011 study "Music and Emotions in the Brain: Familiarity Matters" found we engaged on a neurological level with music that was more familiar. Which is why you start to kind of like songs you've heard a bunch of times. And why they get played to death. It's also why companies like McDonald's market to children non-stop. 3. Data analyst Andrew Powell-Morse found song lyrics shows are becoming less intelligent over time. 4. Production has changed. Artists use the same producers, software, and algorithms. 5. Consumption has changed. People don't really listen to music anymore they continually switch streams and tap 'next' looking for the hook.

Eon Lee Music : 2060 kids be like: "I listen to Lil Pump and I'm only 12 years old, all my friends are listening to garbage contemporary music. It's truly sad that they cannot even comprehend the depth and the genius of Lil Pump, alas, I was born in the wrong generation!"

Ryder Lee : The early Beatles was crappy pop music, but their later stuff actually had substance. My theory is that the older music that people consider "good" is just a very small fraction of music from the era that withstood the test of time. Go back and check the billboard chart for any year, and you most likely won't recognize even half the songs. Take 1973. The number one song wasn't Stevie Wonder's "Superstition". It wasn't David Bowie's "Space Oddity". It was "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" by Tony Orlando & Dawn. There are a few good popular artists from the last 10 years, but in few more decades those good songs are going to be the only ones people remember. Everything else is just a fad. That is the survivor bias.

Tomek Dymek : Now I'm 21. When I was 12-14 I was listening to 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg etc. When I was about 17-19 I was listening to Queen. When 20 I went to Led Zeppelin and now one month 21 I'm into early Rock & Roll/ Blues, Chuck Berry, Little Richard etc. Don't worry. Nothing is fixed :D Though I seem to be going backwards 😅

Naomi PR : So, is this why I still love the Gorillaz first few albums, and why I think that Evanescence album is a masterpiece? Is this why classic vocal trance music will ALWAYS BE SUPERIOR TO THIS EDM CRAP?? Is this why all of Nu-metal is just completely meme-ified beyond recognition??? (I kid, obvs)

Sorenkair : i cant wait for when all this shitty meme music i listen to becomes the epitome of refined taste.

Joseph Molnar : Too simplistic a view. People are statistically likely to like songs that debuted when they were 13 and 14, sure, that doesn't actually prove anything about whether they continue to prefer it or its style to other music when they get older. They were most likely to get exposed to it at that age, that's all this study reflects. Yes sentimentality improves our ability to appreciate music, but I get sentimental about music that I discovered after I left my teens as well, I'm surprised how wistful I get when I listen to Anderson .Paak's Malibu or Jeremih's Late Nights. Early Beatles wrote very catchy insubstantial songs, once Yesterday came around though the critics were changing their minds about the lads. A lot of early jazz was kitschy and in your very clip driven by sex appeal of the dancers, as more brilliant composers and performers came along that's when it gained its respect. Even when I was 18 I couldn't get enough of Franz Ferdinand I thought they were the shit and constantly had their whole discography on rotation, but then I started listening to the Strokes and all the late 70s post punk that inspired FF and now I can't stand listening to anything of theirs front to back besides their first album. Those Nu Metal bands did have good songs, but I wouldn't spend the time today to listen to any of their albums front to back (besides Deftones). It's obvious that as we get older we just stop caring about the social value of music as much and for that reason alone we stop seeking out new stuff. It's the same reason why old people aren't as fashionable, don't go to as many parties, don't try new food, etc. There's of course also the diminishing returns of the dopaminergic reward circuit over time. And there are many among us who by choice or other reasons (i.e. living in a city with a large young population, working in a music field) continue to be exposed to new music and continue to see our tastes grow long after our adolescence. Even comparing Playboi Carti and the Beatles, there's too many musical fundamentals in common (mid to high tempo, 4/4 time signature, verse/refrain and hook-loaded song structure, common 2 to 4 chord harmonic progressions, and simple sing-song melodies) for them not to be mutually enjoyable by anyone. It's just a matter of exposure from your environment (or motivation if you take responsibility for your musical enrichment) whether you're going to get into them.

TheMaster1 : I'm a rather young dude, and pop music today really is shit. The songs are literally about people's _butts,_ they don't have any meaning anymore, just plain brain rot. Also, I don't know a single person who is stuck listening to the same music as they did when they were 14. My dad is in his 60's and keeps finding new bands to listen to and enjoys them.

