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Why is the technology so advanced, but still good old songs

   Before talking about music, please allow me to go around a huge distance and talk about the "reliability" of different disciplines, and then come back to talk about music. The answer to "Why old songs are good?" will be clearer. However, there is a certain threshold for reading the first paragraph. You can also choose to go straight and jump directly to the second paragraph.

  I have always kept a private point of view: the most dreamy knowledge system of scholars should strictly follow the order in which the "disciplines" appeared after the Big Bang, and build their own knowledge foundation in layers.

  The lowest, most reliable, most important, and most beautiful knowledge is mathematics. Mathematics is a product of pure logic and does not depend on any specific things. Mathematics will always exist no matter whether human beings exist or not, time exists or not, space exists or not.

  Mathematics is not science. Mathematics is mathematics. The set of all points of equal length from a fixed point in a plane is a circle, and the ratio of perimeter to diameter is π. As long as the universe surrenders to logic, this fact will never change.

  The second foundation of knowledge above mathematics is physics. The laws of physics known to mankind start to work 10^(-43) seconds after the origin of the universe (Planck time), and after another one trillionth of a second, particles, quarks and electrons are born in the universe. Appeared, the majestic prelude of physics was opened.

  Physics is a natural science. Natural science is not entirely based on a logical system. It is "experience + logic". This means that the laws of physics are not truths and can be repaired or overturned. However, this kind of thing does not happen often, and physics knowledge is extremely reliable. A scholar who has consolidated his knowledge system on the basis of physics is the person most qualified to speak to the world.



  The third foundation of knowledge is chemistry. Strictly speaking, the study of chemistry on the molecular scale can only be regarded as a branch of physics, a "lower" discipline of physics. Without the emergence of atomic physics, Mendeleev could arrange the chemical elements into a periodic table according to their characteristics, but he could not explain why the elements must form such a periodic table. This is why Rutherford was in his time. Said: "All science is either physics or philately".

  In chemistry, it is difficult to draw valid conclusions based on logical derivation alone. The components of experiments are large, and the reliability of knowledge cannot be compared with that of physics, but it is still fairly accurate.

  The fourth foundation of knowledge is biology. It is the "lower" discipline of physics and chemistry. If it weren't for Schrödinger's lecture "What is life" at Trinity College Dublin in 1943, he used the tremendous power of physics and chemistry to complete the upgrade and forging of biology. Then most biologists can only be called "philately hobby" naturalists, and there will be no later stories about Watson and Crick revealing the double helix structure of DNA.

  But please note that compared to chemistry, the research objects of biology are more complex, and mathematical logic derivation only accounts for a small part, almost entirely dependent on experimentation. Especially in medicine, facing the complex human body and the most complex human brain, large-scale random double-blind experiments are the limit of knowledge reliability.

  If you pretend to be a scholar, then biology (especially life science) is the watershed you must cross as the "hub" of natural science and social science, because the knowledge foundation of biology is so unreliable. It will even collapse at any time.

  For example, "all models are wrong, and some of them are useful" economics; the psychology of repeatedly falling into "unrepeatable crises" (including famous books such as "Thinking, Fast and Slow"); "Let's dress up as a little girl" History; philosophy that has been rubbed on the ground by science for hundreds of years; politics that has no basic consensus... They are not sciences, they are just disciplines.

So what is science?


  From Hume to Comte, from Popper to Kuhn, from Lakatos to Feyerabend, there is no perfect answer so far, but science undoubtedly has an incomparably determined power, and it is the only one with clear "progress". Direction of knowledge system. Every scientific paper must follow a rigorous structure of "connecting the previous and the next", clarifying the position of the research object in the knowledge tree, and expanding the frontier of the field in a single step.

  Science is never ancient. Every top physicist, chemist and biologist alive has more knowledge than any dead physicist, chemist and biologist in human history.

  But what is absurd is that many social sciences are still studying the works of the Axial Age and regard the words of Confucius and Socrates as standards, because logically, there is no "progress" in the conceptual system compared to science.

  Then, is there any knowledge less "reliable" than social science?

  Yes, that is literature and art.

  At this moment, if anyone is picked up from the Academy of Social Sciences, his knowledge will probably surpass that of Confucius and Socrates. But no paranoid dare to publicly say that his music is better than Bach, his novel is better than Hermann Hesse, and his movie is better than Ozu Yasujiro.

  why is it like this? Because the criterion of literary and artistic judgment cannot be falsified, it is simply unreasonable. For example, I deliberately chose the above three examples to show my personal aesthetic preference.

  If the degree of the use of mathematics determines the reliability of a subject, then literature and art are obviously the least reliable.

  But in reality, the foundation of knowledge for most "readers" is not "from mathematics to art", but on the contrary, "from art to mathematics". In addition to literary works, people who can read economics, political science, and history have a wide range of subjects, and very few people can cross the threshold of biology. There are also many "students" whose reading horizons for their entire lives stop on literature and art, and in the end they can only be a literary youth.

  What's more interesting is that these cultural people who lack common knowledge in statistics and do not understand quantitative and experimental analysis are the most enthusiastic about talking about the world. They like to make logically chaotic comments and ask emotional questions.

  For example: Why are new songs not as good as old ones?

Survivor bias



  As long as there is no hatred for this world, I have no disrespect for any literary and artistic creator. As a member of the past, I understand the feelings that are surging in their hearts, and understand that they are fighting the boring world in their own way.

