Fans of ’80s music may want to steel themselves before reading further. Matthias Mauch, an engineer from Queen Mary University in London, decided to take 17,000 songs off the Billboard 100 ranging from 1960 until 2010 and break them down scientifically. They measured things such as timbre, harmony, and chord changes to provide a “fossil record” of the history of pop music.
The overarching finding is that music has been forever changing, and has generally actually been quite diverse over generations. That is to say, not all pop music, even in a particularly era, “sounds the same,” as many often complain about. Except for one period of time: the 1980s. While 1983 is described as one of the most significant years in terms of change, after that most of the popular music of the era adopted that same sound, creating the most homogenous decade of any in the study. It was not until 1991, when hip hop and grunge burst into the mainstream, that diversity and popular music went hand in hand again.
If you were into ’80s music, characterized by Phil Collins-style synth drums and rip roaring arena rock guitars, you had plenty to choose from. For those who have an eclectic taste in music and like some diversity, the 80s was a lackluster decade for you.
(Via Mental Floss)