This just in, via Reuters:
Comforting news for anyone over the age of 35, scientists have worked out that modern pop music really is louder and does all sound the same.
Researchers in Spain used a huge archive known as the Million Song Dataset, which breaks down audio and lyrical content into data that can be crunched, to study pop songs from 1955 to 2010.
A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through some complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used.
"We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse," Serra told Reuters. "In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations - roughly speaking chords plus melodies - has consistently diminished in the last 50 years."
Read more here.
We didn't need a study to tell us this, of course. Anyone paying any attention at all has noticed songs get louder, simpler, more generic. But it feels good to know that my lack of deciphering one Top 40 hit from another isn't because I'm getting old and jaded, but because, OFFICIALLY, there just isn't much of a difference there in the first place.