Catchy Tunes

Our brain is ridiculously wondrous in its sheer complexity. One of the things that I’ve been trying to figure out is how my brain classifies different kinds of music as being catchy – and how each of us has such uniquely different tastes in music, or the kind of music that we end up humming along to/that we find catchy. More specifically, how despite all of these variations in our tastes, pop radio ends up ensuring that we end up humming along to the same tunes. It’d be extremely difficult, for example, to find someone who didn’t find the song “Happy” peppy and upbeat – whose rhythm was lodged in their brain immediately upon a first listening. This is similar of other songs too – “Moves Like Jagger” is another one that comes to mind immediately.

Okay, I’m not thinking about this remotely as academically as I make it sound in the above paragraph – I just re-read what I had written. Honestly, what I’m trying to understand is why this song – “Sing It With Me“, which has an incredibly humorous/cute music video is absolutely stuck in my head. I first heard it yesterday, and it’s been playing on loop throughout the day. Quite literally, every minute of my run today was spent listening to this song, which is not something I’m used to.

The science community owes me an explanation. I don’t particularly take issue with the fact that the song is stuck in my head – because I quite like it, honestly, but I feel like this is going to be on loop for a while now, or at least till I find another song to replace it.

I’m probably going to spend the rest of the day reading about this. Leads, as always are welcome.


I took a break in posting this because I wanted to see if I could at least contribute an amalgam of some observations from what I’ve read. Apparently most catchy songs do a couple of things:

  1. Start off lower than the highest pitch they will eventually reach;
  2. Have a lot of repetitions in patten;
  3. Have a consistent rhythm/bassline; and, shockingly
  4. Apparently resemble earlier, well-known pieces of music, like nursery rhymes.

This means two things:

  1. I’m now trying to figure out how many songs I’ve heard fit the bill (the answer is, several)
  2. I now feel like I have the tools to clearly make a pop song that gets stuck in everyone’s brains.

Let me know what you think!

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