It's just you vs. 50 songs.
May 3, 2017 2:27 PM   Subscribe

If You Like Good Music, You Should Get a Perfect Score on This Quiz, says Esquire. Match 30 seconds of fifty songs to their album covers. (via kottke.)
posted by progosk (98 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
(239; are educated guesses cheating?)
posted by progosk at 2:29 PM on May 3, 2017

248. Ridiculously easy. The least they could have done is had artists that sound somewhat similar to one another.
posted by dobbs at 2:30 PM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

I got a 245. Had a perfect score until I got to the hard section, where I bombed.
posted by dinty_moore at 2:35 PM on May 3, 2017

posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 2:41 PM on May 3, 2017

I'm beyond good until about seven years into this current century at which point it all falls apart. Which I could've told you coming in.

posted by philip-random at 2:44 PM on May 3, 2017

245. The difficulty levels seem highly subjective, however, as the ones labeled 'harder' seemed to be the stages mostly dominated by hip-hop. (Not being a connoisseur of rap, that happened to be true for me, but I would imagine knowledgeable fans of the genre would have found those levels to be quite easy comparatively.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:50 PM on May 3, 2017

Well, I don't know what the cool kids are listening to these days, but I cleaned up pretty well.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:51 PM on May 3, 2017

240. It probably says a lot about Esquire's readership that they think the hip-hop sections are harder than the alternative rock sections.
posted by empath at 2:52 PM on May 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

248. Damn my ignorance of hip hop. Not that hard if I get 248. There's almost no pop in there which helps a lot.
posted by viramamunivar at 2:52 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

239. I feel like this quiz was put together by someone at-or-around my age, who--unlike me--had to keep up with what the kids were listenin' to after he turned 35. And that gendering in the last sentence isn't an elision, this was definitely put together by a dude.

Anyway, I don't consider myself to be musically savvy in any serious way, so this quiz must have been pretty dang easy.

On preview, what Nanuk said.
posted by turbowombat at 2:54 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Albums still have covers? They still sell albums?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:55 PM on May 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

This was tough, and I was super proud of my score until I landed in here and it's low in comparison... 228. Lowest of the bunch (so far)!
posted by sockermom at 2:58 PM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

239, with the caveat that this is, as with everything on the interwebs, extremely US-centric.
posted by parm at 2:59 PM on May 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

250! Thanks, SoundHound!
posted by cazoo at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I bailed about halfway through, because I'm too cool for this test.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:07 PM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

238, which seems ridiculously generous to me, considering how little I actually know of modern music. This test seems aimed squarely at the 30-something indie rock fan, back when "indie rock" was an actual living genre and not a fossilized term like "college rock."
posted by chrominance at 3:10 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

30 whole seconds? The thing that fascinates me about pop music is how, if you know a song, you can frequently identify it from a snippet less than a second long. Often just a single drum beat or guitar note is sufficient.
posted by straight at 3:15 PM on May 3, 2017 [10 favorites]

posted by lazaruslong at 3:16 PM on May 3, 2017

This quiz makes the good music genres go away quickly while the songs from genres you hate keep playing while you frantically stab at buttons trying to make it stop.
posted by darksasami at 3:21 PM on May 3, 2017 [9 favorites]

Do you know pop and rock, plus like one soul record. That should cover all the music there is.
posted by factory123 at 3:23 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

232, which sucks by MeFi standards, apparently.
My score would have been even lower if contemporary indie rock wasn't soo prevalent.
posted by bigendian at 3:25 PM on May 3, 2017

239 and I swear they just siphoned off most of my Spotify playlist and apparently I do not listen to enough hip-hop.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:25 PM on May 3, 2017

I'm pretty good at recognising artists and bands by sound, pretty sucky at them by sight … I could name song titles, match lyrics or album titles waaaay easier than knowing what the albums look like. I will even go so far to admit that I pretty much listen to things primarily on some sort of shuffle these days — which probably hones my skills at recognising artists/bands by style and sound, what with all the context switching and my incessant curiosity.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:26 PM on May 3, 2017

237. I was doing okay until the very last level. I got every single one of those wrong. Only one of those 8 songs was even vaguely familiar. I have young teenagers, so I know all the genres up to around they time they were born, and I know the stuff they listen to now, but evidently 14 year-olds aren't big on current indie-rock, because I am completely out of that loop.
posted by Dojie at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

218, because I haven't listened to a record made in the last fifteen years, I guess. Oh well!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:31 PM on May 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

248 and should be titled "If You Like Middlebrow Music, You Should Get A Perfect Score."

