Call it whatever you like – sticky music, earworms, a stuck song, or just plain annoying.
If you’re one of the 90% of people who regularly deal with them, you’ve probably already experienced one this week.
Sadly, I’m one of the 30% who have it even worse, because I can’t make it through a single day without a song repeating in my head.
Whether it’s an old classic, or the last thing I heard on the radio, listening to the music repeat over and over can be seriously irritating.
Because this temporary condition, called “involuntary musical imagery” by scientists, is so common, lots of studies have tried to explain exactly why it happens.
No surprise here, but songs with repetitive, catchy melodies are the hardest to forget.
Classics like “YMCA,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Will Rock You” all made the University of St. Andrews’s list of stickiest songs.
Recognizability and familiarity also make songs “catch” in your brain, which is why recent radio hits seem to infect the entire country all at once.
Then again, really sticky tunes like “The Song That Doesn’t End” have a habit of jumping out of nowhere and lodging in your brain for days. Is it on repeat in your mind yet?
If you’ve caught an earworm today and it won’t leave you alone, we have expert advice to shake it for good.