Sometimes, I’ll mention “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and someone in the room will just start singing the chorus immediately. Part of that has to do with this melodic context stuff and the tonal hierarchy of certain notes that dominate that section, but it also has to do with other stuff like lyrical repetition in the chorus, tonal resolution, the rhythm and meter, and even with personal memories we might attribute to that song. Cognitive science can explain a portion of this, but not all of it, as Cui is sure to mention.
But there’s more to it than just nostalgia. While audiophile cork-sniffers shout out the virtues of vinyl or lossless FLAC from their rooftops, the humble 128 kbps MP3 is the true MVP of music mediums, the black sheep diamond in the rough with more than swagger and noise floor to go around. Here’s why.