Have you ever just randomly heard a song somewhere and had it with you for the rest of that day? Have you ever wondered why that happens? How are we able to not only remember, but be unable to get something out of our heads, when we so easily forget other, more important things? Science can describe all kinds of patterns that impact our lives, including music and it turns out that there are some traits that make a song catchy and that are guilty of that song being stuck in your head.
1. Long and detailed phrases
There isn’t a lot of explanation behind this one, but apparently, if a vocalist takes a bigger breath in and delivers a longer, more detailed phrase, we are more likely to have that phrase suck in our minds. The lengthier the vocal in that one exhale is, the more likely we are to like the song and sing along.
2. A bigger number of pitches in the hook
The melody is going to sound better to a regular person if it has more sounds or many different pitches. The key to making this work with the previous point is to merge longer musical phrases and a hook that has more than three different pitches. For some unknown reason, this kind of melody sounds better and is more likely to unintentionally learned.
3. Male singers
Male-singers are said to have more catchy songs than female singers. There is something about male vocals that our ear likes to hear and that stays with us for some time after hearing the song. Some of the psychologists who have examined these traits of catchy songs believe that we look to men to lead us into battle, and in some way, we see their songs as a war cry. Whether you chose to believe this, you have to admit that there is something very catchy in male vocals, just think of Freddie Mercury.
4. Noticeable vocal effort
This last trait states that a song will be more appealing to us if that male voice indicates high power and confidence, especially if the singer has a smaller vocal range. So, combining these four traits, you might end up with a very catchy song. You still don’t believe it? Just think of these songs: ‘We are the Champions’, Queen,‘Y.M.C.A’, The Village People, ‘The Final Countdown’, Europe, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, Van Morrison, or ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’, Bon Jovi. After closer examination, you will be able to recognize all four traits in these songs.