(Also, had an awkward moment of realizing that sometimes when I know a song and artist, I still have zero idea what the album cover looks like.)
posted by klangklangston at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2017

212, which isn't bad for someone who barely knows any new music from this century. But I would have done worse if the options weren't so obvious: if the vocals are women and three of your album covers feature all men, well.

It was pretty much that I either knew instantly or had to use my powers of deduction. I'd probably score higher if it was based on that.

Also, there Neil Young's Harvest seemed really out of place.

On preview, I'm feel like I'm in good company with Bitter Old Punk.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:35 PM on May 3, 2017

Oh, and thanks for posting this, it was fun!
posted by Room 641-A at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2017

Why are the easy questions worth way more points than the hard questions? Doesn't that seem backwards?
posted by jacquilynne at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

236 with a couple of good-at-multiple-choice moments abetting that. I'm not really sure how being able to recognize Zep and the Stones is meant to be worth more than getting every single hiphop/rap/R&B question correct if this is meant to be a yardstick for other than Recognizing Extremely Famous White Person Music.
posted by cortex at 3:38 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

I suck, but at least I did better than my 14 year old son. I take that as a win.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:43 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was also little upset that when I clicked on DJ Khaled by mistake it didn't immediately kick me out of the quiz and cancel my spotify account for me.
posted by turbowombat at 3:44 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

(I mean I get that structurally it's a neat little toy wrapped up in a quiz with scoring designed to flatter the test-taker by inflating the "IQ" while using that as a point of cultural reference, and that a high score motivates people to virally transmit the clickbait out of a sense of pride and/or competitiveness, and so here we are on the web and hey whatever. But it seems like maybe it didn't need to also have such conspicuous cultural valuation bias in how it distributes the score. You can goose the scoring to get everybody into the low-mid 200s without plopping a disproportionate amount of that inflated scoring onto white dudes.)
posted by cortex at 3:44 PM on May 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Thank god for the rap and classic rock sections, I don't have any idea what the rest of that noise was.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 3:49 PM on May 3, 2017

posted by SarahElizaP at 3:53 PM on May 3, 2017

So many bands and songs I don't know.
posted by JanetLand at 3:54 PM on May 3, 2017

I guessed at every single hip-hop selection. I also screwed up some because I didn't have my reading glasses on. The previous two statements are related.
posted by davebush at 3:56 PM on May 3, 2017

227. Pretty happy with the ones I got wrong.
posted by New England Cultist at 4:04 PM on May 3, 2017

250, but some of these were such guesses because most of my music listening/management is through text-based interfaces, so I've literally never seen the covers of some of these albums before even if I can hum the song all the way through. I can go to bed tonight knowing my music knowledge is complete except Anderson .Paak and Speedy Ortiz and I think I'll sleep pretty soundly.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 4:06 PM on May 3, 2017


(Also, had an awkward moment of realizing that sometimes when I know a song and artist, I still have zero idea what the album cover looks like.)

Yeah, there was an Arctic Monkeys song on there that I had to use process of elimination on. Would have been much harder if they obscured the artist names on the albums that have them.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:07 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

237, which suggests to me that the test is bogus and biased in the particular way that my musical taste is biased, because I'm pretty clueless about contemporary music. I'm suspecting that the test over-stresses classic rock and '90s/2000s alterantive and under-stresses hip-hop.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:07 PM on May 3, 2017

228. *high-fives sockermom*
posted by billiebee at 4:08 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Why are the easy questions worth way more points than the hard questions? Doesn't that seem backwards?

It's because you won't post a link to the quiz on your Facebook page unless you got a pretty good score to "challenge" your friends with.
posted by straight at 4:09 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

217. I only broke 200 because I've been listening to a lot of Radio Paradise recently.

You should really be ranked against people your own age. I'm 45 and I did perfect on classic rock and 80's stuff, started to fail on hip-hop and completely missed indie stuff since 2000.
posted by Loudmax at 4:11 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

247. Mos Def got me, damnit.
posted by dw at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2017


I got some good guesses in the hip hop stuff. It was kind of interesting how a few of those I was guided by the combo of the sound of the music and the album art - "this sounds like that looks." But that same strategy was less successful in the super-indie stuff. The last level was like "this sounds like... ANY of those look."
posted by dnash at 4:33 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

238. Many of the more recent Indie stuff tripped me up, because I had never seen the covers before.
posted by Benway at 4:36 PM on May 3, 2017

242. What the heck was that scoring anyway? You may as well scrap the easy section completely and just rank out of 50.
posted by solarion at 4:42 PM on May 3, 2017

I was super proud of my score until I landed in here and it's low in comparison... 228. Lowest of the bunch (so far)!