BaggiBoi : r/Im14AndThisIsDeep

Leaders aA : I have to disagree with you. Famous music today is easier to listen too, because mostly young people are less willing to invest in stuff. Needing a certain thing with the least amount of investment. This actually goes throughout all the arts. Music, Film, Videogames. And you don't only see it in music itself. The way how we consume music has changed as well. Wenn I was 14, I had to buy certain CD's, because I could not afford all the albums I wanted. That would be unthinkable for todays young generation, investing lots of money and time, searching for an whole record which you want to buy next. And teens don't want to buy albums anymore, it's just about the single popular songs, which leads to my point up there being everything has to be easy listening. Of course there was bad, easy music 20, 30 or 40 years ago. But the percentage of that music was way lower than it is today.

Andrew Rossi : That's not what thoughty2 was getting at in the video. He was saying that modern music is getting worse, not that it's bad for ppl. Which, there have been stuidies (some used by thoughty2 in his video) that compare music from the 60 to the early 90, and have shown how modern music is less diverse in sound and instruments.

DR0p_gkid64 : i am fourteen now and i hate hate hate to the power of infinity pop music i view music i was introduced to when i was around six in much the same way you view nu metal or those senoirs view jazz and when i become senoir i hope that the sonic adventure 2 soundtrack is available

Lau Bjerno : Nonsense! Your tastes are stuck only if you allow them to be. I didn't understand or like jazz when I was in my teens, but I gave it a chance, and it opened up a new world to me. Also I was given a recording (cassette tape - remember those, anybody?) with Dvorak's cello concerto, and it didn't really catch me at first. But I just played it several times while I was doing other things, and it sucked up my attention more and more, until it totally enthralled me and became my absolute favourite music. And later the same thing happened with music of the baroque era, which - okay - I liked some of already, but a lot of it was nonsense to me. But when I got into playing it myself in my twenties, I fell deeply in love with this music. When I was 12, on the other hand, I was very much into The Beatles, and now ... well, I guess some of it isn't too bad, but it really doesn't appeal much to me any more. And the music I mostly heard in youth clubs and on the school bus when I was 13 or 14, I already didn't like then.

Ian Prado : I'm so sorry you were 13 when nu metal was popular

Dorothy Page : I think as people grow older they generally have a negative attitude of the next generation. Just look at how much Millennials get shit on by baby boomers.

GRYITH : When I was between 13-15 I listened almost exclusively to MCR and Green Day, but now I can't stand it. I don't think these bands are bad, and they still have some sentimentality connected to them, but now I listen more to things like macross 82-99, starcadian and carpenter brut. These, to me, couldn't be more different from the two bands I used to listen to. The reason for this, though, is probably pretty obvious. I genuinely ONLY listened to those two bands, I probably made myself sick of them and now when they come on, I think to myself that I'd rather have something 'new'. (it could also be that I associate them with a time in my life that was particularly boring.) What I'm trying to say is that, as mentioned in the video, musical (or any) taste is defined by a number of factors, but I think focusing on just one of those does the complexity of the horrifying mess that is the human brain an injustice.

JamesV23 : Let's all agree to not remember Cardi B as an icon in our modern age

Red Floyd : Thing is...I hated pop music when I was 14 too. With a more furious passion than I most likely do today. And what about listening to new songs or bands and finding out you like it? Or old bands you never heard of until recently, even though you are already far older than 14? Could it be that specific chord progressions are part of that experience? A great deal of rock music is derived from the old blues chord progressions and melodies, and my favorite kind of music is the kind of rock that has these bluesy tones. Perhaps I was more exposed to these chords at that specific age... There are also correlations between intelligence and certain music genres. These correlations are not so easily explained through sheer nostalgia, caused by certain brain chemicals at the age of 14... And could respect for musical genres itself affect our growing experiences with music? I could never bring myself to respect rap, hip hop, or dance (Although I at least learned to respect certain artists of these genres regardless) because of their simplicity, either melodically or lyrically. I would like to add that I in no way mean to be disrespectful to anyone's tastes in music with this comment, I merely have some doubts as to the offered explanation. The conclusion I would make is that preference in music is most definitely not affected solely by what you may or may not have heard at the age of 14-15.

