Science Finds That "Every Breath You Take" is the Optimum Song

What makes a good song good? It may sound like a silly question, since everyone has their own tastes, but there are some songs that become worldwide hits, and some songs that stick around decades after their time. They must have something in common.

Scientists at Aarhus University in Denmark looked at Spotify to see what people listen to throughout the day. They found that the type of music preferred varies over a 24-hour cycle, and certain types of music tend to please people in different blocks of the day. These blocks were divided into morning, afternoon, evening, night, and late night/early morning (in radio, those are called dayparts). They found that slower songs are preferred in the morning, faster tunes in the afternoon, and dance music in the evening.

So what song has the features that would make it popular in all parts of the day? "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. The 1983 hit is not extreme in any of the audio features studied, and many consider it bland, but it works in any part of the day. Whether that makes it "good" is a different question altogether. Most musicians would rather produce a song that people love part of the day than a song that is acceptible around the clock.

The original paper did not mention lyrics or a song's subject matter in the audio features studied. The audio features were divided and ranked by artificial intelligence. Read more about the research at NPR.  -via Damn Interesting

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I have found it fascinating that should I be running late to an appointment I will play that song in my car and I swear I will get every green light to my destination AND I will arrive on time! It's almost spooky the way this happens. Also, should the song be playing on a radio station and I am driving in the car the traffic around me drives more courteously and safely than normal.
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