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soapfoot

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May 14 17 8:29 AM

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Answer: Yes, probably, overall. However, there are plenty of super-repetitive songs from all eras, and some genres lend themselves to repetitive lyrics more than others. Modern country tends to be quite repetitive, modern pop artists like Rihanna tend to be VERY repetitive, while hip hop artists like J Cole tend to be far less repetitive than the median (over all eras).

A pretty clever methodology for making the determination, and some fascinating results with some cool interactive graphics. (FYI, some of the features may not work on older browsers)

https://pudding.cool/2017/05/song-repetition/

brad allen williams

Last Edited By: soapfoot May 14 17 8:35 AM. Edited 1 time

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soapfoot

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May 14 17 8:31 AM

I also found it interesting that The Beatles were THE most repetitive 1960s artist, lyrically, in the study.

brad allen williams

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zmix

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May 14 17 8:46 PM

soapfoot wrote:
Answer: Yes, probably, overall. However, there are plenty of super-repetitive songs from all eras, and some genres lend themselves to repetitive lyrics more than others. Modern country tends to be quite repetitive, modern pop artists like Rihanna tend to be VERY repetitive, while hip hop artists like J Cole tend to be far less repetitive than the median (over all eras).

A pretty clever methodology for making the determination, and some fascinating results with some cool interactive graphics. (FYI, some of the features may not work on older browsers)

https://pudding.cool/2017/05/song-repetition/
Very clever to use LZ compression of the text of the lyrics to determine  the degree of repetition...!



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mdm

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May 16 17 3:37 PM

Might it not be that they simply don't want to bother with songwriters so they just repeat what little they have?

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ktownson

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May 17 17 11:56 AM

Not many hit songs tell stories these days.

Even for artists known more for storytelling, seemed like their biggest hit(s) were the most repetitive. (for example, Johnny Cash.)

"Kerry fixed the stereo, and now it doesn't work." (My six-year-old sister)

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soapfoot

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May 17 17 12:21 PM

ktownson wrote:
Not many hit songs tell stories these days.

Even for artists known more for storytelling, seemed like their biggest hit(s) were the most repetitive. (for example, Johnny Cash.)

I don't know, Kerry.

All of hip hop is storytelling. Have you listened to the last 2 Kendrick Lamar records?

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

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May 17 17 12:52 PM

One thing that I notice that seems to be kinda lacking in modern popular music... are songs with long, minimally repeating type melodies, where the entire song at least *seems* to be heavily dictated by the lyric and melody.

Some Bacharach and BeeGees stuff comes to mind. Plenty of classic songs really, too many to mention probably.

As opposed to a type of song where everything hangs more on a couple juxtaposing grooves/chord progressions and driven by them, and melody seems to be more tacked on top.

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soapfoot

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May 17 17 1:19 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
One thing that I notice that seems to be kinda lacking in modern popular music... are songs with long, minimally repeating type melodies, where the entire song at least *seems* to be heavily dictated by the lyric and melody.

Some Bacharach and BeeGees stuff comes to mind. Plenty of classic songs really, too many to mention probably.

As opposed to a type of song where everything hangs more on a couple juxtaposing grooves/chord progressions and driven by them, and melody seems to be more tacked on top.

A very good point, and a difference in writing methodology explains this, in my experience.

I still most typically have always written "the old-fashoned way", i.e. at a piano or guitar, crafting the harmony, melody and lyric more-or-less together as a whole. But that makes me an outlier in my age group.

One thing I struggled against for a long time is that songs I wrote with this process tended to present as "old school" almost regardless of what ended up happening in the production or arrangement. You can tack on every "modern" trope and remove every 'traditional' instrument, and it won't make it sound "modern." 

However, on the occasions that I've written to tracks made in advance by others, the opposite is true: the result ends up being much more "contemporary sounding" even if the track itself is self-concsiously "retro" (and even if the GOAL of the writing is 'retro').

the more-typical modern process isn't inherently "worse," or anything-- just a different sort of result. The restrictiveness of the pre-existing track, groove, harmony, tempo etc. enforces a certain boundary. This limitation can sometimes foster some real creativity (as limitations often do). But even outside of anything qualitative, assuming total success using either methodology, the result will be palpably different.

 

brad allen williams

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mdm

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May 19 17 10:56 AM

What I hear is fragmentation

melodies in the European and Western tradition have a longer development like a sentence in spoken language.  

Today we have a sort of equivalent to what they used to do with sampled phrases on house records of the early 90's, in a way

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gtoledo3

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May 19 17 11:26 AM

I think so too, at least generally.

There are some really popular classics where the lyric is just a long sentence from start of the verse, to the end of a chorus.

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ktownson

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May 19 17 3:13 PM

Hmmm...anyone ever sung Handel's Messiah? It would be interesting to see how a classic Baroque oratorio fared with this algorithm.

Actually, it would be interesting if there was an online tool to produce these compression results. I'd love to run my own work through it and see where it fell.

"Kerry fixed the stereo, and now it doesn't work." (My six-year-old sister)

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maarvold

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May 20 17 11:31 PM

johnwhynot wrote:
Study: Are Articles About Current Pop Music Going to Hell in a Handcart Getting More Repetitive?

QFE.    Hahahaha

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soapfoot

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May 21 17 6:49 AM

johnwhynot wrote:
Study: Are Articles About Current Pop Music Going to Hell in a Handcart Getting More Repetitive?

I share your sentiment overall, but did you look at THIS piece?

I don't think it fits into that category. It's an interesting statistical analysis done with intelligence and with little apparent agenda... not your average "get off my lawn" rant.

brad allen williams

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hank alrich

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May 21 17 1:00 PM

maarvold wrote:

johnwhynot wrote:
Study: Are Articles About Current Pop Music Going to Hell in a Handcart Getting More Repetitive?
 

QFE.    Hahahaha

"Study: Are Articles About Current Pop Music Going to Hell in a Handcart Getting More Repetitive, Using Shorter Words?"

hank alrich
http://hankandshaidrimusic.com/
http://www.youtube.com/walkinaymusic

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zmix

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May 21 17 3:28 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:
One thing that I notice that seems to be kinda lacking in modern popular music... are songs with long, minimally repeating type melodies, where the entire song at least *seems* to be heavily dictated by the lyric and melody.

Some Bacharach and BeeGees stuff comes to mind. Plenty of classic songs really, too many to mention probably.

As opposed to a type of song where everything hangs more on a couple juxtaposing grooves/chord progressions and driven by them, and melody seems to be more tacked on top.
Speaks volumes to the attention span of the average writer, not to mention the so-called "consumer"...

Case in point:

 This song meets all the criteria you're talking about, and was a hit decades ago:






Whereas, in true modern pop style, this one borrows one of  the most recognizable lines from that song and  mercilessly beats it to death....







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soapfoot

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May 21 17 3:57 PM

That chorus is still less repetitive than "She Loves You" by the Beatles or "Get Up (I feel like being a) Sex Machine" by James Brown.

Not sure it's entirely fair to characterize repetitiveness as a "modern" pop feature

brad allen williams

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