For many teenagers and young people of the time, the 1980s are fondly remembered as the best years of their lives. The backdrop to those happy memories was often provided through the medium of the popular Music of the time. Those people who would class the sounds of 1986 among their favourites may then choose to disbelieve the findings of a recent study. That was the year that music stood still in the view of academics from some of the top universities and colleges in London.

Through analysing 17,000 hits from the Billboard Hot 100 in America and enlisting assistance from music site, detailed analysis was undertaken.

The techniques of text-mining and signal processing enabled scientists to investigate the musical properties contained in the songs.

Whereas 1986 was viewed as 'much of a muchness' by the researchers from the Queen Mary University of London and the Imperial College, 1991 was a totally different matter. That year sparked a revolution in the industry, with the influence of rap beginning to take a hold.

The musical sounds of the mid-1980s were considered extremely repetitive according to the study. Perhaps not surprisingly so, given that drum machines and sampling became the norm for many groups. Rock groups of the period were also not immune from copying similar sounds from their musical genre.

The researchers referred to "the gated reverb effect" heard on the track "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, as being particularly common.

Madonna's fame was perhaps at its height in the mid-1980s, with 1986 being a particularly successful one for the leading American singer-songwriter. Her "True Blue" album was a platinum-seller worldwide; the singles "True Blue" and the melodic "Papa Don't Preach" climbed to number one in the UK chart.

Besides Ms Ciccone's successes, the Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls" set them on the road to stardom and Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" endorsed his position as a solo artist post-Genesis. Considering that the music factory that was Stock, Aitken and Waterman was also in full swing, perhaps there was some truth behind the scientific 'evidence' though.

What of 1991? EMF's "Unbelievable" was a big seller, Madonna was back with "Justify My Love" and Roxette brought out "Joyride". D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince did release "Summertime", but was the track "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" particularly 'novel' in its sound by Bryan Adams?

Apparently our own ears can deceive us though. Many would surely point to the current wave of dance music as being particularly repetitive in its sound. Although the study only analysed music produced up to 2010, it disproved any notion that music was evolving towards "homogenisation" as time moved on.

Maybe analysis can only go so far in its worth though. Surely the appeal of popular music is that it is just that, 'popular'. The fans who buy the tracks are often seeking a familiar sound. By making the music too distinct and different a singer or group may lose their followers. New groups often need to find material that appeals to fans first, before venturing into new sounds once they have established a fan base.