Here comes the science bit: according to the boffins at Goldsmiths University Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ is the catchiest song ever.
What? Catchier than Katy Perry’s opus of hummable schmaltz? Catchier than ‘Crazy Frog’ by Crazy Frog? Catchier than the theme from Cheers? C’mon!
According to Dr Daniel Mullensiefen (*adopts vaguely Germanic voice*) : “Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesizers which can add effects to make a song more catchy.”
Blah, blah, blah (can you tell Science wasn’t exactly “our subject” at school?).
We’re unsure whether the songwriters behind the Top 40’s biggest hits have distilled the formula down to create the ‘catchiest chart hit’ (saying that, it’s not to hard to imagine the likes of RedOne, Dr Luke and will.i.am hunched around a cauldron a’la the three witches in Macbeth mixing up the ingredients of hemlock, a vocoder and ‘GOOD TIME VIBEZ’ to create the latest Ke$ha club banger). Still, there must be something to it.
Is catchiness necessarily a good thing though? In all probability a “catchy song” is more likely to a) be played at a wedding disco, b) be playlisted by your local radio DJ in between an inane advert for your local Tile company and a catch up with Mr Zoom Lens from Celeb Monthly magazine, or c) be the ringtone that will annoy the hell out of you when Meg from accounts leaves her phone on ‘LOUD’ while she’s out at lunch.
In short, catchy = pretty awful.
In our experience, a catchy song is the equivalent of a songwriter getting bored with writing more verses and so repeating the chorus just an extra 12 times in case you missed the blimmin’ point. The most recent one we can think of has been Avril ‘arrested development’ Lavigne’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ which stuck in our head after our nearest and dearest was forced to listen to it on loop for two days straight, then came home singing the ‘Damn, damn, damn’ hook ad infinitum like a pop-rock zombie.
What are the tracks that have become your sonic earworms – the songs you just can’t get out of your head?