The Best & Worst Earworms of 2023

Top Musical Ear-worms of 2023

Have you ever had a song that you couldn’t get out of your head? You may not even like the tune that much, or remember where it came from, but there’s just something about it that has it stuck on replay.

If there’s a track running through your mind that you can’t stop, chances are you’ve picked up an earworm. Not a literal worm—that’s just what it’s called when a catchy piece of music is involuntarily wriggling around inside our heads.

The Classics: Disney's "It's a Small World"

Disney’s “It’s a Small World” is possibly the most notorious earworm of all. It’s a pity because it’s actually a sweet song with a wonderful message about equality.

"Caramelldansen" by Caramella Girls

The original version is in Swedish, from Caramella Girls’ album Supergott. That song is okay, but when the group released a speeded-up version on iTunes, an Internet meme was born. For a couple of years there, everybody from Darth Vader to random anime characters showed up in one spoof video or another doing this dance. I’ve even seen live action Stormtroopers doing it.

“Happy,” Pharrell Williams

When Pharrell Williams was working on the score for the 2013 animated film Despicable Me 2 with Heitor Pereira, Universal Pictures insisted that he sing one song he had lined up, “Happy.” Prior to releasing his second album, Girl, in 2014, Williams initially gave “Happy” to CeeLo Green to record. In a twist of fate, the song was never released by Green and became one of Williams’ biggest hits.

Ear worm Ad Jingles

As radio became the popular form of media, advertisers had to figure out a way to market their products to consumers who couldn’t see them, while adhering to laws prohibiting direct advertising during prime-time hours.

Enter the jingle: a slogan set to a melody that could mention a product or company without directly hawking it. The tactic worked and jingles were here to stay, reaching their peak in the 1950s but maintaining a firm foothold — er, ear hold — in the culture right up to today.

Kit Kat Bar

This universally known entry is notable for two reasons: 1.) Its role in forming an unwanted culture of sharing dictates you must never enjoy a Kit Kat at full strength. 2.) Its uses of the still-popular “rapid cuts to random people, including a construction worker, enjoying the product” format.

I Won’t Grow Up: Publix’s Commercial

Sometimes the songs we hear in TV commercials are so catchy that we keep hearing their echo in our minds. And that’s usually when we start wondering where they come from, what’s their stories. Like it happened in the summer of 2023 with the new Publix commercial featuring a classic song belonging to a famous musical. The kids singing “I Won’t Grow Up” are impossible to forget let’s discover more about this song.

Red Robin

Red Robin’s jingle — simply the restaurant’s name plus “yum” — establishes a connection between music and gourmet burgers in the minds of modern-day customers. The short YUMMM jingle has been a fixture of every Red Robin TV and radio commercial since the launch of the chain’s branding campaign in 2007. Chief marketing officer Susan Linton smith called it a “modern-day Pavlovian bell” that the chain could leverage further to engage customers.


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