Why do we listen to the same song on repeat – Psychological Facts

listening to the same song on repeat

Play a song, start over, listen and repeat

Have you ever listened to the same song again and again? Sometimes, it’s the first time hearing it, and you absolutely fall in love with the song and listen that song on repeat.Other times, it’s a classic hit that’s been around for decades, and every now and then, you play it on loop. In both cases, the song brings you a lot of joy. But wait! There’s one more type of song that you can’t stop singing to. The first time you heard it, you barely noticed. Then out of nowhere, you start hearing it at the grocery store, on every radio, and in every advertisement on the TV. And before you realize it, you can’t stop humming to its tune; you have already (not voluntarily!) memorized every single line.

This happens to the best of us – in fact, all of us! Ever since Cher dropped her new album, Dancing Queen, in 2018 – I have been hooked. I listen to it on my morning commute. I listen to it when I’m cooking dinner. Guess what? I’m listening to it as I write this blog.

Researchers have conducted several studies behind this phenomenon and presented diverse but equally interesting findings

A study by the University of Michigan reports that people listen to their favourite songs on repeat because they find some serious comfort while doing so. The repeated listening reportedly leads to the development of a meaningful relationship with that song, making you insatiable.

Professor Alice Honig from Syracuse University says that it is because the song strongly resonates with you. For example, if you are going through a heartbreak, you tend to listen to a song that will feel like an arrow through your heart, but you listen to it because it reflects your mood, and lets you know that someone else has already experienced it before.

Some researches even claim that there’s an evolutionary reason why you listen to some specific songs on repeat. The process is called “mere exposure effect”, which basically means that you like things more just by being exposed to them.

One thing is clear: there is no definitive answer. In simple words, it’s just some music makes us feel specific feelings or triggers certain memories that take us to the past. Sometimes, it’s just a catchy song. After going through quite a few scientific researches and personal accounts, we have narrowed down to four reasons why do we listen to the same song on repeat.

The song is a big part of your identity

The main reason why specific songs reflect with us pretty hard is the way we connect them with a part of ourselves. In today’s world, music is the easiest way to create a personal identity. In a lot of ways, you are what you listen to. For instance, it’s not a coincidence that emo teens love to listen to Green Day and My Chemical Romance. Similarly, today’s young, fierce women are almost unanimously fans of Beyonce’s music.

Music expert from New York University, Kenneth Aigen, explains that a song’s beats, lyrics, and other characteristics can embody different feelings and attitudes that enrich our sense of identity.

Seasons might actually have something to do with it

Aigen again suggests that the summer season might persuade us, listeners, to listen to the same song over and over. He backs up the statement by saying that summer has a mythical association for all of us – our monotonous routine changes, we return to the outdoors and socialize with our friends. During this time, we tend to listen to feel-good, energizing songs again and again.

There are also some songs that have a very strong association with the winter and festivals that fall under this period. Aren’t we all guilty of binge playing All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey two months before Christmas?

The song is tailored to make you play it on repeat

Some songs we play constantly on loop have bagged the title of “the song of the summer”, which Billboard typically bases on the single’s popularity between Memorial Day and Labour Day. For example, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call me Maybe and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito. Rings a bell, right?

Sound designer Laura Taylor explains that some songs are simply designed to be played over and over. She explains that one of the tricks they use during the verse is keeping the instruments sparse and narrow. In the chorus, there’s more instrumentation.

The song gives a nod to the culture

A sure shot way to have a song played at every pool party is throwing in some Spanish words and phrases. Even better, feature a Hispanic artist. That way, the Spanish-speaking population will enjoy the fact that the song gives a nod to their culture and instantly connect with – making your song immensely popular.

It is not just limited to Spanish references. Be it an African-American reference, immigrant reference, hustler reference, or an Asian reference, a song with intercultural element is bound to strike a chord with the respective group of people and they will know the song by heart for sure.

Some songs are simply meant to be timeless

Today, thousands of artists bring out hundreds of songs every day, making it very hard to keep track. But some songs from many decades ago are still successful today to etch a place in a young listener’s heart. Take Bohemian Rhapsody – everyone from a young kid to a young adult will know the lyrics by heart.

Songs like these have a timeless quality to them, which help them to rise to the level of art. Consequently, we love the song, associate with it strongly, and play it on loop.

Some song are just catchy to play on repeat

Some songs are simply too catchy, and that’s why they create this sense of familiarity and comfort, drawing you to them again and again. These songs appeal to the ears and brain quickly because they don’t take a lot of effort to engage with them.

These songs can also be deemed as you “guilty pleasure” songs, that you don’t terribly like but can’t stop listening to. Cue: Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice.

The way we listen to songs has come a long way. Remember the days when you would sit in front of the TV or the radio for hours on end just so you could listen to your favourite song. From burning CDs in the 90s to download mp3 songs in 2000 to scavenging on Youtube for the perfect playlist, the way we listen to music has evolved with us.

ListenOnRepeat is today’s no.1 music platform that addresses all the issues that hinder the experience of listening to music without any interruption. From playing the song you currently obsess over on loop to finding new songs for you once you’re bored with the old ones, it does everything a perfect music-streaming website should do.



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