If someone stopped me on the street and asked me to name the most iconic song of all time, I would’ve probably come up with ‘I Love Rock ‘N Roll’ by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, or ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay. But research from Goldsmiths, University of London put “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana at the top of a list of 50 iconic tunes.
It’s followed by “Imagine” by John Lennon, “One” by U2, “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by we all know who.
Dr. Mick Grierson, a computer scientist, looked at tracks found in seven “Best of” lists from music publications like Rolling Stone and scanned them through a program that compared them by lyrical content, key, BPM, chord variety, timbral variety, and sonic variance. Grierson along with his team used these findings to figure out what made the “perfect” song.
“We found the most significant thing these songs have in common is that most of them use sound in a very varied, dynamic way when compared to other records,” Grierson told the Daily Mail. “This makes the sound of the record exciting, holding the [listeners’] attention. By the same token, the sounds these songs use and the way they are combined is highly unique in each case.”
One of Nirvana’s most famous songs, featured on their second studio album Nevermind, has many of the features that the researchers identified as common in popular songs.
Dr. Mick found that the average tempo of the most popular songs was 125BPM, with 40 percent being around 120BPM. Chord changes were relatively infrequent—the songs that fared the best boasted an average of six to eight. Of course, there are some glaring exceptions to these “rules”: Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” has twice as many beats as the average song.
However, the researchers could not design the perfect algorithm to predict whether a song will become a classic.
“My conclusion is that if you want a formula for creating great music, there is one: you just have to make something that sounds great,” Grierson says.
Here’s how one of Nirvana’s iconic tune sounds like when 1000 musicians play it:
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Posted by Rockin'1000 on Thursday, 21 June 2018
Thanks to 30 seconds of Rock for the amazing video heading