“The Perfect Pop Song”

I found this article about The Max Planck Institute in Germany conducting a study on the perfect pop song… the winner was Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

As everyone here knows I’m a huge Beatles fan…but this one? I couldn’t disagree more with their conclusion but it is interesting on how they made the choice… I posted a couple of links.

‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ is the most perfect pop song ever, science proves

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

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

36 thoughts on ““The Perfect Pop Song””

  1. I think this may have been the first Beatles tune I had ever heard as a youngster driving around with my parents in the family car as the radio was dialled into AM. Catchy and it may be the perfect pop song.

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  2. Hah! Science has got nothing to do with music. Music is about feeling and emotions, what it does to you and means to you. This is a catchy little number, but it’s not what I call a perfect pop song. Even if you limit it to late 1968 and The Beatles, Hey Jude would win in a popularity contest (which is the real definition of Pop Music – Popular). Catchy from that period? Sugar Sugar. Don’t get catchier than that, and that was also hugely popular, and still is to a degree 🙂

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      1. God Only Knows is a perfect pop record! One of the greatest recordings of all-time, and the song is reputedly difficult to sing, probably why there has never been a cover version that comes anywhere close to being as great as The Beach Boys original…. I adore it! 🙂

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  3. yeah, like Popchartfreak says, science shouldn’t try to quantify what makes music good. But I can see where they are coming from if the basis they used was a catchy, simple melody and singalong lyrics that meant not much. It’s impossible to pick a “perfect” or “Best” pop song but a couple that come to mind really quickly for me are “Dancing Queen” by Abba and “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go-gos. But the list of possible contenders numbers in the hundreds.

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      1. that’s an outstanding one too, probably the Beach boys best. Goes to show both the futility of trying to pick an ultimate one and how impossible it is to really even define “pop”… I think they were going by a sort of “bubblegum” sound but pop spans a whole range of territories.

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  4. It’s pretty straightforward for a McCartney Beatles song – seems like a weird choice when it sounds like it’s based on chord structure. ‘Want You Back’, which was mentioned in the article, is a really good choice for complex and catchy.

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  5. Interesting! I don’t agree with their criteria, probably because my own personal likes and dislikes are getting in the way, but it was a fun read. I can definitely see Red Red Wine coming in tied with Ob La Di Ob La Da. I don’t think I could say one is more ‘perfect’ than the other. I agree with Dave’s mention of ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’, too.

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    1. My personal favorite has always been God Only Knows…I don’t know why but yea…picking a perfect one would be impossible…can you get what I’m saying about this song? Yes it’s catchy but out of all Beatle songs?

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      1. I agree, it’s only one of several catchy Beatles songs. They had a formula for some of them which are all in the catchy category. Then you list other bands’ catchy songs. I don’t think any one song stands out.

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      2. I appreciate you reading it…it was interesting to me as well.
        When the Beatles did pop, rock, hard rock, or Indian…they still sounded like The Beatles if that makes sense.

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  6. Interesting research. I guess there’s only so much machine learning can do! 🙂

    It’s funny. They found part of the pleasure results from being surprised what comes next. Without meaning to be harsh here: To me there’s nothing unpredictable or surprising about Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. I’m not saying it’s a terrible song. But the perfect pop song? Hm…

    I agree with Dave. “Dancing Queen” by Abba is a well crafted pop song. I would also throw in “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

    I don’t think I have a favorite pop song. I would really need to think about it.

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    1. If I had to pick one it would be God Only Knows by the Beach Boys…but I completely agree with you on what you said. Out of all the Beatle songs…this one????

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da does look quite arbitrary!

        As for the Beach Boys and “Pet Sounds,” while I’m aware many people have a very high opinion of this album, I never quite got all the fuzz about it. I’m not saying it’s a bad album. But in my completely unbiased opinon, “Sgt. Pepper” is far superior! 🙂

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      2. Now I like Sgt Pepper better! Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da wasn’t even a single.

        I do like Pet Sounds…I listened to it a few times and it grew on me. Wilson had a vision…but yea I would take Revolver over it because it’s more my style.

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      1. Any credibility they had was lost on me with that pick. It’s an impossible task because it’s so subjective…but of all the songs…that one… The one I would have picked wasn’t even in the running… God Only Knows

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