I honestly never listen to music
May 1, 2020 5:01 PM   Subscribe

 
i love this. I wish there were radio stations that kept the breadth of music alive.
posted by rebent at 5:14 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Of course it's an interesting methodology that you simply rate how familiar it sounds, but don't have to "prove" you are familiar with the song. Quizzing on artist or title wouldn't necessarily be a test of familiarity so much as an exercise in trivia, I guess.

The funny thing is that out of the songs it picked for me, I rated the one where I have the strongest instant playback memory in my head (Tracy Chapman, "Gimme One Reason") as unknown. Must not have played back the part of the song I remember.
posted by anhedonic at 5:21 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Hah, that's hilarious -- after I gave it my birth year (1953) it gave me songs from the 1990s, which is the decade I stopped listening to pop music. Might not people be likeliest to recognize music from when they were in their teens/20s?
posted by Kat Allison at 5:27 PM on May 1 [10 favorites]


Kat, it picks a random decade to quiz you on - further down you can see the matrix of generation vs. individual songs. I kept listening and I got quizzed on 60's, 80's, 90's.
posted by dragstroke at 5:28 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Nope, nothing that keeps me on that radio station while cruising down the highway.
Needs more country.
posted by TrishaU at 5:30 PM on May 1


One of them it gave me was Classical Gas. I wasn't quite sure whether to click know it or singing the lyrics.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:35 PM on May 1 [12 favorites]


11/13 on 80s songs (DOB 1966). Did I win?
posted by sundrop at 5:35 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Gettin' Jiggy Wit It Will Smith (1998)

Ages 13-22
38%
Gen Z
SON I AM DISAPPOINT.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:37 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


First try: they gave me the 2000s. Not my taste in music.
Second try: they gave me the 1960s. Definitely Beatles, not Rolling Stones. Still not enough country.
posted by TrishaU at 5:37 PM on May 1


The stats of how well each generation recognizes different songs seem interesting, but I suspect the population sizes are way too small for them to be reliable. Some decade-generation crosses have way too many percentages in perfect halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, and sixths to be coincidence. So, for example, I highly doubt that "Like You" by Bow Wow is recognized by 14% of Millennials and 12% of Gen Xers, but a full 50% of Boomers.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 5:40 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Old man here ,got the 00's huh?
posted by Max Power at 5:42 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


There's definitely a little issue with using covers, I think, which could confound the results.

Also wow that was a lot of disco from the 1970s I just listened to for the first time (outside my former dermatologist's office.)
posted by cobaltnine at 5:43 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Right Here, Right Now Jesus Jones 1991
13%, 41%, 94%, 0%


That song deserves its fate. Those of us in the third cohort envy the rest of you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:43 PM on May 1 [28 favorites]


I got some 2000s songs. Having teenage kids in the 2000s finally paid off in spades.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:46 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Yeah, huh. It gave me the 70s, which I was functionally not alive for even if I was technically born right at the end there. Mixed bag on the results, I "singing along" knew five of them really well once it hit the chorus and recognized a couple more without being able to be pin 'em down so confidently, but it's hard to parse each of those out of historical momentum vs. ongoing popular usage. Like, I didn't grow up listening to Get Down Tonight, I know it because I've spent my whole life hearing it come back around because it's a fun song people like to put on soundtracks etc.

And, say, I definitely immediately recognized "Without You", but I recognized it because of the humongous impact the Mariah Carey cover had on popular awareness of it when I was a teenager, and this is possibly the first time I've ever actually heard the (I presume) Harry Nilsson version.
posted by cortex at 5:49 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


99% of Gen Xers know Time after Time. Who the hell was living on Mars in 1984?

Only 67% of Gen Xers know Ms. Jackson? Stankonia was when these people were in their prime.

One thing that strikes me is just how mediocre the 2000s were for music. If we were to pick a decade to send down the memory hole the 2000s would probably do the least cultural damage.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:53 PM on May 1 [7 favorites]



One of them it gave me was Classical Gas. I wasn't quite sure whether to click know it or singing the lyrics.


BAH-da-dat-dah-daah (da dee da dum da) / BAH-da-dat-dah-daah (da dee da dum da) /BAH-da-dat-dah-daah (da dee da dum da) da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM DUM..
posted by pykrete jungle at 5:59 PM on May 1 [10 favorites]


Must not have played back the part of the song I remember.

This. I missed several and then when I read the list of songs I missed, I knew almost all of them, well, by title, anyway.
posted by bz at 6:00 PM on May 1


I kept listening and I got quizzed on 60's, 80's, 90's.

