Creativity and discovery,  Fun stuff,  Music

Sticky songs

“We become what we repeatedly do.” ~Stephen R. Covey

Cher won’t stop singing “Dark Lady” inside my head. The pop tune — which was released in 1974 but happened to be playing on my car radio last week — now repeats itself on an endless loop in my mind while I’m drying my hair in the bathroom each morning. Then it starts all over again, later, while I’m chopping veggies in the kitchen. And it’s not like I’m a huge fan of Cher.

What is it with sticky songs? According to my online research, sticky songs (otherwise known as “earworms”) have a scientific label: Involuntary Musical Imagery, or INMI.

“According to the first large-scale study of earworms, such songs usually have a faster tempo, a fairly generic and easy-to-remember melody, and specific kinds of intervals, such as leaps or repetition, that set them apart from your average pop song, ” explains Maria Puente, author of an article on sticky songs in USA Today. All said and sung, pop songs that play repeatedly in our heads are crafted to do exactly that.

Among the stickiest songs on record are Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Now that I’ve mentioned them, I bet you’ll start hearing one in your head for the rest of the week. I’m sorry. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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