The appropriate sound level of music is not easy to calibrate. Some songs sound best when they are played at full volume, while other songs are meant to be played softly with just the right amount of sound. We’ve all been in an elevator with someone who plays music through their headphones like they’ve already gone deaf, and more often than not, it becomes a nuisance. But are they purposely playing the music loudly because they like the music loud, or is that music simply meant – through its creation – to be just as loud. After listening to the album version, however, I realized that much of what I liked about the song came from the kind of bad, buzzy recording quality of the youtube version. While I suppose some might argue that the studio version, what the artist intended you to hear, should be the best version, I disagree and think that sometimes a live version or remix might make the song better even if it is worse “quality”.Sound production didn’t take over the tension/release role in pop songs overnight. Over the last couple of decades, there has been a ‘crossfade’ between tonal functions and sonic functions.As sound production became more and more dominant in shaping the musical roller coaster in pop songs, the role of tonal functions was gradually weakened. I can’t identify a specific turning point, but I can point to specific songs and albums that triggered my awareness of this process.