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Remember Wordle? Did you know that there’s a musical version?

Greg Devine


White Headphones resting on a black tabletop

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Wordle took the world by storm earlier in 2022. All of us in the Novus/ITK office played it in our breaks. I wasn’t great, but ITK’s editor Diane was a master. Maybe it’s because she’s a wordsmith that this is a given. If there’s something else Diane excels at, it’s Pop Master. I’ve spoken before about how the Radio 2 show takes over the Novus/ITK office every day.


I think I’ve found another game for us all to play…Heardle.


Heardle is music giant Spotify’s answer to Wordle. It works on a similar basis; you have six guesses to get the answer right, only you’re not guessing a word, you’re guessing which song is being played. Heardle only gives you one second of the song on your first guess but, often, that’s all you need. Today’s example was Lady Gaga’s Just Dance, and I only needed the first second. Should you need to hear more, or if your first guess is incorrect, you get to hear an additional second of the song. On your third guess, you get two more seconds, then three, four and five additional seconds until you reach your final guess.


Wordle trended every day on Twitter for months, so why isn’t Heardle? Music is a common passion/taste—you can’t really have a taste for words. I think the difference is this: if you’ve never heard of the Wordle word before, there’s a chance you can still guess it from the remaining letters. If you’ve never heard the Heardle song before, however, you’ve got no chance of getting it right. Some of the songs it plays I’ve never come across; this could be because they’re popular songs in America but tracks that have never charted here in the UK. To combat this, I think they should tailor the songs to the region in which the player is situated. It’s no good playing American hip hop to UK players, particularly if it’s a song that never charted over here.


group of teens stood having fun listening to music on a boombox

I don’t think Heardle can appeal to as large an audience as Wordle did/does. If all the game plays is music from the last decade or so, that’s no good for people who listen to Radio 2 as opposed to Radio 1. Sure, they’ll get some of the more obvious ones, such as songs by Ed Sheeran, but I can’t see anyone in our office, including me, getting any of Kendrick Lamar’s music or an obscure Drake song. Maybe it encourages teamwork. We always play Pop Master as a team (mostly because, without Diane, we’d never get more than five points!); if we were to play Heardle in the office, I’d recommend we do it as a group.


Because it’s only the intro of each song that’s played, Heardle is not an easy game. And some songs share a similar beginning—which could be just a simple guitar riff or drum beat. This is all part of the challenge—and though you get six guesses, the competitive side of me can’t take it when I narrow it down to two songs and I opt for the wrong one. It messes up my game-playing statistics. Heardle pride is a real thing!


The ‘-dle’ genre of games is only increasing. Aside from Wordle and Heardle, there’s Worldle (where you guess the country) and Quordle (where you try and guess four words at once). Quordle does appear to have superseded Wordle in popularity after the New York Times purchased the latter. I don’t see Wordle trending on Twitter anymore, whilst Quordle makes the odd appearance. I like them all; they offer a bit of light-hearted fun that provides a quick break and allows your mind to reset when you’re working on other things. It will be interesting to see what ‘-dle’ game will appear next.

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