Hit songs come and go — at least most of them do. But some tunes are real earworms and stick with us long after they've left the charts. Thanks to an interactive online study, we now know which song has us hooked more than any other with its own catchy hook.
Wanna know the song? Do you really, really wanna know?
Yes, topping the list of jams we just can't forget is "Wannabe," the 1996 hit that put The Spice Girls on the musical map, at least according to folks behind Hooked on Music.
The part-game, part research website invited UK music fans to check out snippets of popular music from the last 70-plus years. The results? While most songs took listeners at least 5 seconds to identify, "Wannabe" required just 2.3 seconds.
But the Spice hit had plenty of catchy competition.
Here's the full top 10 songs we can't shake:
- "Wannabe," Spice Girls
- "Mambo No 5," Lou Bega
- "Eye Of The Tiger," Survivor
- "Just Dance," Lady Gaga
- "SOS," ABBA
- "Pretty Woman," Roy Orbison
- "Beat It," Michael Jackson
- "I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston
- "Don't You Want Me," The Human League
- "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," Aerosmith
The results were released Saturday, but the game will remain online until the end of the year for those who'd like to see which tracks top their personal lists.
Despite the delightful interface behind the song survey, it's not all fun and games, according to Dr. Ashley Burgoyne, the computational musicologist from the University of Amsterdam who came up with the idea behind Hooked on Music.
"While it is fun to know this — because people love music — but in the long run, if we have a better understanding of how the musical memory works, we are hopeful that we can move into research on people with dementia," Burgoyne told BBC News. "There has already been some research that shows that if you can find the right piece of music, something that had a very strong meaning, playing that piece of music can be very therapeutic. But the challenge is figuring out what is the best piece of music."
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