These Are the 9 Biggest ‘Earworm' Songs

First-ever study of its kind identifies the kinds of songs that most commonly stick with you

What to Know

  • A new study identifies 'earworms' - the songs most likely to get stuck in your head
  • The list of the nine most common earworms includes three Lady Gaga songs
  • Classic acts like Journey and Queen also figure on the earworm list

"Can't Get You Out of My Head" is, as it turns out, a song you literally can not get out of your head.

The Kylie Minogue anthem is one of nine songs the American Psychlogical Association identified as the most commonly cited "earworms," or songs that won't leave you once you've heard them.

The tunes on the list "are usually faster, with a fairly generic and easy-to-remember melody but with some particular intervals, such as leaps or repetitions that set them apart from the average pop song," the APA said in a statement on a new first-of-its-kind study.

Lady Gaga is responsible for three of the nine songs, most of which are by modern acts. 

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The full list:

  • "Bad Romance," by Lady Gaga
  • "Can’t Get You Out Of My Head," by Kylie Minogue
  • "Don’t Stop Believing," by Journey
  • "Somebody That I Used To Know," by Gotye
  • "Moves Like Jagger," by Maroon 5
  • "California Gurls," by Katy Perry
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody," by Queen
  • "Alejandro," by Lady Gaga
  • "Poker Face," by Lady Gaga

The research was published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. Researchers collected data from 3,000 people over three years.

"These musically sticky songs seem to have quite a fast tempo along with a common melodic shape and unusual intervals or repetitions like we can hear in the opening riff of 'Smoke On The Water' by Deep Purple or in the chorus of 'Bad Romance,'" study lead author Kelly Jakubowski, of Durham University, said in a statement.

In an act of mercy, the scientists also offered tips for breaking an earworm's spell — listen to it all the way through, listen to a different song to distract yourself, or just force yourself to stop thinking about it. 

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