All the sets I've gotten so far are the 80s for some reason. I do like me some 80s music but I'm curious about the other decades' selections...
posted by May Kasahara at 6:06 PM on May 1


One thing that strikes me is just how mediocre the 2000s were for music. If we were to pick a decade to send down the memory hole the 2000s would probably do the least cultural damage.
no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love my dumb childhood music
(i'm waiting for it to get off the '70s but i know a surprising amount)
posted by gaybobbie at 6:07 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


I feel like this is a good way to precisely identify when various demographics stopped listening to broadcast radio.
posted by phooky at 6:12 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


There was several for me that played a bridge that was in now way memorable enough on it's own for anyone but an ardent fan of the song to recognize. Several were either too loud or too soft or distorted as well. The worst was hearing a 90s remake of a 70s song when evaluating 70s songs (I did this yesterday and I think it was Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman"). It's still kinda fun, but hardly scientific. Gotta have my son do it, he'll skew the Gen Z curve on the 80s because I raised him right.
posted by inthe80s at 6:13 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


There should be a 'instinctively start doing the dance from the music video' option, at least for the 1990's.

Needs more country.

Honestly, I was thinking the 70's selection I got had too much country.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:16 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


90s were my favorite decade for music, but it gave me mostly songs in genres I didn’t listen to and I only truly recognized two and another two were familiar. That was not the result I was expecting. It gave me only one alternative song; and then for some reason I know the "gettin' jiggy" song. Maybe it was just a bad batch for me?

However, I'd like to try 70s because I'm pretty sure I'll get all of them. I did do something like this a few months ago and 70s was my best decade.

Technically, it put me in the boomer cohort because it considers my birth year to be the final boomer year; but looking at the list I am, as always, really a very early Gen-X.

There was much more a monoculture in the 70s than even the 80s. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the cohorts do relatively well for that decade.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:20 PM on May 1 [3 favorites]


It gave me the 1970s 5 times in a row, too frustrated to continue -.-
posted by curious nu at 6:23 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Every time I pushed the button for more music, I got the same decade. If I refreshed the page, it still remembered me, but I got a new one.
posted by netd at 6:27 PM on May 1 [6 favorites]


Update: I eventually made it to a different decade! And now I'm being reminded of how Puff Daddy was seemingly everywhere in the late 90s.
posted by May Kasahara at 6:29 PM on May 1


Oh man, the songs that only one generation hits at 100% are such a weird mix of songs:

Songs That 100% of Gen Z Know (But NOT 100% of Any Other Generation Knows)
Hit Me Baby One More Time, by Britney Spears
Just Dance, by Lady Gaga
Bad Romance, by Lady Gaga
Pon De Replay, by Rihanna
Complicated, by Avril Levigne
Apologize, by Timbaland
Hips Don't Lie, by Shakira
Low, by Flo Rida
Don't Stop the Music, by Rihanna
Gives You Hell, by All American Rejects
Ridin', by Chamillionaire
Crank That (Soulja Boy), by Soulja Boy Tell'em
I Gotta Feeling, by The Black Eyed Peas
I Kissed A Girl, by Katy Perry
Hey There Delilah, by Plain White T's
TiK ToK, by Ke$ha
I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho), by Pitbull
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, by Aerosmith
This Is How We Do It, by Montell Jordan
Yeah!, by Usher
Can You Feel The Love Tonight, by Elton John
Jumpin' Jumpin', by Destiny's Child
Umbrella, by Rihanna
I'd Do Anything For Love, by Meat Loaf
Irreplaceable, by Beyonce
Crazy In Love, by Beyonce
The Power, by Snap!
Black Or White, by Michael Jackson
The Real Slim Shady, by Eminem
Ride Wit Me, by Nelly
You Are Not Alone, by Michael Jackson

Songs That 100% of Millenials Know (But NOT 100% of Any Other Generation Knows)
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, by Green Day
No Scrubs, by TLC

Songs That 100% of Gen X Know (But NOT 100% of Any Other Generation Knows):
The Sign, by Ace of Base
Jump Around, by House of Pain
I'm Too Sexy, by Right Said Fred
Under the Bridge, by Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of Us, by Joan Osborne
Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus
Gonna Make You Sweat, by C & C Music Factory
Drive, by The Cars
Hello, by Lionel Richie
The Entertainer, by Marvin Hamlisch
Manic Monday, by the Bangles

Songs That 100% of Boomers Know (But NOT 100% of Any Other Generations Knows)
All By Myself, by Celine Dion
Down, by Jay Sean
My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion
Janie's Got A Gun, by Aerosmith
Roam, by B-52's
Morning Train, by Sheena Easton
She Drives Me Crazy, by Fine Young Cannibals
Let's Hear It For The Boy, by Deniece Williams
It's Still Rock And Roll To Me, by Billy Joel
Holding Back The Years, by Simply Red
Total Eclipse Of The Heart, by Nicki French
Queen Of Hearts, by Juice Newton
Daydream Believer, by The Monkees
posted by 23skidoo at 6:29 PM on May 1 [15 favorites]


If we were to pick a decade to send down the memory hole the 2000s would probably do the least cultural damage.

