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Millennials Prefer Old But Gold Music, Do You?

What’s Your Favorite Style of Music?

Recently, it’s been discovered that millennials prefer the golden age of music compared to modern music heard today. Music these days is just not as good as the old classics. A study found that these old but gold tunes stick in their minds more than the bland, homogenous pop tempos of today. Do you concur?

The golden age of popular music went from the 1960s to the 1990s. Songs of this era proved to be much more memorable than tunes released this century. Here’s how:

Scientists tested a group of millennials on their ability to recognize hit songs from different decades. 643 participants, aged 18 to 25, maintained a steady memory of top tunes between 1960 and 1999. However, their higher memory of 21st-century songs from 2000 to 2015 diminished rapidly over time.

‘The 1960s to 1990s was a special time in music, reflected by a steady recognition of pieces of that era-even by today’s millennials.’ -dr. pascal wallisch, nyu

Top charting songs were much more varied back then, unlike today’s music. Songs selected for the study included the number ones on Billboard Top 100 between 1940 and 1957, and from 1958 to 2015. Like the quickest game of the 5 Second Rule, each participant had to identify seven out of 152 songs from short excerpts played.

The ‘recognition proportion’ saw a steep drop-off in recognition for hits produced between the years 2015 and 2000. It saw a more gradual decline for songs of the 1950s and 1940s, with a plateau for songs from the 60s to 90s.

I think we can all remember belting out Percy Sledge’s ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ (1966). Or recognize the first few notes of ‘Baby Come Back’ by Player (1977) and instantly begin performing. Our ears remember, our voices re-record, and our hearts reminisce to a much simpler time.

Spotify released in 2008, along with 90% of these songs–millennials have been aware of this music for quite some time. It shows in their play count that they choose to listen to it. Personally, I’d like to thank my parents for blasting this music during my childhood!

Nina Chiang
Music and dance feed my soul
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