I came across a very interesting article over at collision detection about how "loudness wars" are killing today's music. It's a bit technical, but not so much so that a science dimwit like me couldn't catch the drift of it (there are links to more a technical argument from which this article was drawn). Basically it explains something that older music listeners like yours truly have been noticing for years now: older albums, particularly on vinyl, have a much broader dynamic range than music recorded in the last 10 years or so. Newer music just doesn't seem to have the peaks and valleys, the dynamic highs and lows of the old albums we love and cherish. Newer music does, however, seem more intense, and is more apt to grab your attention more quickly, mainly because compression has made it louder. But now an apparent paradox comes into play. Sure, the music is louder and more immediately noticeable, but because it doesn't have much in the way of dynamic range, it's not actively listened to and effectively becomes background music.
I've likely botched this, so please check out the article for yourself.
And, speaking of music that's loved and cherished, please enjoy "Supernaut" by Black Sabbath, accompanied by scenes from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.