I agree with you viscerally, but I think the rot started in the '90s. In the 28 years from 1964 to 1991, 660 unique singles hit #1 on the US Billboards, or 23.6 singles per year, and no year saw fewer than 16 unique top singles. In the 28 years from 1992 to 2019, only 333 unique singles hit #1, or 11.9 singles per year, and no year saw more than 19 unique top singles.

Also, while looking at this data, I discovered that the top single from December 21, 2019 to January 10, 2020 was none other than "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Yeah, that one, the one Mariah Carey recorded in 1994. I can think of no bigger indictment of American pop music as an industry.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:41 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


it kept giving me the same decade over and over unless i refreshed.
also, i didn't notice it at the time, but a lot of that music sounded really...bad. even standards like elvis, the stoned and the beatles sounded alien, mismixed or something. but puff the magic dragon sounded just right.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:44 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Apparently "You're So Vain" is the only song I know from the 1970s. Thanks a lot, karaoke!
posted by betweenthebars at 6:49 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I was disappointed that there was no music selected from before the 60s, which would seem a more appropriate match for some of the older participants to compare to the younger ones listening to songs from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but then the test doesn't seem all that well designed anyway, so it doesn't matter much I guess.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:50 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


So MANY long, wanky bridges.
posted by wotsac at 6:52 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


Ok, so the main thing that I got from this is that yesterday I was looking at my blanket and couldn't remember the word blanket but my brain decided that it was vitally important to retain every last lyric* of Shai's If I Ever Fall In Love. So, uh, thanks for that, brain!

*Did I test this? Obviously!
posted by Ruki at 7:23 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Life is demanding, without understanding.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 7:26 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


I agree with you viscerally, but I think the rot started in the '90s.

I think it was the death of rock music during the ‘90s that made the 2000s so forgettable. Even though the ‘90s was grunge central it still had a really good quality supply of alternative rock coming through constantly. It’s not like there was no rock on the Top 40 post-2000 but there was no consistent undercurrent of good rock like there was in almost every other decade. A couple of B tier Foo Fighter albums, The White Stripes, Paramore, and Green Day on the periphery with some awesome punk. What else was there? Some C tier U2 albums and Coldplay?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:26 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


“Billie Jean” and “Never Gonna Give You Up” are the only two songs that 100% of all generations know.

I feel like this may have been the most elaborate Rickroll yet.
posted by Fuego at 7:31 PM on May 1 [17 favorites]


This is a music challenge, testing how well you recognize historic hits from only one part of world culture.
posted by Thella at 7:34 PM on May 1 [8 favorites]


Like when I think of some of the rock orientated acts of 2000 they’re not really mainstreamy sort of rock.

Maybe Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age? We had the whole Nu Metal rock with the SOAD, RATM, Linkin Park, Tool, Slipknot, etc. Gorillaz was pretty far out there but they tried really hard to do anything but rock compared to Damon’s Blur days. Weezer were kind of waining during the 2000s especially in the mid when they got to Make Believe. The Killers were way too poppy.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:44 PM on May 1


Right Here, Right Now Jesus Jones 1991
13%, 41%, 94%, 0%

That song deserves its fate. Those of us in the third cohort envy the rest of you.


Initially I thought "hey I like that song!" but then realized I was conflating it with the Fatboy Slim song where he sings "Right here, right now, right here, right now" for like 20 minutes
posted by taquito sunrise at 7:53 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


I know exactly when my interest in pop music fell off a cliff. The flagpole sitta and semicharmed kind of life period. I was driving to and from work more than an hour each way listening to broadcast radio, and I just. hated. what it had turned into. At that point I started looking into older stuff I'd never known much about like jazz, MPB... and gave up on radio. Never went back.

Gen X.
posted by ctmf at 8:03 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]


I wonder if there's any data for how quickly people click the singing along tibuttoner. There's a lot of stuff in the 60s that given long enough ... oh yeah OK I guess I know this, or if pressed I could guess the artist? But stuff that I knew from the 80's and 90's (more the former than the latter), I knew in a hot second, no question asked. I knew more from my birth decade than I figured I would, but it is pretty much the classic rock of my youth, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
posted by Kyol at 8:13 PM on May 1


(to be fair the first time I hit the 80's it was basically ALL MADONNA so I mean c'mon.)
posted by Kyol at 8:18 PM on May 1


Songs That 100% of Gen X Know (But NOT 100% of Any Other Generation Knows):

Yep. I could recognize 100% of that list in less than a few seconds each and name artist and song name.

