Speed Reads

Ear worm

The Spice Girls' 'Wannabe' is the catchiest song ever in the U.K., says science


Researchers at the University of Amsterdam have concluded that the Spice Girls' smash single 'Wannabe' is the catchiest pop song in the U.K. since the dawn of the genre in 1940. To reach that conclusion, they devised a simple online quiz in which participants were asked to identify songs as quickly as possible by listening to them. Participants recognized the quintet's anthem in an average of 2.3 seconds, while it took them an average of five seconds to name other songs.

"Although this is just a casual observation on my part," Ashley Burgoyne, who devised the experiment, told the BBC, "very strong melodic hooks seem to be the most memorable for people."

That, and the fact that the average human heard the song approximately 1,000 times per day in 1996.