If you’ve ever watched TV, then you’ve seen the commercial for Kars4Kids, featuring what is quite possibly the worst song ever written. An earworm from hell, this song is so purely evil that I was excited to read Katie Dowd’s report in SFGate about the bad science behind this thing. You might also call this report a cautionary tale for songwriters about how to avoid these pitfalls in your music… or a lesson in how to strike gold selling ad jingles!

Dowd spoke with a director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Margulis, who had this to say about the song:

We often make quick genre categorization. Like ‘oh, that’s jazz,’ or ‘oh, that’s eighties rock,’ on the basis of instrumentation,” Margulis says. “So right off the bat, this music sounds like something targeted at the under-five set.”

This simple melodic line is also probably responsible for some of the annoyance,” Margulis says. “These kinds of three and four note lines are often the ones specially crafted for kids learning how to play instruments: think a five-year-old playing ‘Hot Cross Buns.’ It probably conjures up associations of painful practice sessions.”

Read the rest of the article here, which also has some interesting tidbits behind possible corporate malfeasance at Kars4Kids.

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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.