Some of the ones it asked me, I wasn't sure how to answer. Is "Now THAT is 100% Paula Abdul, but I don't remember ever hearing the song before" sounds familiar, or haven't heard it? I decided to be strict and only answer for the song itself.
posted by ctmf at 8:21 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


Also? I wouldn't say no to a tailored playlist link to a service of the stuff I said I was singing along to. I've had terrible discoverability before, but this homed in on it in about 10 minutes. MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE.
posted by Kyol at 8:31 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


This is really interesting. I did a lot better on the decade before I was born than anything since, which is surprising. I'm guessing it was stuff that was on pop radio when my mom was controlling the car stereo.

The take home message for me is realizing, statistically this time, that I actually hate almost all music. Which is a little surprising, since I claim to love music. Out of over a hundred so far, I recognize about half, but there have been six I might ever choose to play and only four that I know I own. (Cheers to those who have a different experience!)

Looking through the statistics, I would not have guessed that the I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) would have more resonance with kids today than Ice Ice Baby. Also, it's pretty clear that Never Gonna Give You Up will be the most likely song to be recognizable in the 22nd century. (Along, perhaps, with Single Ladies and Baby Got Back, but I assume that may fade when the current generation of wedding DJs retire.) Finally, Another Brick In The Wall was a number one hit in many countries including the US? I'd never have guessed that.
posted by eotvos at 8:46 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I'd like to thank 23skidoo for the statistical breakdown. Based on my birthday, I am either among the very last of the Boomers, or the very first of the GenXers.

Based on this:

Songs That 100% of Boomers Know (But NOT 100% of Any Other Generations Knows)
All By Myself, by Celine Dion
Down, by Jay Sean
My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion
Janie's Got A Gun, by Aerosmith
Roam, by B-52's
Morning Train, by Sheena Easton
She Drives Me Crazy, by Fine Young Cannibals
Let's Hear It For The Boy, by Deniece Williams
It's Still Rock And Roll To Me, by Billy Joel
Holding Back The Years, by Simply Red
Total Eclipse Of The Heart, by Nicki French
Queen Of Hearts, by Juice Newton
Daydream Believer, by The Monkees


I am absolutely a Boomer. Glad to have that settled after all this time.
posted by Orlop at 8:48 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


The songs with the U shaped generational knowledge curves are interesting. How were they "lost" and then became known to generations further separated in time from when the songs were first popular? I suspect movie soundtracks, and maybe meme type things like the Yacht rock series.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 9:09 PM on May 1 [6 favorites]


70's, I knew all the songs.They all sucked. That was why punk rock was invented.
posted by evilDoug at 9:33 PM on May 1 [4 favorites]


Also 23skidoo, I only know half of the songs you list for boomers so no, not %100.
posted by evilDoug at 9:35 PM on May 1


GenX, 1972. They gave me 80s songs and I was singing along with 12/13. I had 10/13 of the 90s songs (dropped off in 1997 when I got married) and 9/13 of the 60s songs. My parents were very much pop music fans, and I was a Top 40 kid too so I'm probably more familiar with what the site considers popular music.
posted by kimberussell at 9:43 PM on May 1


81% of millennials can identify Crazy Town's Butterfly. Oh thank goodness, I thought I was the only one cursed with remembering that song.
posted by later, paladudes at 9:49 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


I knew the most from the 1980s and the 1960s. Not so much from the 2000s. I haven't been able to get it to give me other decades yet.

I think the ones I know the best are all ones I've owned on record or CD. The 1960s were the records my parents had on repeat when I was a kid in the 1980s, and the 1980s were the ones my friends and I had. Or other family members and friends' parents who weren't as old fashioned as my parents. By the 2000s I wasn't buying music anymore (too poor, streaming not a thing yet) so I relied on radio, which didn't play the same things over and over quite to the same extent I did with my own collections. Also I never listened to the radio a ton: just heard it when out and about.
posted by lollusc at 10:00 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]


Fun! But I feel like it needs to ask about nationality for the results to be meaningful. I love and do well in pub quiz music rounds and was surprised by how badly I was doing so did a few searches of the UK top 40 archive and noticed that many of the songs from the decades I checked (80s and 90s) didn’t chart in this country let alone make the top 3.
posted by tomp at 10:38 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


I think Your Childhood Pet Rock is onto something in that this quiz doesn't account for one's distance from the mainstream. So if you were listening to a lot of music during a certain decade, but it wasn't on mainstream radio, the data could seem skewed for you.
posted by umbú at 10:40 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]


