What Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ and Other Earworm Songs Have in Common

Nov 3, 2016

By Joanna Klein

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.


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5 comments on “What Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ and Other Earworm Songs Have in Common

  • Right now it’s a modern classic ‘Nightinggale’ by Yanni. Quite enjoyable, not really a problem to hear that. But yes, it won’t be so good to be stuck with some of those xmas tunes.



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  • 3
    Pinball1970 says:

    I would have picked someone other than Lady Ga Ga but this is an interesting thing, why are tunes catchy? Why do they stick and others don’t?
    This is a complex thing, Smoke on the water mentioned in the OP uses that flattened 5th, that usually catches ones ear as you are waiting for it to resolve up or down
    Why should we care though? The maths of music and harmonics is one thing but I don’t have a clue why our brain should notice a flattened 5th just because its a flattened 5th (Moon River has a nice one)
    Anyway thats just the flattened 5th I have no idea why Lady Ga Ga should stick in someone’s head.
    All the tunes blend into a mish mash of contrived anthemic disco dancy garbage.
    The is one scale in Poker face that is nice and that seems to be the basis of everything else since.
    Not a fan



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  • The Rivingtons – Papa Oom Mow Mow – YouTube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQrQjNNZCAo

    Nov 10, 2008 … The Rivingtons – Papa Oom Mow Mow. … Rama Lama Ding Dong-The Edsels- original song-1957-58 – Duration: 2:31. AK47bandit 2,781,165 ..

    There are millions of earworm songs in the naked city -Papa Oom Mow Mow by the Rivingtons was one that captured my earworm perserveration – ummmm boy! – way back in 1957. You can click on the link for your listening pleasure. Or not. I wonder how many of my fellow fossils remember it.



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