  In fact, I wrote this article precisely because I recently heard a new song that I like very much, "Old-fashioned Dual Card Recorder" by Ningbo musicians. The title of this article is a lyric from this song.

  But after talking about science for so long, maybe we can use a more reliable perspective to answer the question of "Uncle Uncle": "Why is the technology so advanced, but the old songs are still good?"

  This means that we must first define "good" .

  If we narrowly interpret it as "the melody in most people's hearts is pleasant to the ear", then the first explanation for "new songs are not as good as old ones" is the survivor's deviation.

  Parents always feel that the "old things" of the past are of better quality and can last longer. They don't know that only things that can last longer can be remembered and used as examples.


  "Old things" are like this, so are old songs. "Old songs" are good because you only remember the good old songs, and time has eliminated the bad ones.

  In particular, the sentence "Why do classic old songs sound good" is a circular argument. "Classic" originally means that it can stand the test of time. This should not be difficult to understand.

Neuroscience and "Feelings"


  Of course, in addition to the survivor bias, people do generally "reject" new songs.

  The most famous experiment related to this comes from a survey conducted by the streaming media site Deezer. Among all the interviewees, they found that 60% of the British people always listen to the songs they like repeatedly, and basically reject any new songs; 25% of the interviewees said they don’t want to try other music genres they like. The peak age of actively searching for new songs is 24 years old. Among the respondents at this age, 75% listen to more than 10 new songs a week, but since then their enthusiasm for following new songs has begun to weaken, reaching around 30 years old. Stop listening to new songs.

  In this regard, the usual explanation is "feelings."

  Just like the "Uncle" in "Old-fashioned Dual Card Recorder", adults always look back frequently, wanting to go back, trying to relive the fiery atmosphere of the old age.

  But switching to a scientific perspective, this explanation has not reached the end, because "feelings" cannot be quantified. If we rigorously define the so-called "feelings", it is more likely to be the result of brain nerve activity.

  In 2018, some economists counted the data on the music streaming media spotify and found that the songs released during your adolescence tend to become the most popular songs in your age group, such as Radiohead’s famous "Creep" , It ranks 168 in the 38-year-old middle-aged male music chart, but it is not in the top 300 in the 28-year-old or 48-year-old age group. This is because "Creep" was released in 1993, that year, and now Of middle-aged men are in puberty.

  Why is this happening? One explanation is that, first of all, when a person hears a favorite song, the brain releases pleasant substances such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.

  More importantly, as Stanford University sociobiologist Sapolsky said in "Behavior", from the perspective of brain development, the so-called "puberty" means that other parts of the brain have developed well, and only responsible for rationality and Decision-making is the stage of life in which the frontal cortex is immature, and the latter will not fully develop until more than 20 years of age.

  This means that the emotions experienced in adolescence are often more intense than those experienced in adulthood; the brain during adolescence is more "sensitive" to emotions. Compared with new songs heard in adulthood, the brain listens to new songs in adolescence. The songs I arrive are "maintained" more firmly, and the memory traces generated are stronger.

  The most memorable part is of course the indescribable love.

  Most ordinary people have experienced the sweetest things that happened in adolescence. The days after that are mostly not worth mentioning. They are humble as dust, reminiscing about the pale past. Only in the short period of first love do they feel that they are in the world. the happiest person.

  Just like "Uncle Uncle" in "Old-fashioned Dual Card Recorder", his nostalgic old songs are all related to love.

  This is probably a game for adults only. Perhaps it is a psychological defense mechanism. Compared with the anxiety about the uncertainty of the future, adults are more willing to beautify the past, especially the sweetest part.

Old songs are really more "playable"?


  I guess after reading this, you may still have questions: If the number of KTV songs is used as a sample, why are most of the hot songs in the rankings of old songs more than a decade ago?

  In addition to the "post-80s and post-90s" survivors' mistakes in KTV’s main consumer groups, are there other reasons, such as: new songs are really not as good as old ones in general?

  Indeed, there are many times when artists who are passionate about post-00s release new songs, they are often accompanied by #难听# on the hot search. For many non-00 generations, listen to what was popular before, but don’t listen to what is popular now.

  Not only China, a study by New York University found that for American millennials (18-25 years old), old songs seem to be more "beatable" than new ones.

  They randomly played 7 of the 152 songs to 643 students for identification. They found that millennials’ melody memory of songs from 1960 to 1990 (consistent with the definition of “good” in this article) was the most stable and large Most of them are not forgotten over time, with the fastest rate of forgotten new songs from 2000 to 2015.

  Of course, logically, this still does not lead to the conclusion that “new songs are not as good as old songs”. For example, researchers also admit that the recognition of these old songs by millennials is related to the corresponding number of playbacks on Spotify. In other words , Old songs are always played more often than new songs, and they are more likely to be remembered.

  But even so, many people are faintly guessing that human music creation does have a "low-hanging fruit" similar to technological innovation. New songs have made rapid progress in concepts and techniques, but they want to be "good-sounding". It's getting harder and harder.

  Is that right?

  The most rational answer is "don't know." After all, the literature and art represented by music is the field farthest from reason. Under the baptism of postmodern thought, the most politically correct answer is, "Music is only like it or not, not whether it is good or not."

  I cannot refute this because it is not a scientific question.

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