This is fascinating. I can tell that I listened to oldies and top-40 radio as a kid, tapered off around high school, stopped listening to pop almost entirely in college and for the next ~10 years of insane work hours, and gradually started listening to more pop in the mid-2000s (probably by listening to the tracks which were used to assemble mashups I liked). And, ugh, I could have done with never hearing a few awful songs ever again; thanks so much for reminding me that I knew them. I'm looking at you, "God Bless the USA".
posted by hades at 11:56 PM on May 1


(I saw Jesus Jones live ffs)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:24 AM on May 2 [10 favorites]


Born in the 70s, got almost all of the 70s and 80s stuff right. Those that I didn't immediately recognize were popular in North America but not in Europe, which I think might be a minor bias problem with these lists.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:25 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Gen Z is into Michael Jackson, huh
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:49 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


They should have quizzed me on 1970s stuff and would have gotten a better result. The selection of only 1980s songs for my birth year is already based on assumptions.
Also, define "music" -- nothing from the Classical canon? Without actually being very haughty about it, that's still totally lame.
And then to claim that they're collecting "data points we have on how music fades from cultural knowledge." Add some Taverner or Muffat or Marais and then open yer big mouths about how much music perhaps has faded from cultural knowledge. GRR.
posted by Namlit at 1:25 AM on May 2


Welp, many of these songs evoked such strong memories I don’t know how I will get to sleep now. The strongest one? I hate Nickelback as much as the next person, but the one song on this quiz (or at least the one that I heard in a set), “How You Remind Me” brought up the warmest memory of driving around aimlessly for hours with my closest guy friend. We both secretly loved that song knowing it was terrible and would turn the volume up all the way when it came on the radio. We didn’t know it about each other then but we were two closeted kids. I spent more time with him than anyone else, logged hundreds of miles going nowhere, and we never got to bond about being queer with no one to love in a small town but we did share that far more shameful secret together.

Even hearing it now...you know, I still like it. I feel compelled to say that when that song was popular I was in high school in a town of 3,000 and listened to an eclectic mix of artists like AFI, Ani DiFranco, Bikini Kill, and Belle & Sebastian — I was too precious to admit I listened to the radio. The older I get the less my taste in music is a personality trait and the more I get to listen to “bad” music unironically alongside unimpeachably “good” indie music. I like the fun music from the past decade more than I like The Beatles.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 1:28 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


I'm a millennial. This quiz made me realize that I completely stopped listening to guitar-based music on the radio after 2000 or so. Only rap and a little bit of dancey pop.

Based on the examples in the quiz, sounds like I haven't missed much.
posted by scose at 1:37 AM on May 2


The quiz uses chronological decades, which aren't necessarily the same as music decades. (Example : which decade does "Cars" by Gary Numan really belong to?)
posted by Cardinal Fang at 2:03 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


GenX, 1976, they gave me 2000s songs and I did at least 5 rounds. I’d say I knew about 25-30% of them, but mostly not well.

The thing is, I only listened to modern rock and alternative radio at the time, so pretty much everything I recognized was some kind of crossover hit (Lady Gaga was big for me on this list, so was OutKast). Almost everything they played to me was pop hits, not hits from other charts, which I believe is part of the nature of the experiment: most rock stuff doesn’t chart on the pop charts anymore. From 2000-2009, some of the newer music I remember listening to was by Interpol, Muse, Bat For Lashes, Antony and the Johnsons, Kate Bush, etc. Not stuff that you’d hear from the American pop charts at all.

You’re only going to score well on the 2000s if you regularly listened to pop/r&b radio, since that’s the way the hits of the time leaned. Rock isn’t really the dominant vernacular of pop music anymore and hasn’t been in quite some time.
posted by verbminx at 2:55 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Update: A refresh gave me 1980s songs, so ages 3 to 13 for me. I listened to pop radio all the time as a kid. The dominant vernaculars were new wave/synthpop and Things Prince Wrote, both of which I’m still really into.

(Edit: also, MTV was a thing, and to an extent, it was my babysitter.)

100% recognition rate, probably 97% “I’m singing the lyrics.” The hardest songs for me to recognize were the ones from 1980, before the 80s Sound was really hitting the charts yet.
posted by verbminx at 3:07 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


I got over 200 songs in a row from the 1960s. Refreshing didn't help. Changing my birthdate didn't help. Sure, I know them, but now I've heard a lot of them twice. Give me another decade!
posted by Miss Cellania at 3:31 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


70's, I knew all the songs.They all sucked. That was why punk rock was invented.

