If you are a breathing father or mother with a working pulse, there’s a good chance that by now, you’ve heard of the “Baby Shark” tale that has taken over the world. And while a lot of parents are just hoping that the popular earworm will go away into oblivion sometime in 2019, there’s a scientific explanation as to why the tune has taken over the world. Get ready for your mind to be blown.
Apparently, it all comes down to one simple formula: repetitive lyrics and a fast tempo. Those things help trigger the pleasure center in our brains. The other part of our brains, needless to say, wants the song out of it already.
“The song has a simple melody that is not only ‘catchy,’ but is also easy to sing and memorize,” Beatriz Ilari, an associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, explained to The Daily Beast in an article published earlier this week.
In addition, Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientific consultant, says repetitive words such as “baby, daddy, mommy, grandpa, and grandma” help kids create a connection or bond with music. After all, they are simply repeating all of the words that they most likely use in everyday life: our family members. Put them all together in a catchy verse and now we’ve got a worldwide hit that people just can’t stop singing on their own.
The upbeat tempo is the other reason why it’s so popular. The tune has gotten over 2 billion – yes, billion – hits on YouTube and it’s still counting. It’s the song’s synchronization of movement with beat patterns that are not only highly pleasurable for our ear drums, but it also tells us what’s next in the formation of predictions.
Salimpoor added, “[Faster music] targets the brainstem and other ancient brain systems in our brain and has the potential to stimulate dopamine systems involved in movement.”
If you think the song is going away anytime soon, think again. “Baby Shark” debuted at No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 list for the week ending of January 12th. With that being said, if you are looking for ways to get the song out of your head, there are some solutions. Experts suggest that the best way to get rid of an ear worm is to chew gum, do a puzzle, or listen to another song, chat, or radio talk show. You can also try to be like Elsa and “Let it Go,” but so far a lot of people have been quite unsuccessful. Good luck!