30 Catchy Songs You Can't Get Out of Your Head
Everyone understands the feeling that comes over you when you hear a song that is so catchy, you simply have to sing — or at least hum — along. The song doesn’t even have to be a musical masterpiece. In fact, in some cases, the song is downright awful, but you still can’t resist the urge to sing it, regardless of the bad quality.
Whether the melody is upbeat or haunting, some tunes simply compel you to play them on a repeating loop. Here are 30 of the most infectious songs you can’t get out of your head. See if you can break the spell!
"Old Town Road (Remix)" by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus
Lil Nas X’s smash hit "Old Town Road" was undeniably one of the biggest hits of 2019. It quickly gained popularity through the "Yeehaw Challenge" on the social video-sharing app TikTok under the label "country rap." Although the emerging rapper first released the song independently, he soon recorded a remix with country star Billy Ray Cyrus that skyrocketed to the top of the charts.
"...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears
This next catchy track hails from the late ‘90s, right before the start of the new millennium, when exposed midriffs, low rise jeans and pop music reigned supreme. The rising pop princess of this age? The one and only Britney Spears. "...Baby One More Time" was the singer's debut single, and it ultimately became one of the bestselling singles of all time with more than 10 million copies sold.
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
From the moment you hear, "This hit, that ice-cold...Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold," you can't help but join in and sing "Uptown Funk." Written by record producer Mark Ronson for his fourth studio album, Uptown Special, the song featured Bruno Mars and his band, The Hooligans. Inspired by the funk music of the 1980s, the soulful, upbeat track had a heavy bassline and infectious lyrics that instantly made listeners want to hit the dance floor.
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé
Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" was one of the top songs of the late 2000s, and it had women everywhere asking their men, "Where my ring at?" What may have been even more contagious was the iconic choreography in the song's music video, including the waving of Bey's left hand back and forth to express the freedom of single ladies to do what they want.
"Stay with Me" by Sam Smith
With millions of copies sold across the world, "Stay with Me" is Sam Smith's most successful single to date. On the smooth ballad, Smith pleads with his one-night stand to stick around for the night simply because he doesn’t want to be alone.
"Happy" by Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams’ track "Happy" may have been the theme song for a children’s movie — the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack — but both kids and adults alike loved the song. The message of the song was simple: Find joy in the midst of any circumstance. The positive energy from the track was highly contagious, and audiences couldn’t help but dance.
"Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls
The sassy and bold track "Don't Cha" by The Pussycat Dolls was a mega-hit in 2005. It was originally recorded by Tori Alamaze as her first single but was given to The Pussycat Dolls to reinvent the group. Even if it didn't necessarily apply, audiences all over couldn’t resist singing the catchy hook: "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
"Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake
Also part of an animated film, "Can't Stop The Feeling!" was a catchy hit for Justin Timberlake. Featured on the Trolls soundtrack, the disco-pop song was written and produced by Timberlake along with Max Martin and Shellback.
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
"Don't Stop Believin'" is a popular rock anthem by the legendary group Journey. The inspirational jam is a song of encouragement with a contagious chorus that people can't resist belting out alone or with friends. The song was inspired by keyboardist Jonathan Cain's own journey to success.
"Hey Ya!" by OutKast
Released in 2003, "Hey Ya!" was a lead single on OutKast’s double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Sung by Andre 3000, the smash hit is a perfect blend of electro, funk and soul music. It had everyone out of their seats, ready to "shake it like a Polaroid picture."
"Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65
Another catchy but kind of obnoxious hit from the late ‘90s was "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by the Italian group Eiffel 65. Fans of the song may not know the verses word for word, but they can surely sing along with the simple, catchy hook — "I'm blue da ba dee da ba daa.."
“Baby Shark” by Pinkfong
Kids love to sing it, and parents (mostly) hate to play it. It's so annoyingly catchy that some adults find themselves singing the song and doing the hand gestures without even thinking about it. "Baby Shark" by educational brand Pinkfong first made waves in Korea and other Asian countries before making a big splash in the Western World in 2018.
"Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry
"Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry hit the airwaves in the summer of 2010 and instantly became a hit for the season. The mid-tempo song is styled as electropop with influences of disco and pop-rock, making it a fun and infectious dance track for the masses.
“thank u, next” by Ariana Grande
Speaking of huge pop songs, Ariana Grande's unforgettable track "thank u, next" has to be added to the list. Although the song came from moments of break ups, discouragement and grief in Grande's life, it ultimately became a power anthem inspiring people to better themselves and be grateful for the lessons life teaches them along the way.