Learn Jazz Standards : Linkin Park= Secret happy place for Millenial jazz musicians #thatsme

Lea Springstead : Suburban teenage angst? Seems like that was your individual experience of “nu metal”. My experience of listening to bands like KoRn, Limp Biskit, SlipKnot (if I may), was that of coming from a place of poverty, and there was no angst. I felt connected to the deep bass and aggressive/encompassing guitar cords; enveloped by their rhythmic fullness. I identified with the power, I did not need the music to give me power. I think you are getting too much into a board theory that needs waaaay more explication than you are affording it. Also, The Beatles were iconoclastic. They represented sexuality in a time known for repression. How can you stick a picture of Taylor Swift in the thumb nail of this video & use The Beatles as a cultural comparison? Taylor Swift sings about the pettiness of being a female without self awareness & a large ego. The Beatles dropped acid & and deconstructed the control devices of the ego (post/ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club). It’s not as reductive as whatever theory you are basing this off of. Contemporary society is in trouble and our music is reflecting that. Respectfully, -Lea

Mason Meyer : I just really can't see mumble rap being good objectively.... yikes

Lucas M : 6:05 "Immanuel Cunt" You can't make that up

MBM1117727 : I strongly disagree, my favourite music when I was 14 was gangsta rap and now it's musical theatre (which I hated then and is now my aspiring profession.) As much as I still have nostalgia about gangsta rap and can still rap so many songs perfectly, I now find much of it toxic looking back. On the other hand, I have always hated pop.

NARKISDUDE : Umm yeah, today's pop music is still shit, not just the low energy, single layer sound and lame vocals, but also the lyrics. i'm generalizing here btw.

NicegamingNL : Maichael Caine

Crooked cat : When I was 13/14 I was listening to screamo, heavy metal, emo bands... Is that forever with me now?

retrace : Dang, I'm 13 and turning 14 in 2 days. I really like listening to music a lot more now that I think about it. I really like Porter Robinson and boy pablo right now.

Brendan Crocker : Boards of Canada seems well suited for the nostalgia slot.

OrangeOVA : *My favourite music is Vocaloid...*

ArmyAnts Studios : "all this machinery making modern music can still be open heart not so coldly charted it's just a question of your honesty, yeah your honesty" - spirit of the radio by rush

Whole Food Plant-Based Man : I listened to Nirvana at age 14, and I still love it today.

Shi N : Wrong. It's really simple, the songs today lack the complexity to keep people like me interested. They are made to appeal to young people, their potential consumers, which means more money. The music can't be complex because they can't process it and for them would be just "noise". Just watch some kids reacting to metal music for example. So they have this template that has a simple tune, have some singer just repeat a phrase like a zillion times, add a few more that says something that will make the listener either relate, feel sad, sorry or w/e, and put all the rest of the effort on a video (listen to almost any track nowadays without watching the video, it will bore you to death); then have this template recycled over and over again making it familiar to the listener and accepting it without much resistance.

Trim Prism : I myself keep finding new music I just fall in love with, as well as enjoying a lot of stuff I did back when I was a kid. Actually, the only significant change I find in my taste from now to when I was 14, is that I actually could stand _some_ Eminem tracks back then. I can't stand any form of rap nowadays, not even those old Eminem tracks I once could stand.

Yen the smiling dinosaur : 60 years later, gucci gang will bring back many old people’s memories lmao

Fantasy Dream : I'm 15 yrs old and i listen to Enya and Katy perry/pop. They're so so different but i like to relax with Enya and i like to listen to pop songs that give me life hahah.

