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Science Determines the 10 Catchiest Songs of All Time. Also, Science is Sexist

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | October 3, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | October 3, 2011 |

Musicologist Dr. Alison Pawley and psychologist Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen out at the University of London, decided occupy their free time by using science to determine what the 10 catchiest songs of all time were. What they concluded was that there are four traits that make a song catchy: 1) Long and detailed musical phrases; 2) a number of pitches in the hook; 3) and male voices that are 4) high pitched.

So, why isn’t “New Kids on the Block” the catchiest band of all time? Who knows? What we do know is that women can’t sing a catchy tune but men who sound like women can.

That makes no sense.

I don’t really understand the logic behind it, but in measuring these four traits and monitoring the behavior of thousands of subjects as they sang along to a thousand songs, the scientist determined that these are the 10 Catchiest Songs of All Time. That is to say: They are perfect Karaoke choices because no one will notice how bad a singer you are because everyone else will be singing along (also knows the the “Sweet Caroline” effect).

1. “We Are the Champions,” by Queen

2. “Y.M.C.A.,” by The Village People

3. “Fat Lip,” by Sum 41

4. “The Final Countdown,” by Europe

5. “Monster,” by The Automatic

6. “Ruby,” by The Kaiser Chiefs

7. “I’m Always Here,” by Jimi Jamison

8. “Brown Eyed Girl,” by Van Morrison

9. “Teenage Dirtbag,” by Wheatus

10. “Livin’ on a Prayer,” by Bon Jovi

It’s good to see that, at number nine, the “Dawson’s Creek” soundtrack has made a long-lasting contribution to science and society. I also had to look up “I’m Always Here.” Apparently, that was the “Baywatch” theme.

Indeed, now that science has determined exactly what makes a song catchy, we don’t even need musicians anymore. Just computer programs that know how to execute sophisticated music programs. Someday soon, all music will sound like the “Baywatch” theme.


(Via Nerve)

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.