Over and Over – How repetition gets a hook stuck in your head

Baby Shark family

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones, even seeing the words Baby Shark is enough to get your brain singing “doo doo doo-doo do-doo” on a short, maddening loop. For me, though, it got me thinking about how repetitive hooks mess with your brain, and how that power can be used for good (or evil, depending on how you feel about Baby Shark).

Repetition is a MASSIVE subject, so I’ve focused on repetitive lyrics, and what they do to us. After I’d recorded this episode, I realised that Vox has already done a terrific video on this phenomenon. Thankfully I had gone down a very different path, but you should watch all of the Vox Earworm videos because they’re great. I actually referenced one in the episode! Watch their video on triplet flow, and see what I dream about Key Change becoming one day (<3 you Estelle Caswell).

Songs in this episode:
– Pinkfong - Baby Shark
– Eiffel 65 - Blue (Da Ba Dee)
– The Kingsmen - Louie Louie
– Lil Pump - Gucci Gang
– Migos - Versace
– Dolly Parton - Jolene
– Britney Spears - Womanizer
– The National - Afraid of Everyone
– Rihanna - Work (feat Drake)
– Hot Chip - Over and Over
– Carly Rae Jepsen - Store

Check out the full playlist and add your picks on Apple Music and Spotify. For episode sneak peaks and heated Beyoncé debates, join the Key Change Facebook group.

Podcast art by Anthea LeBrocq (@fulltimeangel on Instagram; antheaaaa@gmail.com for enquiries and commissions)

My monstrous tweet is here.