Exploring Earworms: Songs Stuck In Your Head

Jul 3, 2012

We have a two-year running tradition of doing an episode in August gathering our music experts to argue about what song is the "Song of The Summer." (And on which critic Eric Danton suggests there is no such thing.)

About a week ago, in a meeting, I mentioned that tradition and said it would be hard to do this year because it's late June and we already know what the song of the summer is. Slowly around the table, heads began to nod. Carly Rae Jepsen locked the whole thing up with "Call Me Maybe." Intuitively we know nobody else is getting in the game this time.  Then we started talking about that song, how viral it is, how quickly it gets stuck in people's heads. That led us to the whole idea of today's show.  Why are we such maladaptive musical copying machines? Why do we get stuck so often on songs we don't even like? Today, we present the art and science of earworms, but not until we play "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts. Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin. Also, if your Internets are hooked up to Spotify, check out a few of our favorite #earworms on this WNPR playlist.