Why Do We Listen to the Same Songs Over and Over Again?

People like to listen to the same songs because our brain develops emotional attachments to them. They are also easier to sing and dance along to, and it takes a lot less work listening to music you already like rather than trying to find new tracks.

Not to mention, music can be a part of who you are. Some people even play particular songs on repeat because it takes them back to one of their memorable moments. 

These aren’t the only reasons, though. While all of these are valid reasons, there can be a deeper meaning behind why we listen to the same songs over and over again. Let’s find out more!

People Have a Strong Connection to the Music

In a recent study, a group of people was surveyed to understand why they like listening to the same song repeatedly. Some people felt positive and happy, while others had a “bittersweet” feeling. It turns out that we may get connected to the music more than we think.

A good piece of music will make you feel something, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll feel happy. You can still get attached to a song that makes you feel sad, angry, or calming. 

In fact, music has been associated with releasing dopamine, or the “feel-good” hormone. So listening to a song you like activates the reward system in your brain, which can make you addicted to that song.

What makes things more interesting is that your brain will still release a good dose of dopamine even if the song makes you feel sad. Pretty weird, right? Well, this is all about the “bittersweet” feeling that many people get when they listen to songs with a dark nature.

The Song Is Associated With an Event in Your Past

Have you ever noticed that some songs never get boring for you? It turns out that if you listened to that song during a critical event in your life, it’d be stuck in your head and never get old. This is called “Reflective Listening”.

The psychology behind why some songs never get old for you is that the human brain is very associative by nature, which is why the music may remind it of a happy time that it wants to relive. 

Think about it; imagine spending a wonderful vacation in the Maldives. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people, and sometimes, the only way for you to remember how it felt is to listen to that great track you first heard when you were there. It’s like a form of time travel!

Even if you listened to the song to escape feeling sad or heartbroken, you might still keep listening to it over and over again as years go by. This is similar to getting flashbacks when you smell a particular scent, like perfume. 

Catchy Songs

Lots of songs are written based on our psychology. They often include “’hooks” to capture our attention and make them catchy. For example, choruses with more prominent use of instrumentation can make us want to sing them out loud.

A catchy song is defined as any song that has a simple melody, which people can sing along to easily. Catchy songs stick to our brains like glue, making us want to play them on repeat. 

Many businesses like to add catchy songs to their TV or video ads to associate them with their products. The track will keep playing in your head, which will remind you of the company’s brand the next time you go shopping. 

They Are Less Risky for Radio Stations and DJs

Radio stations and DJs want their audience to enjoy what they’re listening to. So, if a radio station broadcasts a particular song and it gets a positive reception from its audience, it’ll probably keep playing it over and over again. This explains why many radio stations may broadcast the same playlist for weeks or even months.

Similarly, a DJ who tested out a song and it got the people at the party more engaged than ever, they’ll probably play it at least a few more times. In addition, such a song will likely have dozens of remixes that DJs can play around with. They might even create their own versions.

This overplayed repetition of specific songs is just one of the indirect reasons why plenty of people don’t like pop music 

People Like Knowing the Lyrics

It’s a no-brainer that many people like singing along to songs. This is why listening to a track for the second or third time is always better than the first time. 

As humans, we prefer what we know over what we don’t know, and musical lyrics are no exception. After all, your dance moves will always be way more spot on when you dance to a song that you know its lyrics, rather than one you never listened to before.  

Is There a Link Between Intelligence and Listening to the Same Song Over and Over?

There’s no evidence that listening to the same song on repeat has anything to do with low or high intelligence. However, many people indeed find comfort in listening to the same songs over and over. This doesn’t mean that they have a low IQ, though. 

It Takes Less Work

Finding the songs you like can be hard work, especially if you’re particularly picky about what you listen to. And since we live in a fast-paced world, making some time for music exploration isn’t that easy. 

Curating the perfect playlist for you means that you won’t need to skip over lots of other songs to get to the one you like. But is this considered a sign of laziness? The short answer is no. Many people simply keep listening to the same song or playlist because it’s easier. 

As humans, we have a tendency to prefer easier stuff, as long as it won’t affect us negatively. In other words, you can be an active person but still like to listen to familiar songs. 

The Music Is Part of Your Identity

“That’s my jam!” Does this phrase sound familiar to you? Well, you’ve probably heard your friends saying it. You might’ve said it yourself dozens of times before, too. 

Many people, particularly younger people, identify closely with a particular artist and listen to their songs repeatedly. Have you ever been to a party and felt super excited hearing your favorite song start playing? We’ve all been there.

Even if people do not identify strongly with a particular artist, they might be very much inclined to stick to one particular genre of music. For example, people often gravitate towards listening to a particular music genre. One such example is that of electronic music subgenres (such as techno, house, or trance) or they might like more abstract or less mainstream electronic music, such as IDM or synthwave.

It Can Be About Quality at Times

Some songs are just remarkable, period. Classics like Louis Armstrong’s La Vie en Rose and What a Wonderful World, Queen’s We Will Rock You, Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone, and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean are timeless pieces of music that nobody ever gets bored of. 

After all, music is a form of art. The Mona Lisa painting is hundreds of years old; does that mean it’s no longer enjoyable? Nope, it’s still as popular as ever, and people from all over the world visit the Louvre to stare at it. 


Listening to the same songs over and over again is something that many of us enjoy. And while the reasons may vary from one person to another, we can all agree on one thing: good music is worth listening to hundreds of times. 

Some pieces never get old. And just like how you never get bored of your favorite shirt, place, or food, having a couple of favorite songs will never hurt. 

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

I’ve been a writer with Musician Wave for six years, turning my 17-year journey as a multi-instrumentalist and music producer into insightful news, tutorials, reviews, and features.

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