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To expand a bit on the 1980s, certainly the average song might have gotten simpler, but there were still some challenging music being written. Most metal and hard rock might have had simpler harmonic structures, but the complexity was going up as solos became more and more challenging (something that continues into the modern day).

I might argue that the regression towards simpler music starting in the 1980s might be due to MTV and increased media coverage of music stars. Starting with MTV and music videos, to be really successful, your looks started to matter. This gave rise to acts who may not have been as musically talented, but were more marketable because they looked better on TV. That's not to say that music acts were never on TV before 1980, which is obviously not true, but MTV did change the game quite a bit and maybe started this trend of towards simpler music with prettier stars.




I'm pretty sure the punk movement inspired the more simple song structures of the 80's more than anything else did; New Wave was a direct offshoot of punk.




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