Fans of the fast-paced web platform prefer singers who sound like chipmunks. But why?
But have you heard the slowed down 33 1/3 RPM version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”??
In the 70s, Cheech & Chong joked about playing Black Sabbath at 78rpm and seeing God. In the 80s (my punk rock days) I joked about playing The Sex Pistols at 16rpm and hearing Black Sabbath. Today the kids are all hypnotized by TikTok chipmunks. What a time to be alive!
This reminds me of the research that showed college students prefer the sound of heavily-compressed MP3 files to the original high-fidelity audio of the same music. People like what they're familiar with, even if it's demonstrably of lower quality.
The only thing I hate more than chipmunk music are Celine Dion and Mariah Carey.
I think eating bugs (probably inevitable) would beat looking at TikTok, but I've done neither.
Gives the biggest dopamine hit in the smallest amount of time, likely why collections of sped up tiktok vids are doing big numbers on youtube. Part of the attention economy (shorter songs, shorter videos).
I'm waiting for a speed up version of a Verdi opera.
The sped-up chipmunk soul sampling was a trademark of Kanye's early sound, so maybe in a way this is the next logical progression of sampling? Instead of taking a snippet of a song to create a dance or hip-hop track, it's now channeled through a visual medium. This could be to establish a vibe or enhance the video.
Reminds me of the "turntable wars" in the old top 40 AM radio days. If there were two competing radio stations, one would slightly speed up the songs so that they would sound worse on the other station. Then that station would retaliate by speeding up its songs a wee bit more. And so forth. The simplest way to do this would be to wrap one layer of splicing tape around the turntable capstan.
Cumbia music, which for some time now is considered acceptable listening after decades of being dismissed and laughed at, has a sub genre calles ‘cumbia rebajada’ which is simply extremely slow versions of well known tracks. The result, somewhat foreseeably, is a feeling of it being more haunting and profound.
More to the point of the article, I think the whole speeding things up is more than a fad for the younger generations. I teach very young adults and the sound coming out of their phones is more often than not speeded up, not just the music in TikTok videos but also the audio messages they receive via WhatsApp and even podcasts, which they’ll steam through at doble speed so that they can get it done with and get back to wasting time on TikTok and WhatsApp.
Sometimes they will show me a documentary or podcast - because it’s relevant to their project or learning - which has the audio edited in a manner that there’s no breathing time for the speaker. These audios I always refuse to listen to.
On the other side of the same coin, at the beginning of each semester I receive an email from the special needs office of the university; until about three or four years ago they were usually empty, and occasionally would have one or two names of students with hearing difficulties or Asperger Syndromes. Now they contain an endless list of names with the same word next to them:
Speeding up things reminds me of old Benny Hill skits. It's basically one person chasing another person, but it gets funnier because it's sped up.
American CIA spyware is bad eonugh, CCP spyware is Hěn huài. In mainland China TikTok is a tool. In the West it's a weapon. Two completely different versions. Like WeChat and Weibo. Yeah, they look the same but they aren't.
I've learned from my Chinese friends who used to work for the CCP media that Tik-Tok is a giant data-collection agency that focuses on influencing the minds of the youth - particularly kids in the US. As to where are all that US data goes, well, I don't want to speculate because I suspect it's a very dark place.
It's been studied. Some of the studies are cited in 'The Shallows,' by Nick Carr. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9778945-the-shallows
"We may weep at the tale of Oedipus, but if Sophocles compressed his story into twenty seconds, the audience would be rolling in the Athenian aisles."
See also Reduced Shakespeare Company.
One possibly salient aspect of sped-up music is that the attack and delay of each note or phrase is compressed, resulting in a 'tighter', 'cleaner' or more 'polished' sound. But I think there's a fundamental impatience at the heart of the phenomenon; the commenter who mentioned dopamine delivery is probably on the right track. And the data pointing to burn-out supports the idea too.