Blargh Blog

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Pop music: it's catching

Have you happened to notice that there's a lot of crappy, and even annoying, pop music out there? Why could that be?

A song's catchiness (roughly, its likelihood of getting stuck in your head) is different from how good the song is.* A song that is catchy but bad (choose your own example) can be particularly annoying & disliked. Since catchiness is related to properties like rhythm & rhyme, there may be more agreement among people on a song's catchiness than on its quality. Since catchiness tends to amplify sentiments towards the song, it can lead to a polarization of opinions, which is often exacerbated by frequent playing of the song.

* If someone tries to convince you that getting a song stuck in your head means that you must really like it, you could do whichever of the following seems most appropriate:
- Tell them that the theory of Freudian repression has been sufficiently debunked
- Tell them that Bem's self-perception theory is descriptive rather than normative
- Tell them that a song can be both bad and catchy
- Punch them in the face


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