Lady Gaga's Bad Romance is the catchiest earworm, according to science


Find yourself humming Lady Gaga songs in your head all the time? You are not alone.

It seems Bad Romance by Lady Gaga is the most catchy earworm with Kylie Minogue's aptly-named Can't Get You Out Of My Head in second place, according to academic research.

Sure, earworms can sometimes drive you crazy and all you want to do is get rid of them but in a recent study that involved figuring out what makes a song more catchy than the average pop tune, scientists asked 3,000 people for their most frequent earworm.

The research, led by Dr Kelly Jakubowski from Durham University, then analysed what set these earworms apart from equally successful songs that did not have the sticky factor.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga (Christopher Smith AP/PA Images)

Jakubowski and her team believe these are the three factors that sets earworms apart from other successful pop tunes:

1. A faster tempo

2. A simple melodic structure, like nursery rhymes which raise and fall in pitch

3. An unusual interval structure in the song, like unexpected leaps or more repeated notes than the listener expects.

Jakubowski explains: "The idea is to combine a really simple overall melody shape with a unique pattern of interval.

"The melody is quite simple to remember but it has something a bit more interesting added."

Singer Kylie Minogue.
Kylie Minogue (Joel Ryan/AP)

And here are nine of the most catchy earworms, according to the study:

1. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga

2. Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue

3. Don't Stop Believing by Journey

4. Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye

5. Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5

Maroon 5.
Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (Yui Mok/PA)

6. California Gurls by Katy Perry

7. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

8. Alejandro by Lady Gaga

9. Poker Face by Lady Gaga

And if you find yourself humming a song in your head and it's driving you crazy, here are the researchers' tips on how to get rid of it:

A visitor wearing headphones.
Earworms can fade away over time (Jens Meyer/AP)

1. Play it all the way through

2. Listening to another tune like the national anthem to force it out of your mind

3. Allow it to fade away on its own

The study, titled Dissecting An Earworm, was published in the academic journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts.