There’s a reason why you can’t get “Catchy Song,” from The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, out of your head. It’s meant to live up to its name, and follow in the footsteps of The Lego Movie’s smash hit, “Everything Is Awesome”—also a bona fide earworm that wriggled its way into the hearts of kids and brains of unsuspecting parents around the world. Both songs have been streamed and repeated millions of times—but what exactly makes them so catchy? And which is truly catchier?
“The overall [song] structure has to be simple enough that it can be recalled spontaneously in the mind, so it can’t be so complex that you can’t remember it. But within that, you have these interesting intervals that add unpredictability to melody,” Dr. Kelly Jakubowski, one of the PhD authors behind the University of London’s Earworm Project, told Billboard. “Simple, but not too simple, so that the brain doesn’t lose interest.”
Actor and comedy singer-songwriter Jon Lajoie, who was tasked with writing a song as catchy as “Everything Is Awesome” for the Lego Movie sequel, told The New York Times that he followed advice from legendary music producer Max Martin: “Find a catchy melody, keep the same amount of syllables every verse and every chorus, hit the melody at the same rhythm every time, and hammer it into the audience’s brain by repeating it over and over.”
Indeed, the song’s lyrics are all about the song getting stuck in your head. And after Dillon Francis, T-Pain, and That Girl Lay Lay brought the song to life, Spotify users began to stream —and repeat—“Catchy Song”. But is it a catchier song than the first Lego Movie song, “Everything Is Awesome”? How do the two stack up?
“Everything Is Awesome,” released in 2013, has been streamed more than 23 million times, while “Catchy Song” has clocked just over 2 million streams since its February 2019 debut. Only time will tell if “Catchy Song” closes the gap, but which song is truly catchier depends on the listener. Hint: It’s the tune that plays on repeat—both on your speakers and in your head—whether you want it to or not.
Looking for a new earworm? Listen to the soundtrack for Lego Movie 2.