I've seen some footage of what was on Top of the Pops back in the early 70s. I've since described punk as a musical immune reaction.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:39 AM on May 2


What happened to "A Love Supreme?" That's my favorite song. Or anything by the late Alice Coltrane. I have a feeling sometimes that the internet doesn't really care about anything important.
posted by kozad at 6:39 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Also, my keeping-in-touch with popular music appears to have stopped some time in the mid-90s around the time the whole post-grunge thing took off, when it seemed like every single band in the charts was the same four twenty-something white guys with guitars and drums and they just swapped haircuts and band names between gigs.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:42 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


I did well with the 90s but the new millennium killed me. Have at it young people!
posted by Dumsnill at 6:55 AM on May 2


Also 23skidoo, I only know half of the songs you list for boomers so no, not %100.

hahahah, you have misunderstood my comment- all I did was copy the data from the link.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:09 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Sure, I know them, but now I've heard a lot of them twice.

The very first time I did this, I was played the exact same Nickelback song in the same set, with only like 4 songs inbetween. I was like "Is this "test" just an elaborate Nickelback-themed prank?"
posted by 23skidoo at 7:13 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


OK so I was born in 1985, raised by Boomer immigrant parents. This quiz gave me 90s music, but all the options were either from 1990 -- when I was listening to Barney, not Vanilla Ice -- and 1998/1999 which were the only ones I actually knew.

Would be interesting to see a breakdown not by generation, but by the ~10-year agebin when the song was released. I imagine people would score very highly on songs released when they were between 15-25, then a second peak in middle age when they are parents of teens. The years in between are filled with Baby Shark and the soundtrack from Frozen.

Also wonder how streaming music will change this dynamic. Pandora came out when I was in college and is how I discovered a lot of music (that plus the fact that you had instant access to anyone's iTunes library for that brief period between ethernet/LAN and the arrival of secure wifi).
posted by basalganglia at 8:03 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


which is the decade I stopped listening to pop music.

born in 1959 which makes the early 1970s the point where I started trying to stop listening to pop music (ie: very early teens, as soon as I realized there was more to be heard than the shit on commercial radio).

The two decades the Music Challenge has given me so far are 2000s and 1990s, both of which I've pretty much struck out on, the 2000s more emphatically (zero recognition/familiarity). Which only tells me it was easier by then to avoid over-hyped radio friendly generic music regardless of genre (internet options, the mass ubiquity of easy access to everything care of filesharing).

Which is the insight I'm walking away with: that the middleground of popular music (regardless of genre) is always going to send me in the opposite direction, fast, like a bad smell. As a friend just put it yesterday (a sometimes radio DJ in his sixties), "There is a never ending supply of superb new music. You just have to know where (and how) to look for it. There is never an excuse for bad music selection, now more than ever."
posted by philip-random at 8:49 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Yeah well, I got the 60's. I knew them all--13 / 13. I couldn't remember what some of them were called. but I kept getting flashes of where I was when I heard them. I probably would do sort of okay on the 70's. Well, maybe not memorywise on the 70's but I bet I can remember what it felt like. I'm gonna go back and do it again, this time with headphones cranked up to 10, drive the eardrums to the center of my head. Give me the beat, boys, free my soul.

Don't get me started on disco.
posted by mule98J at 9:13 AM on May 2


I... is everyone gaslighting me here? Once I put in my birth year it asks me what decade I want to be quizzed on, from the 60s to the 10s, and then tests me on ten songs. What website are you going to that's deciding for you?

Turns out I know the 80s (no surprise) and the 2000s (huh) the best. I would have thought my 60s knowledge would have helped but I stunk out that one worst of all.

(edit: just re-did the 60s and got 10/10 for lyrics. Must have just been the mix.)
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:19 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


Did they change the test? I was able to pick a decade to test myself with.

(Also they lack the option "know exactly what this song is, even the lyrics, but don't remember the artist or title")
posted by ymgve at 10:57 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Yeah it let me pick the decade too. I tried the 2000s for a laugh and got a 0/10. Even after seeing the names of the song after the test, none of them are familiar so I'm really out of it.
posted by octothorpe at 11:13 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


it first gave me the decade i was born in, then it let me choose.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:17 AM on May 2


I tried the '90s and got a big 1 for my troubles. I don't know, I bought a hell of a lot of CDs of new music in the '90s.
posted by octothorpe at 11:19 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


I did very badly on all decades, I blame it on being in Europe and that I don't listen to that much pop music. But the test seems a bit flawed - a lot the songs I got tested on are not listed in the summary, so you don't know if you're an outlier of not.

Was a bit funny to get to the 2010s though, and recognize the original songs from the 80s/90s but not whoever the hell remixed/garbled them in the 2010s.
posted by ymgve at 11:24 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Yesterday it didn't let me choose, but today it did and my score was much higher thanks to Beyoncé.

