I had a lot of wonderful ideas for my music lessons and I plan to do them ALL! Hah! But this one (beside all Chick-fil-a questions) was the most popular:
Why do songs get stuck in your head?
I initially meant to have someone send me a song that they loved and I'd analyze it for why that song was so appealing. However, the way I stated the question was a bit different, so I'll answer this question first.
We know that there are plenty of songs that get stuck in our heads that we don't even like (ahem, Barney's I Love You or Oops, I Did it Again) so it's not just the songs we enjoy that seem to stick. What happens is that we get what is equivalent to a "brain itch" where we keep wanting to fill in the consecutive words or tune. Then the itch loops again. And again. And again.
Since we are verbal, it tends to happen more with songs with lyrics (I've noticed that even the instrumental songs that loop we sing with sound words, ie: The Pink Panther or Mission: Impossible, and it is usually a song that is repetitive and/or simple (We Will Rock You or It's a Small World).
This happens more to musicians (obviously) and women (odd, I think) and happens more when you're tired or stressed.
The solution I find is to listen to a song that also gets stuck in your head that you love. Then you still have a song in your head, but hey! you like it.
Everyone has their own worst "earworm," the clinical name for this phenomenon (from the German "ohrwurm"). Some of mine? Well, I seem to have the most issues with Elmo's World, Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time, Carmen and, thanks to my loving husband, the theme song for the animated Hercules cartoon series.
I must know, what's yours?
P.S. Feel free to follow me! I promise only ever to lead you to bright, sunny places!