What Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ and Other Earworm Songs Have in Common
You should stop reading this now. No really, just don’t. You’re still reading. O.K., you asked for it:
“Rah rah ah-ah-ah!/ Ro mah ro-mah-mah!/ Gaga ooh-la-la!”
There’s your “Bad Romance.” Like the “ugly” “disease” Lady Gaga sings about wanting in this song, an earworm has likely just lodged itself deep inside the auditory cortex of your brain. There it will sit, sucking up your precious brain energy, for the next hour, day, month or even a whole year. ( I had Hall and Oates’ “Maneater” in my head for most of 2005.)
You are not alone.
“That’s all I can really think about right now,” said Kelly Jakubowski, a music psychologist at Durham University in Britain, about “Bad Romance.” In a study published Thursday in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, she and her colleagues compiled lists of earworms from around 3,000 participants to see why some pop songs wiggle their way into people’s heads and stay there. The Lady Gaga hit, which is always at the top of people’s lists, has been developing its own toxic relationship inside the mind of Dr. Jakubowski, who hasn’t heard it in months: “It’s been persisting for two days straight,” she said.