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Why is Pop so catchy?

Lots+of+people+love+pop+music%21
Lots of people love pop music!

Lots of people love pop music!

via Unsplash

via Unsplash

Lots of people love pop music!

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Music has shown that it evolves radically through the ages. Long ago, works by Baroque composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Domenico Scarlatti were it. Today, radio stations are dominated by the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and many more pop artists. Every youth seems to have a favorite pop song, even some adults. But what makes pop so catchy?

One of the main reasons pop is so memorable is the lyrics. Pop artists often write about personal experiences, heartbreak, and first love among other subjects. This makes the artist’s music relatable to most teens and young adults, already gaining a large group of followers. A professor, Keith Duffy, says that, “Test subjects were played snippets of familiar songs that had segments removed. Participants said their brains filled in the gaps—in fact, they ‘heard’ the removed parts of the songs in their heads,” he continued, “This was especially true in songs that had lyrics—as well as songs which evoked strong visual memories in participants.”

Another common factor that makes pop music catchy is in the pitch. Popular songs like Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 have the first lines of their song rise in pitch, and then have the second lines fall in pitch. This can instantly make any song memorable.

Repetition, surprisingly, is part of many catchy songs. The particular style of repetition used in music is called a progressio. Used since ancient times, the progressio has been making catchy phrases and songs forever. An example of a progressio from Katy Perry’s hit “Hot ‘N Cold”:

‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold

You’re yes then you’re no

You’re in then you’re…

Out? You probably already guessed that. Progressios are a long series of opposites, named by the Romans. They are known to make memorable lines, and therefore used by many different kinds of artists.

Sometimes, songs we don’t even like can become stuck in our heads. Repeated exposure to one song, like if a radio plays one track over and over again, can cause this. Essentially, the brain can be, in a way, forced to repeat the same song over and over again.

Surprisingly, the surrounding environment can make a song memorable. For example, if one is listening to Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” while washing cars, it may cause the brain to soak up the song and remember it.

From ancient Rome and Italy to today, music has been evolving, although certain aspects are continually used, such as the progressio. Kraemer student Jake B. says, “It’s really interesting to know what makes pop songs catchy!” Even in the future, we can expect to have popular songs follow these tricks. It’s really no wonder that we all get addicted to pop songs!

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Why is Pop so catchy?