The moment you start to hum Don’t Stop Believing, it’s already too late.
The ballad is in your head. You’re whistling it in the car or on the train and singing it at your desk. It’s only then you realize and wonder: Why this song?
While a minor annoyance for some, the earworm phenomenon has caught the ear of researchers, who have recently delved into what makes songs stick in our heads and how to extract them.
A 2016 study found pop songs and some classic rock standards often are big culprits. British researchers found instances of Involuntary Musical Imagery — aka earworms — are produced from songs with easy-to-remember melodies, fast tempos and repetition among other characteristics. The study found three of the most common earworm-inducing songs were by Lady Gaga, but Katy Perry, Queen, KylIe Minogue and yes, Journey, also made the list.