Ear Worms

I love to listen to music, both in the car and as I work. Sometimes I’ll choose to listen to the songs I grew up with – music from the ’70s and ’80s but other times I choose radio shows or playlists which play current music. I’ve never wanted to have that ‘old’ mindset where I’m muttering that the words were unintelligible or that the songs were better ‘in my day’. That said, I feel that a lot of the solo females are currently encouraged towards a similar ‘sound’ while some rap tracks make me feel agitated , to the point of wanting to turn them off, rather than wanting to get up and dance!

Getting back on ‘track’ I want to talk about songs that commonly get stuck, on loop, in my head. The term I have heard for it is ‘ear worm’ and I’m not sure if there is a cure! Playing other music drowns it out for a while, but often the song comes back to play on repeat. It’s unfortunately not restricted to songs I enjoy, sometimes irritating songs play repeatedly, gratingly in my subconscious mind.

I think certain songs are more disposed to getting stuck – I’m talking about the cheesy ones, and the gimmicky ones. Their ‘hook’ is designed to grab your attention and reel you in, it’s a plot to make you sing along as if you liked it or (worse still) to buy/download the track. Other times it’s a particularly tricky section of the song, one which cannot be easily be sung or hummed, so it haunts you in a different way.

A music loving friend told me that if you sang the words/tune to Happy Birthday a few times, this cancelled the ear worm. This remedy has never worked for me.

Watermelon Sugar High – Harry Styles

Love Yourself – Justin Beiber

Your Girlfriend – Blossoms

Lucid Dreams – Juiceworld

California Girls – Katie Perry

She’s Got Legs – ZZ Top

All the Things She Said – t.A.T.u.

You Spin Me Round – Dead or Alive

I should be So Lucky – Kylie Minogue

There’s Your Trouble – Dixie Chicks

Another Nail in my Heart – Squeeze

I don’t Like Cricket – 10CC

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Above are a few of my recent earworms. With some tunes stuck in my head it’s a nuisance and others are a pleasure. When bands write anthemic songs, segments of their songs seem more likely to stick in your head. When songs are played frequently on the radio, they are brought to the forefront of your consciousness, but I’m not sure they’re classified as an earworm.

The other (terrible) culprit of planting a song firmly in your head is when a song is used in an advertising campaign. It’s even worse if they warp the lyrics to fit the product, because this messes with your proper memory of the original song. In my youth this was done less, they made up special ‘jingly’ tune, or used soft classical music – if you’re from the UK you will always have an association between certain music and Hovis wholemeal bread / British Airways / Lloyds bank.

I’d be interested to hear what songs have been / are ear worms for you and whether you find them a comfort or an irritation.

This post is submitted for the meme: September Song Project – Encore

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