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    Can’t get you out of my head

    earHow many times have you heard a song that you simply can’t get out of your head? One that seems to be stuck on repeat somewhere in the recesses of your brain?

    What you’re experiencing is called an “earworm”. Taking its name from the German word, “Ohrwurm”, the phenomenon can last from a few hours to a number of days. But how does it work? Research at the University of California suggests the brain stores previously heard melodies like index cards in a Rolodex. Some songs seem to trigger questions inside our brains, which in turn search for answers by playing the loop over and over again.

    Earworms are not very complicated by nature. In fact, the simpler the track, the greater the chance of it sticking in your head. Song repetition also increases the likelihood of reaching earworm status, as do unexpected musical twists in the song or melody. Earworms are everywhere, lurking in popular music and in the most successful sound logotypes.

    Marketing professor, James Kellaris, compiled a list of the most (in)famous earworms. Here are five out of ten songs from what Kellaris refers to as “The Playlist from Hell.”

    See if you agree (click on each song to listen in Spotify):


    The mandarin song

    Everything deserves a song in Japan. Even the subway stations have their own unique melodies that are played when the train approaches (a ‘best-of’ CD was recently launched). You can also experience this in the supermarkets. There is a special banana song, fish song and tomato song played in the area of the store where the specific product is sold. On my recent trip to Okinawa I found this magnificent Mandarin song…