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 PM on May 3, 2017

240. I knew more lyrics and tunes than I did album covers. This felt a bit too easy.
posted by Fizz at 4:45 PM on May 3, 2017

242, which I think means I retained knowledge from when this rolled around the internets the last time because I know I've taken this before. And was delighted by the inclusion of Jenny Lewis both times.
posted by rewil at 5:05 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

179, but in fairness I don't listen to pretty much any of the genres this quiz is using.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:24 PM on May 3, 2017

230, but then again, there could have been more Daft Punk and R.E.M.
posted by 4ster at 5:29 PM on May 3, 2017

230, which must mean I'm really good at guessing because I'd never heard any of the songs except for the really easy ones.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:32 PM on May 3, 2017

posted by nikoniko at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

After awhile I started to feel bad for always-the-bridesmaid DJ Khaled.

Pretty sure the person who made this is a 42 year old white dude who moved from somewhere to NYC in the mid-90s.

posted by gwint at 5:45 PM on May 3, 2017 [10 favorites]

posted by chococat at 6:05 PM on May 3, 2017

Esquire magazine eh? I guess it's all fucking...Frank Sinatra songs.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:13 PM on May 3, 2017

239. I think I owe the Hip-Hop & R&B communities and anyone who made music after 2007 an apology.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:27 PM on May 3, 2017

244. Missed out on a bit of the latest indie stuff and about half of the hip-hop. When in doubt, I chose the critical darling from the display (Common, Rilo Kiley, a couple of others) and was always rewarded.
posted by maudlin at 6:29 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

240 and only three correct blind guesses. Also, I had to resist opening Soundhound like four times.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:35 PM on May 3, 2017

239. Damn you, Daft Punk. Perfect score til then.
posted by at 6:57 PM on May 3, 2017

235. For the ones I didn't know, I found that the album art was often a good match for the sound.
posted by the sobsister at 7:27 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

237 plus I discovered some new music I liked, so it's a win-win!

Though a significantly high percentage of my correct-on-the-first-tries were outright guesses, which could just mean that album cover designers really know how more about how to capture musicians' vibes than I ever gave them credit for.
posted by Mchelly at 7:27 PM on May 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

227. I know nothing about music made by people who only entered the music industry in the past 10 years. (I'm a little bit better with hip hop but that's because it doesn't all sound so blandly samey to me like "indie" or whatever we're calling it does.)

I am also apparently not bad at listening to a piece of music and being like "I have no idea who or what this is, but it sounds like it has a mirrorball on the cover."
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:28 PM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mrs. Benway just got 245. She knew alot of the later stuff by guessing the music style to the cover art at the end. I bow to her now.
posted by Benway at 7:43 PM on May 3, 2017

241, but I think I'm the target demo. And pretty good at matching album art style to music style. Plus I didn't realize Chuck D had solo albums, so, utility!
posted by MarvinTheCat at 8:27 PM on May 3, 2017

242, which I'm pleased with considering I never see the album covers, so I got stumped when multiple albums had no names or pics.
posted by davejay at 8:30 PM on May 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

234. Out of 50 questions, I flat-out guessed on at least 15. Process of elimination was super easy, though:

1) Have I heard anything by any of the bands?
2) Have I read anything about any of the bands?
3) Have I read anything about any of the bands in Esquire (I had a subscription in the 90s and 2000s, have occasionally picked it up on the newsstand since)

Those three questions got me a good chunk of the guesses. But I utterly died on the last level. A) I don't know modern indie stuff and B) These damn kids today don't put the names of their bands & albums on the covers.

Really, really, really light on the r&b, rap and hip-hop. Not unexpected for Esquire, of course, but unexpected for a quiz on modern popular music. I mean... cross reference with the Billboard top 40, willya?
posted by aureliobuendia at 9:19 PM on May 3, 2017

I am rather dubious of the idea that your knowledge of music is directly related to your knowledge of album covers (and I noticed at least one the album given was a best-of and not the album the song originally appeared on.)
posted by ckape at 9:33 PM on May 3, 2017

(I mean I still got 241 but it's the principle of the thing)
posted by ckape at 9:35 PM on May 3, 2017

Like most of the modern web, this quiz was crippled for me here behind the Chinese firewall... but I recognised the two album covers in level one that managed to load!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:01 PM on May 3, 2017

B) These damn kids today don't put the names of their bands & albums on the covers.

Sure, because the album cover is just a tiny image that appears near the track info in iTunes or on their phone.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:02 PM on May 3, 2017

196, but I am not good with the music after 1908 and before 2008. I mean, I guess I knew Linkin Park and Green Day. I learned about the Beatles in music class.

Per actual "I listen to this for fun" exposure, the albums I recognized instantaneously were all like, Rae Srummurd, Maile Martinez, Halsey, Katy Perry, and none of them were ever the answer.

