Ever get a song stuck in your head that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Scientists in England did a recent study and now think they know why some tracks are catchier than others, and claim to have uncovered to catchiest song of all time.

Scientists conducting the study surveyed thousands of volunteers and discovered four essential ingredients to make a song long lasting in our brain: male vocalists; long, detailed musical phrases; multiple pitch changes in the chorus, and higher male voices being used elsewhere in the song.

Musicologist Dr Alisun Pawley and music psychologist Dr Daniel Mullensiefen said this was because songs were “a subconscious war cry. Psychologically we look to men to lead us into battle, so it could be in our intuitive nature to follow male-fronted songs.”

“Longer and detailed musical phrases – the breath a vocalist takes as they sing a line is crucial to creating a sing-along-able tune,” their statement explains. “The longer a vocal in one breath, the more likely we are to succumb to a sing-song. Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesizers which can add effects to make a song more catchy.”

So which song gets the dubious honour of being both the most catchy and therefore most annoying song ever? Queen’s classic anthem ‘We Are The Champions’. When asked what he though of the news, guitarist Brian May said “Fabulous, so it’s proved then? We truly are the champions”

Using this formula, the scientists were able to identify a top 10 list of catchy songs. Have a look at the rest of the list here.

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