Science Reckons It Has Found “The Perfect Pop Song”

The Beatles - Paul Mccartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr. Photo by Granger/REX/Shutterstock (8754325a)

According to science, The Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is “the perfect pop song.”

A group of researchers at the Max Planck Insitute in Germany have been on a hunt to find out what it is in music that stimulates the greatest pleasure. They concluded that it relates to the element of surprise. They analyzed over 80,000 chord progressions from songs between 1958 and 1991. They then gave each a score based on how “surprising” the chord was compared to the previous.

Their group of volunteers found that when they did not know what was coming next, they experienced greater pleasure. The researches removed the lyrics from 30 selected songs and found that when the volunteers could not predict what was coming next, musical pleasure was stimulated in the brain. They then concluded that out of every chord progression they trialed, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” was the most pleasurable.

Vincent Cheung of the Max Planck Institute told The Times: “It is fascinating that humans derive pleasure from a piece of music just by how sounds are ordered over time. Songs that we find pleasant strike a good balance between us knowing what is going to happen next and surprising us with something we did not expect.