To be completely honest, the only musical quiz I'm likely to pass is 'Thought for the Day or Belle and Sebastian lyric'.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:41 AM on May 2


Another thing is that this test suffers from is putting things in "generations" - the charts should be organized by one column per birth year, not generation.
posted by ymgve at 11:48 AM on May 2


I was terrible at this, but cheered up when I learned that 0% of Gen Z recognise “I’ve Never Been To Me”.
posted by tomcooke at 12:16 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Last night when I really wanted to be quizzed on the 2000’s I had to try about twenty different birthdays, I kept refreshing, and eventually used two browsers and a VPN connection until I got it.

All that and yeah, I woke up and remembered said I liked a Nickelback song here on Metafilter and can never undo that. Insomnia is a hell of a drug.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:30 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


One thing I found interesting (and maybe it's due to the claim above about low sample rate) is how Gen-X seemed to know more 60s music than Boomers did. Like, what? That was YOUR ERA. Is it because memory fades? Surely that's some of it... But...

Also - Can concur - about 1997-1998. We moved to Madison around that time to strike it with our white guys alternative band (we were more pop based, though, with a melancholic streak - less angry grungy guys with guitars). I do remember that time period being about the peak "pop" era of radio before saying fuck this noise. Spice Girls, Hanson, Britney (well she was a little later?) all started the rot. And that whole YARL everywhere, ugh, that was wretched.

I'd say 80s was my best, followed by 60s, then 70s/90s, and then 00s (what?) and then 10s. Would probably have done better on 90s if it wasn't just R&B - i'd know more "pop" and "rock" (but give me hip hop and r&b from the 80s and I'd rock it!)...

RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW was THE song for that moment, much as it's awful and annoying. Maybe it was my age, but that whole "fall of the soviet union" (I was like... 13/14 at the time) was like "wow, yeah, "world waking up from history!"") Francis Fukuyama called, he wants his royalties for that song back.

In hindsight boy was that a bad look. End of the World by REM or We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel was probably more pertinent.
posted by symbioid at 2:27 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Damn. I consider myself to be someone who knows and listens to a lot of music and quite a wide variety of it yet I knew very little of what I heard across the ages. This was very USA based (and I am UK based). Also some of the songs didn't actually play. And for one of the 80s ones they played a trance song. Bloody Machines! I'm blaming the machine thingy.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 3:01 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


I was really good at this... first one ... two seconds in I'm like "yep, this was a hit!"

Next one... five seconds "yep, this was also a hit I bet!"

an so on.
posted by some loser at 3:48 PM on May 2


In fact I suspect that they are ALL hits? cheeky
posted by some loser at 3:49 PM on May 2


It was fun, but don't think it's as much about 'fading from cultural history' as it is about how actively you were listening to what was popular on the charts.

LIstened to about 50 tunes. I didn't hear -any- punk, or metal, or electronic, or prog, or dance, or garage, or country. Also their tuneage selection seemed very US-centric - definitely a dearth of hits from outside the US.

Mix that in with what you're actively listening to as you age and as your tastes evolve, and what exactly is fading?

Anyway, fun, a challenge, and worth pursuing for more stuff outside the mundane.
posted by Twang at 6:22 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Ooh, this is going to be such a time suck!
posted by SisterHavana at 6:47 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Well I imagined what they're going for isn't "how much music of this period did you know at the time?". They're interested in how the memory fades. But the unstated assumption for all these songs is that you DID know them at some point and if you don't know them now you must have forgotten.

The song list should have been much smaller, only songs that were inescapable, became part of the basic cultural awareness. I think that's really only a few songs a decade. You didn't have to be into the grunge scene or alternative charts to be aware of Smells Like Teen Sprit. But a lot of these songs, I felt like I had never heard a single time in my life.

Maybe they're discarding "don't know it" and only counting "sounds familiar" as forgotten songs.
posted by ctmf at 6:59 PM on May 2


I haven't listened to pop radio (top 40, whatever) since 1979. Like a few others here, there's a sound I consider "pop" that has been identifiable from at least the early 80s all the way through to the present and I just absolutely hate it. Hate it.

For many years now I've worked at not being a snob about it—Carl Wilson's 33⅓ entry, Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste was an excellent little book and greatly changed my perspective—and these days I recognize all the little toxic things that can lurk behind cultural snobbery, often racism and sexism.

Even so, that hasn't changed what I like (and don't). It's changed how I think and critically evaluate, but not so much my taste. And pop music is most essentially devoid of any unadulteted suffering—or even realism, for that matter. Musically, its structure is designed to be as least oft-putting in every respect for the maximum number of people possible—it's not even ever minimalist in an interesting way. It's almost always danceable but never so much so that it evokes any sense of physical or emotional release, any hint of possible social transgression. This is music I just deeply, deeply dislike and cannot enjoy.

