Fast 2014-09-16: Murder of contemporary music

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So, I’m watching Sunday night NFL football on CBS. I’m listening to the “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” introductory song, performed by Carrie Underwood. (The song is actually based on Joan Jett’s hit, “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” but with different lyrics.)

Two years ago, it was performed by Faith Hill — and I found her presentation to be slightly more convincing, as if she truly cared about football. But that’s an aside, having nothing to do with my thoughts right now. What I noticed is that the music was truly awful. It sucked beyond sucking. And it wasn’t Underwood’s fault.

Dynamic stupidity

What the hell am I talking about? I’ll tell you what the hell — it’s called dynamic compression and it’s ruined a generation of music. Much of what many kids listen to through ear buds today can scarcely be called music at all. I know, that sounds like a grumpy opinion from someone who doesn’t get pop culture, but I’m here to back up my words.

I subscribe to DirecTV, which includes Pandora music services. While I’m working, I often have music in the background and have personalized “stations” that cover many genres. Mostly, when I’m programming or doing something else that requires mental concentration, I stick with stations that don’t interfere with my thought process — Classical (especially Baroque), show tunes, instrumentals, and such.

But when I’m not concentrating so hard, I flick through the stations I’ve created — old rock, big band, contemporary rock, and … wait! Stop there! Contemporary rock. I like to stay current and many hit tunes are catchy and well crafted on paper and should be excellent. I said should be. But instead of excellent, they’re awful.


I’ve been privately campaigning against dynamic compression for years. That’s where all the loud sounds and all the soft sounds are played at similar levels. When that’s done, you get mud. And I’m wondering if people listening to this stuff even realize that their music has been murdered — suffocated in mud. Over-the-air TV networks, like CBS, have been doing this for years, partially due to loudness legislation. Now it’s exaggerated as a marketing choice by a brain-damaged generation of producers — targeting an equally brain-damaged audience.

I think the problem is that some kids who brag about their “short attention spans,” as if it’s something to take pride in, have become unable to concentrate or to truly listen to anything, including music. So, it’s unrelenting loudness that stimulates them.

Now, I’m going to leave you with proof of this contemporary musical crime that I discovered on YouTube. It’s a short video produced by Matt Mayfield. It backs up what I’ve been saying for over 15 years. Here it is. And after you’re done watching, pay attention to Underwood’s performance on Sunday Night Football and see if you hear anything except mud.

— MC | Follow-up link: → None

Also see:  → Why a Poker1 “Fast” category?  |  → All Poker1 “Fast” entries

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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  1. Brain damaged generation of producers absolutely hits the nail on the head. Sounding like mud is the perfect definition.

    1. Maybe. I didn’t come across any. And, generally, techno uses a broad spectrum of loud and quiet (in theory) — although many examples of abuse could be demonstrated in the same way as in the video at the end of the entry.

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