Night Shade : When I was a child my mother would play a lot of music like Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Sade, Whitney Houston, Chaka Kahn and although I didn't like all her music I just took pieces that I cherished. I still enjoy Sade, Kem, Celine Dion and artists like Carlos Santana that he exposed me to. From 11- 13 I listened to a lot of ubiquitous EDM, House and Pop that flooded radio stations without committing them to memory. Then around 13 - 14 I developed an interest for rock, pop punk and followed this until it took me to 50s - 90s artists like Sabbat, Zeppelin, Floyd, Chuck Berry, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Kansas. Then I became entrenched in the 70s by the mystique of post-punk acts like The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Pink Turns Blue etc. Simultaneously I had been on a language-learning journey with the Spanish language so my taste in that language ranged from: Enrique Morente, Carlos Vives, Heroes del Silencio, WarCry etc. Then around 16 my taste evolved to craving for death, black and extreme styles of metal. Along the way I had been listening to folk, symphonic and just about every style of metal out there that could be mentioned. I then used to have rest periods where I indulged in softer music like New Age: Enya, Bjork, Loreena McKinnett, Wendy Rule etc. In addition, I enjoyed indie acts like Fleet Foxes, Angus & Julia and even those with pop elements like Echosmith. I still kept growing my taste for hard rock and "modern" rock while somehow being obsessed with few popular artists like, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Ellie Goulding (pre Halcyon era) and couldn't manage to listen to male acts as I found any male artist outside of rock/metal/ indie just banal and their musical approaches just arid. Pop music just never appeals to me because of how superficial the lyrics are. Furthermore, the quality of it pales to artists whose first language isn't even English and can actually capture my attention: Stromae, Indila, Kenji Girac, come to mind. In fact, the vast majority of artists I listen to--especially in metal--don't speak English natively and yet craft more poignant messages than these wishy-washy pop acts try to execute, and do it without being cringey or insipid. In summary, I take today's pop music like a pinch of sugar and avoid the greater mass. Moreover, my music taste keeps evolving even if it stems from artists I already listen to. For example, when I began studying French I expounded on my love for Celine Dion by discovering a whole new world with her French records and roaming through the Francophone world's music that meanders into rock, metal, folk etc. Music is something that keeps evolving and taking elements from many things I listen to--even pop music--so I do listen to pop, even if not in a high concentration.

Hack McGraw : I was ready to smash that dislike button, but this actually ended up being a very well made video, and surprised me despite how eager I was to disagree with it. You properly backed up your claims with evidence, and kept me watching with humor. Now I know that if I ever have kids, I have to force them to listen to "good" music in their teen years! (joking) Despite all that though, I still snobbishly pity the future elderly who will need to listen to that drivel rap music to be brought back to their good old days, hahaha!

TR French : You missed your thesis: why does new music sound bad? You never addressed it.

slimkt : I remember watching a doc about how the elderly with Alzheimers were effected by music and found it incredibly fascinating. Now, all I can think of is all the millennials in an old folks' home, listening to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit.

phatbaby : Theres still a difference. Back in the day, the business practices among companies weren't so complex. Todays BAD music, and the perspective on it, is not based upon our ''human nature'' reaction to it. Mainstream companies with a large promotion benefit. DOES actually exclude anything risky and inconsistent. Which means = Theres no space for creativity or innovation. And that's the reason why the best nominated songs are done by artists that werent popular in the first place.

Cameron Fischer : Psh whatever, I didn't get into hardcore death-polka until I was 22!

Thadiun Okona : I lived in a house with no technology, meaning I rarely heard any music at all, and the music I did hear was generally in public places and all blurred out by the public, essentially making it white noise. I didn't get into music until I was 18 years old, when I moved to college. That's when I found classical music and chill/dubstep.

NaitomeIya : CRAWLING IN MY SKIIIINNN!!! 😂 Ah good times... I think this is actually very true. I was listening to JRock and weird anime and video game soundtrack back in the day, together with some local rock classics of my country. Today I have an obsession with soundtrack and the successors of those rock classics. I get the feeling I LOVE the Greatest Showman soundtrack because of the High School Musical-ish feel it has. And oh, Efron’s there too! On the flip side, other videos have revealed that today’s pop music is more formulaic than back in the day; before, some musicians actually experiment. One video revealed that probably 20% of today’s American pop music are composed/arranged by the same three people. Gotto love those singer songwriters like Adele, Lady Gaga and Skylar Grey who don’t seem to get lumped in with those composers.

Paul Groseclose : Great, 14 year old me was a One Direction Fan 😂😣

Michel Vrancken : I think the taste of music is the music that you get confronted with most, when we become about 14 you stop listening to what you get confronted with on let's say the radio... A good example is my brother who is 26 now and started working for a pop singer in the Netherlands called Kraantje Pappie, when he started working for him I noticed that he started to like music that people from my age would listen to... And for me (Then 16). Now 18 years old now and I started to love soad when I was 12 because my other brother confronted me with it. This made me stop listening to radio music because I was into the grunge, metal kinda vibe. CONCLUSION: balance variety, expectancy and confrontation to mold your style!

HE1NZ : I understand the argument however I think it only applies to casual listeners. If you're a serious listener and collector you'll acquire the taste for better music.

A B Music n More : Slipknot’s self titled is the best album of all time Yeah, I definitely would’ve told you that when I was 14