Why is that ridiculous fish with the inane soundtrack so freakin’ catchy with our kiddies? It’s all down to science, apparently…
According to Beatriz Ilari, associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, the ‘catchiness’ of the insanely popular Baby Shark song is down to its simplicity (you weren’t expecting a more complex answer, surely). The lyrics are easy to remember, and replicate, so even the littlest of listeners can take part in the song-a-long, regardless of their vocab skills.
What’s more, and somewhat counterintuitively, repetition actually provides pleasure—listening to a favourite tune on replay (or a catchy song that seems to be on loop, like Baby Shark) stimulates dopamine release in the brain, a feel-good natural chemical.
Neuroscientific consultant Valerie Salimpoor also explains that the exact wording in the Baby Shark lyrics is a key factor in its success—
“Children can affiliate with the words baby, daddy, mommy, grandpa, grandma. This helps create a connection or a bond with the music. These are people that children are likely to have a very positive connection with, again providing a pathway to target the emotion and reward systems in the brain.”
And then there’s the video itself. Bright. Loud. Caricatured ridiculousness.
How could any kid not get sucked in to the fun?