It’s official: you can stop living on a prayer and take your brown-eyed girl down to the Y.M.C.A. for the final countdown of the top ten catchiest songs of all time, according to recent scientific research.
Citing factors such as musical frequencies, harmonies and synthesizers that add effects that bring out the melodies, Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen argues that hit songs have elements that can be calculated and engineered. According to Mullensiefen, factors that improve a song’s ear-worm index include long musical phrases and shifts in pitch. Additionally, people are more likely to respond to a male vocalist, because the sound of a man’s voice is a “subconscious war cry.”
Some of the songs will be surprise no one, but others might be unexpected; at least they were to the author (perhaps due to his comprehensive ignorance of virtually everything that’s going on in contemporary music.) Titles that didn’t make the cut may be surprising too: where are “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Margaritaville”, “Working For the Weekend”, “In the Middle”, “Buddy Holly” and “Sedated?”
Whether or not one agrees with the list, it’s surely an interesting and entertaining read, one bound to inspire some good bar-room and karaoke lounge debates. Cell-phones will be waved back and forth, and air-guitar will certainly be played.
One final note: if in fact elements to a hit song can be scientifically determined, it begs the question, why don’t more people write hits? Well, at least one team has tried to come up with the a song specifically engineered to be the worst of all time.