In the whole game, there were two songs I had actually truly heard before (Coldplay and the XX) and one that I have only heard sung in karaoke (Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana). Many of them were guessed by "ok, this is a woman, only one album cover is a woman".
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:11 PM on May 3, 2017

213, because I am an Old and also only listen to CBC Radio One, but am not bad at making educated guesses.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:20 AM on May 4, 2017

210! I come away from this quiz having a newfound appreciation for album covers and how they really can communicate the vibe of the music.
posted by yueliang at 1:25 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

242, that last section was pretty much all blind guessing. Also a reminder that I never got around to listening to the new Frank Ocean album, which I'm going to fix right now.
posted by Fig at 3:27 AM on May 4, 2017

I wouldn't describe myself as a music head, and I haven't really ever looked at album covers enough to have a conscious relationship to them. MP3 generation.

238 points though, so it can't have been that hard.
posted by flippant at 4:05 AM on May 4, 2017

I can't take the test, because of a poor internet connection - but everything people have said about it so far makes me not want to. I'd score low, because although I definitely like "good music," quite a lot of it hasn't been blessed by the widespread approval of white dudes.

Putting aside the limited genres - what's the gender ratio?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:31 AM on May 4, 2017

215. But when you factor in my age (62), I figure that's the equivalent of ~290.

I would have owned this in 1990.
posted by she's not there at 4:55 AM on May 4, 2017

omg that was so fun. I love clip-based music quizzes, and having you match the songs to album covers was a good twist. There were several that I didn't know but guessed correctly on just based on "eh, that sounds like a band that would have an album cover that looked like that..."

Also there were some great albums on there! Now I want a playlist of all the songs in the quiz.
posted by aka burlap at 5:37 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

25 or 624.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:09 AM on May 4, 2017 [7 favorites]

245. Easy, as the others have said. And fuck esquire for leaning into the "all rap sounds the same" fallacy.
posted by sazerac at 6:53 AM on May 4, 2017

242, with some guessing.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:22 AM on May 4, 2017

I'm going to guess that I would do abysmally at this, because there is not one pop/rock/hiphop song made later than about 1998 that doesn't make my eyebrows twitch and my fist clench and unclench repeatedly, except maybe for They Might Be Giants and Tool.

I'm also going to guess the creators of this test don't know a damn thing about the music I do listen to. I mean, for the last 3 days I've been obsessed with this at work and this in the car.
posted by Foosnark at 7:41 AM on May 4, 2017

233 because I'm super undereducated in the hip hop / rap categories.

I liked the round that had Jenny Lewis in there twice. More Jenny Lewis!
posted by moviehawk at 8:00 AM on May 4, 2017

245, and I kind of wish there was a Spotify playlist of the songs... but I'll settle for programming a Pandora channel off it.
posted by ApathyGirl at 8:08 AM on May 4, 2017

I'm not even gonna try because I almost never ever listen to a whole album, let alone knowing what the cover looks like.
posted by numaner at 9:03 AM on May 4, 2017

238, or a Metafilter D-plus. Sooo many educated (?) guesses. Kicking myself for missing The xx.
posted by univac at 9:05 AM on May 4, 2017

Also, a minor quibble: I listen exclusively to good music, but several of the selections in this quiz were actually bad music. Not a great look when the mainstream media has already taken such a big hit in regard to accuracy.
posted by univac at 9:15 AM on May 4, 2017

199. Did very well with hip-hop, but had no clue about indie. Lots of educated guesses on the other ones. Want to see how Mr. Moonlight will do.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 10:55 AM on May 4, 2017

Esquire's favorite band sucks.
posted by zeusianfog at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

250, suckas!
posted by saul wright at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

196. And I was only that high because there's a 1/4 chance of getting it right on the first guess. Realistically most of it was well outside of the areas I listen to. Now get off my lawn.
posted by piper28 at 1:45 PM on May 4, 2017

241. My music blogging self from 2005 looks at me in shame.
posted by KingEdRa at 3:34 PM on May 4, 2017

Did pretty well, but huh, only one country song, and it was Johnny Cash? I'd have bombed country, sure, but at least it would have evened the playing field for people who don't, well, look like me or live where I live (ie. I guess, Esquire staff). Pretty much just all indie rock that I used to think I liked with a couple of classic rock and rap tracks mixed in so you don't feel bad about not caring about indie rock.
posted by General Malaise at 10:21 AM on May 5, 2017

The genre focus (mostly indie and hip-hop) is IMO just indicative of what the creator(s) of the test listen(s) to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:14 AM on May 5, 2017

231. Like she's not there, I demand an age-adjusted handicap. How am I supposed to know twee indie crap at 61? I'm gradually letting hip-hop onto my lawn, too late for this quiz
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:03 PM on May 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

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