I've listened to a lot of music in the last thirty years, just as much or more in the last twenty. Especially in the last ten I've constantly been finding new artists who I find interesting and evocative. It is just weird that so few of the songs from these decades that this site offers me are familiar. I almost not at all listen to hip hop, but a few of those which have appeared make up more than half the songs I've recognized.

Incidentally, singer-songwriters, mostly female, are one of the very few genres I've consistently listened to over the last forty years and, as it happens, the late sixties and early seventies was a period when this made up a big portion of the most-played songs on the radio—and so I respectfully disagree with those who believe the seventies to be the nadir.

Also, R&B had much higher radio airplay around then—obviously on R&B stations, but a good portion of that made it onto Top 40 and although it's never been a favorite genre of mine, there's a lot of good stuff there. Listening to many of the clips I don't recognize, a whole bunch of those from 1960-1980 are R&B which sound pretty good and it reinforces my sense that racism (mine and in my milieu) really fucked-up my receptiveness to a lot of great music during my life. Frankly, almost everything good in popular American music originated in blues, jazz, and gospel. But I'm not saying anything everyone here doesn't already know, and much more comprehensively than I do.

Finally, given all the above, perhaps it's more understandable why I am utterly astonished at how much I love Billie Eilish's music, given her immense popularity. I mean—I like angst and some discord and noise and transgression and have always loved female singer-songwriters. So of course I like her. But that's a combination which rarely, if ever, achieves mass popularity. It's weird. I'm not complaining—it's just puzzling.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:03 PM on May 2 [6 favorites]


This reminds me of the 10-Year Parental Pop Culture Blackout. I was at one of those sing-along piano bars with a big group of friends when I came up with the idea.The songs were supposed to be things that everyone could sing along with, from a variety of decades. But every now and then somebody didn't recognize a song. And it was always from the decade immediately after their first child was born.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:10 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


They're interested in how the memory fades. But the unstated assumption for all these songs is that you DID know them at some point and if you don't know them now you must have forgotten.

I don't think that's it at all. When they say "memory", they don't mean an individual's memory of the fading, but a societal memory of the song, as represented by age-cohorts. That can be gauged by the change between cohorts without any requirement that the song having been especially widespread at any point.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:21 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


They're interested in how the memory fades. But the unstated assumption for all these songs is that you DID know them at some point and if you don't know them now you must have forgotten.

I mean it is a website called pudding.cool. It is possible that we might be thinking too much about their motivations here.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:01 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Huh, I feel like I was doing best with the 2000s and 2010s, followed by '90s and '80s, and I'm a high millennial/cusp of Gen X. I also listened to pop, indie, and college radio in the car for years while commuting, and I wrote and edited music coverage during that time, so maybe it exposed me to things I otherwise wouldn't have gotten to know. Also, I haven't had kids.

I just wish that this accounted for geography. I grew up in the U.S. Midwest, so I didn't get exposed to a lot of these things that were hits elsewhere.
posted by limeonaire at 9:39 PM on May 2


Also, I'd love to know how much of an outlier I am compared to the average millennial, because I have never listened to exactly what other people I knew listened to, though I've met some people who have some of the same musical body of knowledge I do.
posted by limeonaire at 9:44 PM on May 2


As a lover of context itself as a commodity, some call it data, however, data isn't enough, metadata is, I guess in our maelstrom not too much of a niche term, I LOVE THIS PROJECT.

Also as a viewer of Lost in Vegas, Jamal AKA Jamal, Weabo, Irish People Try, I really enjoy reaction videos, I can just guess GenZennials wouldn't and shouldn't really have any more of a clue about 80s music than I would about the latest in their cultural milieu.

I'm definitely sharing on my facebook, since it's so rare to have something so cool to share that I haven't already shared. So thanks a lot!
posted by 4notherOnlineUserName at 11:21 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


GenZennials

The snakiest of the snake people.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:40 AM on May 3


It would probably be easier to identify some of these 30 second clips if the first 28 seconds weren't generic solos/ instrumental breaks, though I guess that's the song's fault, really. Some I only recognize the refrain, which they may or may not get to.

But yeah, these were all big hits on pop radio, so either you remember them, or they were before your time but they still got transmitted through history to you, or you missed them at the time and they haven't come back to you.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:07 AM on May 3


And I got 100% of the 70s music so that shows where my musical brain stopped working.
posted by octothorpe at 8:19 AM on May 3 [2 favorites]


LIstened to about 50 tunes. I didn't hear -any- punk, or metal, or electronic, or prog, or dance, or garage, or country. Also their tuneage selection seemed very US-centric - definitely a dearth of hits from outside the US.

It explains on the results page that all the songs they use were top 3 hits on the US charts.
posted by zeusianfog at 2:29 PM on May 4


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