‘Mambo No. 5’ is the Most Popular ‘Guilty Pleasure Song,’ According to Spotify

Lou Bega

07/30/2014 AT 3:15 PM ET

What’s your guilty pleasure song? The one you crank in private but deny in public?

Whatever it is, Spotify’s got you covered: The streaming music service recently analyzed over 120,000 “Guilty Pleasure” playlists from users and sent the data our way. The results may surprise you.

From the top, the five most popular guilty pleasure songs are:

1. “Mambo No. 5,” by Lou Bega
2. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” by Wham!
3. “My Sharona,” by The Knack
4. “Don’t Stop Believin’,” by Journey
5. “Cotton Eye Joe,” by Rednex

The bottom five are “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” by Dead or Alive; “Who Let the Dogs Out,” by Baha Men; “Never Gonna Give You Up,” by Rick Astley; “U Can’t Touch This,” by MC Hammer and “Call Me Maybe,” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Here’s where things get interesting: Spotify also crunched the numbers for “Guilty Pleasure” playlists by gender and found some interesting variations.

Men’s top “guilty pleasure” tracks are:

1. “Call Me Maybe,” by Carly Rae Jepsen
2. “I Want It That Way,” by Backstreet Boys
3. “Don’t Stop Believin’,” by Journey
4. “Toxic,” by Britney Spears
5. “Wannabe,” by Spice Girls

Women, on the other hand, were guilty of enjoying the following tracks most:

1. “What Makes You Beautiful,” by One Direction
2. “Call Me Maybe,” by Carly Rae Jepsen
3. “I Want It That Way,” by Backstreet Boys
4. “Wannabe,” by Spice Girls
5. “Wrecking Ball,” by Miley Cyrus

Spotify spoke with cognitive psychology and neuroscience professor Jacob Jolij at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, who said, “Tracks that require little brain effort to listen to make for the perfect guilty pleasure In contrast, more complex music – such as jazz or progressive rock – makes stronger demands on the cognitive system, meaning it is therefore less likely to be defined as a guilty pleasure.”

The real takeaway here is obviously that the appeal of the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys transcend gender, and “Call Me Maybe” is an impeccable piece of pop song construction.

Here’s Spotify’s definitive Guilty Pleasures playlist for your enjoyment (or shame).

Lou Bega


From Our Partners