Can you judge a song in ten seconds?


Soph. Aalihya Harmon sits on her bed and looks at the mess in her room. She knows the room has to get cleaned up. Before she cleans her room, she picks a random playlist on Spotify. The first song comes up: “Location” by Khalid. Ten seconds later, she turns the music up and already likes the song. But, can one really judge a song immediately after listening to the song for the first time? We decided to test it.

  In order to find out the answer, we set out to investigate. 

  • We created a playlist that each other didn’t know any of the songs on
  • Play ten seconds of each song, record our reaction
  • PIay through the whole song, record that reaction

 Results: The results of our investigation proved true. A person can judge a song based on the first ten seconds of listening to it.

Makenzie’s reactions

Song Title 10 Second Reaction Whole Song Reaction
“Lost” -Noname Gypsy Liked it Liked it
“Babyboy” -Childish Gambino Didn’t like it Didn’t like it
“GOD.” -Kendrick Lamar Didn’t like it Didn’t like it
“Only Angel” -Harry Styles Didn’t like it Didn’t like it
“Waves” – Kanye West Liked it Liked it
“Baptized In Fire” -Kid Cudi Didn’t like it Didn’t like it
“G.O.M.D” – J. Cole Liked it Liked it


Chris’ reactions

Song title 10 Second Reaction Whole Song Reaction
“By Chance” – Rae Sremmurd Liked it Didn’t like it
“Devastated” – Joey Bada$$ Liked it Liked it
“Maybach” – Future Didn’t like it Didn’t like it
“Teenage Fever” – Drake Liked it Didn’t like it
“Bad Guy” – 21 Savage Didn’t like it Didn’t like it
“Show my love” – Sam Feldt Liked it Liked it
“X”- Chris Brown Liked it Liked it


Makenzie’s investigation: Out of the seven songs, Chris incorrectly predicted he would like two of them; the songs were “Teenage Fever” by Drake and “Maybach” by Future. While I created the playlist, I knew Chris wouldn’t enjoy anything with rap/mumble rap. I put in some rap songs to see if he would like them. The first of which was  “X” by Chris Brown. The song starts off very slow and has a calm tune. Around the middle of the song, the sound gets into an electronic feel. I threw in one heavy rap song,“Bad Guy” by 21 Savage, but in the end, he didn’t like it.

  I also put in a couple songs which I wasn’t sure if he would like at all, the song was  “Show Me Love” by Sam Feldt. “It’s a pop song, I like it. It sounds like it would be played in Forever 21,” Guerrero said.  I wasn’t expecting him to like the song from the start, which was kind of surprising.  I thought he would find the song obnoxious.

  I knew he wouldn’t like the famous rap singers like Future, 21 Savage, or Drake; however, he did like the start of “By Chance” by Rae Sremmurd, but didn’t like the whole song together. I wasn’t expecting him to like half of them, but he liked three out of the seven. I am more open to hearing new music.


Chris’ investigation: Overall, Makenzie was 100% correct with her predictions. Four out of seven songs were either pop or rock. Prior to the playlist I created, I knew Makenzie didn’t really like the genre of pop or rock. So, I put in some of those types of songs because, I wanted to see if “Only Angel”  would throw her off, but to my surprise, she wasn’t misled. A song like “Only Angel” by Harry Styles starts with an angelic sort of intro, but after 53 seconds cuts to a rock song. “Only Angel” didn’t even lower her guard, she stood strong on her position. “Yeah, some of the songs you put on here weren’t my type of music at all. I really only liked like one of the songs,” Soph. Makenzie Aldrich said.

  On the other hand, I knew she mostly listens to rap music, so I decided to throw some rap in there too.  I knew the likely outcome was she would dislike a pop-ish version of rap music. This turned out to be true, for a more rap/pop-leaning song like “Baptized In Fire” by Kid Cudi, she disliked the intro and the disliked song. But, a more heavy rap song like “G.O.M.D” by J. Cole, Makenzie marked the song as a liked intro and liked song. Since the article, I found myself listening to new music and judging it immediately.

  The take-away is judging music is different for everyone. For us daily music-listeners, judging music in the first ten seconds is fairly easy.