There are songs you love, songs you hate, and then there are songs that are so annoyingly catchy, you find yourself singing them in the shower and humming them in the car, even if you don’t like them. Why in the world is that?
A group of British scientists decided to find out, and created an ingenious web test to do so. Curious about why some tunes like Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” or Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” became not only top 10 hits, but cultural landmarks, researchers at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester invented an online game called Hooked on Music, featuring clips from 1,000 hit songs over the past 70 years (the top-selling 40 tracks from each decade since the 1940s).
The test includes four parts: “Recognize that Tune,” in which you hum along with a track that suddenly drops sound, and then report whether you’re still in time when it resumes; “What’s the Hook,” in which you listen to two different clips from the same song and choose which is catchier; “Time Trial,” where you try to recognize as many songs as possible in three minutes; and “In a Row, ” where you must identify as many songs in a row as you can. (Take the fun test yourself here at HookedonMusic.)
So which songs made the top 10 list? It may not surprise you to learn that Lady Gaga and Whitney Houston are there, but you might scratch your head over some of the others. (It’s a U.K.-originated test after all, so English-speaking acts tend to rule.) See if your favorite songs made the list of Top 10 Catchiest Songs Ever.
1. Spice Girls – Wannabe
2. Lou Bega – Mambo No 5
3. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
4. Lady Gaga – Just Dance
5. ABBA – SOS
6. Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman
7. Michael Jackson – Beat It
8. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
9. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me
10. Aerosmith – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
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