Finding an article about how/why Coldplay is the future of pop music
September 29, 2019 3:20 PM   Subscribe

In the past couple of years I saw an article online about how/why Coldplay is the future of pop music (the title was close to that) -- based on the keys or frequencies or beats per minute of their songs, or some other impressively nerdy analysis. Does that ring a bell and/or can you help me find it?

There may have been a link to audiences' uses of pot and/or club drugs. And/or maybe to heart rates or oxytocin/dopamine/other levels and/or feelings of euphoria. It might have referenced Pharrell or Justin Timberlake or Drake or some '80s bands. The title might well have had a "whether you like it or not" angle.

I really don't think I saw it on Facebook or Reddit or Medium or a blog. I'm not on Instagram or Twitter. There's a good chance it was somewhere like Metafilter or Slate or Salon or New York magazine or a Gawker Media site or Rolling Stone or the New York Times or the Washington Post or The Guardian or the BBC. I wouldn't be surprised if the author was an audio engineer or a statistician or a Malcolm Gladwell-esque person or even a doctor (vs. someone who writes often about pop music or pop culture).

My search efforts have not yielded ANYthing, so I call upon this beautiful hivemind! I'd be interested in anything in this vein even if it doesn't specifically mention Coldplay. For example, I vaguely remember something written about how/why Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" was clearly going to be a hit just based on its structure.

Meanwhile, please feel free to memail me if you'd like to discuss this topic in general. Thank you all so much for any help.
posted by argonauta to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think this is the Crazy reference from my bookmarks (and yes, you're right it's Malcolm Gladwell):

This past spring, for instance, he analyzed “Crazy,” by Gnarls Barkley. The computer calculated, first of all, the song’s Hit Grade—that is, how close it was to the center of any of those sixty hit clusters. Its Hit Grade was 755, on a scale where anything above 700 is exceptional.
The Formula | The New Yorker
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/10/16/the-formula

Another few along the same lines (although I don't see Coldplay mentioned):

This 28-Year-Old Knows Which Artists You’ll Be Listening to 6 Months From Now – Mother Jones
https://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/07/can-next-big-sound-predict-future-music/

The Shazam Effect - The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/12/the-shazam-effect/382237/?single_page=true

Karl Martin Sandberg, Mikkel Eriksen, Tor Hermansen and Other Songwriters Behind the Hits of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift - The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/10/hit-charade/403192/

References back to Metafilter:
Sounds Heard: Anatomy of a Truth-Bender | NewMusicBox
https://nmbx.newmusicusa.org/sounds-heard-anatomy-of-a-truth-bender/
posted by Boobus Tuber at 3:04 AM on September 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also this, but links to a paywalled WSJ article:

Science Explains Why Adele’s “Someone Like You” Makes Everybody Cry | 2020k
https://blog.twenty20k.com/2012/02/12/science-explain-why-adeles-someone-like-you-makes-everybody-cry/
posted by Boobus Tuber at 3:05 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I recall something that's similar to what you describe, but I remember it being meant in a humor context.

The author was a self-appointed expert in music who'd written other articles before, and would repeatedly offer up Coldplay and Chris Martin as worthy of mockery, and in this article they'd assembled criteria for rating "how good is a song" by assigning arbitrary points based on things like "Does it still sound good when you're high?" and "Will it kill the mood if you bring a date home?" and "Will you look stupid if people find out you like this?"

And after announcing all the criteria, the article writer announced that their completely scientific analysis had scored Coldplay the highest. I distinctly remember the article ending with the line "Coldplay... I'm so sorry everyone."

Now, if this sounds like the one you're thinking of, it likely appeared either in Cracked or in SomethingAwful, because I was reading a lot of both at the time.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:11 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I should have added The New Yorker or The Atlantic... or The WSJ... or Cracked or SomethingAwful... and both of y'all are glorious. Any other options or thoughts or musings or flickers of memory are always welcome via memail.
posted by argonauta at 4:51 PM on October 4, 2019


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