We all know what it’s like. You get a crap song stuck in your head on Monday. It’s still there on Tuesday. You’re singing it in your sleep by Wednesday, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday you’re about ready to stab yourself. You like to make yourself believe that you can beat it, but the minute you let it under your skin, there’s no limit to how long your brain will hold on to the crappest of musical offerings. You know this much is true.
A quick recap of super basic neuroscience: the brain is made up of special cells called neurons. They are the one and only cell type that can connect and transmit information through the brain and central nervous system via electrical impulses. Think of it as a big complex set of Morse code cables dah-bah-dee-ing and dah-bah-di-ing binary information across your brain.
The thing that makes these crap catchy songs so special is that they all have something in common. You just can’t get them out of your head because they’re already IN your head. The electrical impulses that transmit thoughts between cells happen at certain frequencies and in certain patterns. The makeup of these songs is such that they match these patterns which are already spinning right round in your mind naturally. That’s why you instantly feel familiar with them and they stick in your mind. And that’s why thinking of a song you like better rarely works – you can try if you want to, but the catchier song will stick it out to the end. It’s never gonna give you up.