Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Why are some songs so catchy?

Music can get into your head, even when it's terrible. These so called events are called earworms. They can be the next Foo Fighters single, or it could be one you'd rather not publicly speak of.. hint hint!

Here's a catchy one for you -

Before you worry, it's not a slimy worm that crawls into your brain and infect you with S Club 7, it's a psychological term. Earworms tend to have catchy rhythms, choruses and chord progressions. But more of that later!

Common earworms

Mainly chart music I'll be honest, earworms tend to be songs we don't hate, they are sort of on neutral ground, not good not bad.

  • Baby - The monstrosity that has plagued our ears for too long, you have to admit though, it's catchy..
  • I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston is responsible for this, however she's not as terrible as Justin Bieber..
  • Year 3000 - Ah, the soundtrack of everyone's childhood, but I bet you didn't know what the lyrics meant when you were younger though eh?
So how does one produce an earworm?

If you can perfect this technique, you'll make a lot of money if you publicize it well!

Take Rebecca Black for example, she got her song out there, she made money. But it's a shame everyone hates her!

Common patterns in earworms include..
  • I, IV, V, I - For those of you understand music this is is a chord progression
  • I, V, VI, IV - A progression is ALOT of catchy songs, for example: Don't Stop Believin', Poker Face, a lot of Bon Jovi songs..
  • Repetition - Culprits of this include Rebecca Black and Justin Bieber's devilry.
  • Synthesisers - these electronic sounds help up your stickiness
A few tips to eliminate that worm

So you're tried of that annoying chorus, try these few tips to eradicate the problem!
  • Play a different melody on an instrument, if you can't play any then unlucky.
  • Listen to the whole song through, for some this gets rid of the lingering melody
  • Share the song to a friend, this does help, although share it to a good friend to avoid embarrassment
  • Switch to an activity to where you are constantly busy

Scientists have tried to break it down into a formula, where one can mathematically create a 'sticky' piece of music. Lets hope this never gets out otherwise there'll be millions of Justin Biebers running around, and that spells death for us all.


  1. death for cutie-cath has been stuck in my head for many days, and it's a good song but it's the only song i've been able to fully listen to without rage quitting the song on youtube.

  2. I love the song in the link and it is really catchy but so is cath by death cab for cutie, it's been stuck in my head for weeks now and i just keep listening to it because i can't listen any other songs in their entitrity


  4. the song in the link is literally the best thing ever