Science has determined that 'Every Breath you Take' is the best all-round song.
YouTube: Every Breath You Take, The Police
Some songs are irreplaceable, such as "Every Breath You Give" by The Police.
It was a huge hit when it was first released in 1983. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts eight times. It continues to be a popular soundtrack for weddings, parties, and trips to the grocery shop.
The song's popularity is not surprising as it's not flashy. The arrangement is monochromatic and flat, featuring a snaking guitarist line, calm drums, and Sting's faint, reverb-y vocals.
Stuart Copeland, the drummer on the recording was said to have been frustrated by having to limit his playing in order to fit the song's simple arrangement.
It is a mystery why it has survived. It might be explained by new research.
Researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, analysed streaming data from nearly 4,000,000 songs on Spotify in a study published by The Royal Society. The goal was to determine if there is a pattern to what music we listen over 24 hours.
Ole Adrian Heggli, lead researcher, says that "we found that we could categorize them into five distinct time blocks throughout a day."
These five blocks could be used for morning, afternoon, evening or night. Researchers discovered that each block was different in terms of musical quality.
The morning block featured slow, but energetic songs. Heggli suggested Robbie Williams' "Supreme",
Robbie Williams -- Supreme YouTube
In the afternoon, louder and faster songs were the king. Think Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World),"
Rihanna -- The Only Girl in the World YouTube
Evenings were dominated by danceable music. You get the idea.
It's not surprising, if you stop and think about it. Researchers say that it shows how music preferences are affected by daily rhythms.
The research article is all about "diurnal fluctuations", and how they affect the "rhythm of human existence".
What song has musical qualities that allow it to move through all five blocks of time? You've guessed it: "Every Breath You Give" by The Police.
Zoomen this image to toggle caption Tim Larsen/AP Tim Larsen/AP
Heggli states that it's a "very in-the-middle" type of song. It has a moderate tempo. It's a little groovy but not too groovy. It's not full of loud surprises. It's a pleasant song, maybe even a little bland.
Heggli believes that this research may have something to do with how musicians can maximize their streaming capabilities.
You should aim for something more or less in middle of the pack. He suggests that you should aim for something that is not too fast but not too slow, that can be danceable but not too danceable.
However, "Every Breath You Give" is an exception.
Its supposed weakness has become its greatest strength. It's possible to write bland, boring songs if you record with this streaming goal.
If you want to use this science in your writing, then maybe try to write the best song for a particular time of day like 6 a.m. Or 8 p.m.
"Every Breath You Take", while it may be eternal, is probably not necessary.