"Bodak Yellow" by Cardi B
When "Bodak Yellow" was first released in the summer of 2017, Cardi B was already making a name for herself in the underground hip hop scene as well as on VH1's Love & Hip Hop New York. It was the rapper's confidence and cadence on the song that made it so snappy, quickly catching the attention of listeners.
"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
This hit Celine Dion track was the main theme song for the 1997 film Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The power ballad is considered to be Dion's signature song and is one of the bestselling singles of all time. The lyrics and melody of the song are simply unforgettable.
"In My Feelings" by Drake
Drake's "In My Feelings" hit the airwaves in the summer of 2018 and had everyone belting out, "Kiki, do you love me?" For better or for worse, the song became a major hit that could be heard everywhere.
“Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC
Released at the top of the new millennium, NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" had catchy lyrics and easy-to-learn, memorable dance moves that all the teenyboppers of the era knew by heart. It described the end of a romantic relationship, although it was also reportedly a reference to the group's separation from their manager, Lou Pearlman, and their record label at the time, RCA Records.
“Truth Hurts” by Lizzo
Lizzo's track "Truth Hurts" asks the question so many have asked about guys for years: "Why men great 'til they gotta be great?" Though the song was first recorded and released in 2017, it later became a viral sleeper hit in 2019 after gaining popularity on the TikTok video-sharing app.
"Genie in a Bottle" by Christina Aguilera
"Genie in a Bottle" is one of Christina Aguilera’s signature songs, and it’s one that will have you singing along, even if you love to hate the song. The sultry but cool song highlighted Aguilera’s powerhouse vocals and included catchy lyrics and a beat you couldn’t help but love.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
British rock band Queen really broke the mold with this classic earworm that combines elements of opera, hard rock and progressive pop. Written by Freddie Mercury, the song had no chorus and was simply said to be about relationships, with no in-depth explanation of the song’s meaning provided by the band.
"Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
Adele herself described her classic song "Rolling in the Deep" as a "dark blues-y, gospel, disco tune," versus just a pop song. With a thumping piano, booming chorus and Adele's powerhouse vocals, it's no wonder the song caught on so quickly. It’s a song that expresses extreme heartbreak instead of joy, but you still want to join in for "We could’ve had it all!"
"Work" by Rihanna featuring Drake
Released at the top of 2016, Rihanna's track "Work" features Drake and blends dancehall, reggae-pop and R&B to produce a track with vibes from the singer's native Barbados. You couldn't help but sing the song's contagious and repetitive hook as you moved your hips to the dancehall beat.
“Baby” by Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber may be all grown up now, but no one will forget his annoyingly catchy hit from 2010, "Baby." The up tempo track was a mix of R&B, dance-pop and hip hop with influences from doo-wop music. The undeniably contagious chorus captured fans and haters of the singer alike, with literally everyone singing, "Baby, baby, baby, I thought you'd always be mine" — whether you wanted to or not.
"Hey, Soul Sister" by Train
Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" is a mid-tempo pop track that's easily recognizable the moment it starts playing. The song by the rock band has achieved international acclaim due to its unforgettable hook and beat.
“Friday” by Rebecca Black
Rebecca Black became an overnight sensation with her viral hit "Friday," which was released in 2011. Although the song was deemed annoying and wasn’t well received by critics, it has become a cult classic. It's a highly-energetic song that celebrates the start of the weekend with a catchy hook that both teenyboppers and adults constantly got stuck in their heads.
"Royals" by Lorde
"Royals" was the debut single of singer Lorde, released in 2013. The song blended electropop, alternative music, hip hop and indie-pop into what was supposed to be a thought-provoking message on the singer's disapproval of the luxurious lifestyle of artists, but it quickly became an anthem that people would never forget.
"Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
This popular dance-pop tune from Carly Rae Jepsen sucked listeners in from the very beginning, whether they wanted to admit it or not. This prime earworm is an unforgettable dance track that is sure to have anyone belting out "Well, here's my number, so call me maybe!" at the top of their lungs.
"Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran's dancehall-infused pop track "Shape of You" was released in early 2017 and quickly became a smash hit that was perfect for the masses. The mid-tempo track was fun for dancing and singing along, thanks to the infectious hook and tropical house vibes.
"Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
Even if you're not a Bon Jovi fan or a rock fan in general, it’s impossible to resist screaming out "Ohhh, we're halfway there!" when you hear Bon Jovi’s "Livin' on a Prayer." The song has been the band's signature track since its release in 1986. Besides being a catchy song, it details the real struggles of the working class, and millions of people can certainly relate to that.