My friend Frederick Conrad happens to be a bit of an amateur pollster. In his spare time, he decided to get 204 willing survey participants to track how many times they listen to their favorite songs. His goal: prove that it wasn’t weird that he listened to Katy Perry’s California girls at least seven times a day (he’s still weird). The results of his polling aren’t surprising:
- 86% of people surveyed listened to their favorite song at least once per week
- 50% listened to their favorite song everyday
- 60% of people said they would listen to their favorite songs multiple times each day
Music inspires emotion in us and distracts us from our present situation and the problems at hand. The boss made you stay late to finish the report: pop in those earbuds and keep on trucking. You just began a 6-hour road trip all alone: crank up that mix for the car.
Humans crave distractions from an unpleasant reality–one of the quirks of consciousness. Music soothes and uplifts us. And some songs are so good we just have to listen to them multiple times in a row. For most people, these songs fall into one of three categories.
Happy and upbeat
Playfulness is contagious. Songs that make people giggle, encourage dancing, and have catchy hooks connect. Other than being a weirdo, my friend likes California Girls for a reason. Example: Go To Town by Doja Cat
Nevermind the adult lyrics, which are fun too. People love Doja because Doja loves her work, and it shows.
Everyone needs a playlist that’s perfect for studying, falling to sleep, and making love. Electronic music genres like chillwave aren’t the most dynamic. While they’re not super catchy, they’re incredibly soothing thanks to the droning rhythms, and as the name implies, perfect for chilling. Example: Miami Nights Playlist
Chillwave conquers all when it comes to writing a late-night article.
Modern country lives and breathes with its bittersweet melodies. These songs create feelings of nostalgia and regret. You can feel every lost opportunity, every potential lover that got away, every broken heart, feelings that everyone has experienced. No wonder modern country music resonates. Example: Chasing You by Morgan Wallen
Controversial for a lot of reasons, Morgan Wallen’s continued success in the charts despite all the controversy owes to his incredible ability to be sincere and heartfelt in a song.
Common song forms and attention spans
The two to three-minute song forms that are airplay-friendly are quite possibly too short to satisfy us. Despite the best efforts of smartphone manufacturers and TikTok, our attention spans are longer than we’re given credit for…
Consider less popular music genres like jazz and classical music. Jazz albums often have tracks that are longer than 15 minutes. While most people prefer simpler music, the length of jazz pieces suggests what our preferred length for a song may actually be. And classical music symphonies often consist of several movements and last well over an hour for one “song.” We crave to stay in the moment of the music.
Everyone loves the music that they love for reasons that are truly only tangible to them. The commonality of your desires with everyone else’s is what makes you unique. Why you listen to that favorite track several times in a row, loving it each time, can’t really be explained. It just works for you, just like it works for almost everybody else. In the end, that’s all that matters.
Let’s drop the needle on it one more time!