Earworm of the Week

I am frequently plagued by earworms. You know earworms, right — the songs that get stuck in your head? They seem inevitably to be the most annoying songs possible, and though their origins are often mysterious, for me at least, they can usually be traced back to some specific point of infection (muzak in the drugstore, commercial on the television, passing car stereo). And some percentage of the time, at least, recurring earworms are found to be connected to odd phrases of thoughts that trigger connections that link to lyrics that just won’t go away.

For instance, a couple of years ago I was plagued with an infestation of the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This, amazingly, I was able to trace back to the prescription for a certain pain medication, the thought of whose name inevitably tripped me into “chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool and all” for weeks on end.

Some, however, remain mysterious. Such is the current status of my most recent earworm. I find myself at the oddest moments — staring into the refrigerator trying to figure out what’s for dinner is a prime example — with Dope’s “You Spin Me Round” on repeat in my brain. And I’m clueless as to why. I inevitably come in right on the downbeat of the chorus — you spin me right round, baby, right round, like a record, baby, right round round round — as nothing in my thoughts seems to lead me there. And I’m at least not conscious of having heard the song of late, even in sampled or otherwise doctored form.

All I can hope is that going public with the infection will result in its rapid retreat.

11 thoughts on “Earworm of the Week

  1. Thanks so much for including the lyrics and everything, just so I could hear the song in my head as I read… and then keep hearing it…

    Next time I run across a killer video tape, remind me to copy it and send it to you so I can save myself!

  2. funny you should mention this today as I have spent the greater part of a week dealing with a “black coffee in bed” earworm : “from lips without passion to the lips with a kiss/ there’s nothing of your love that I’ll ever miss/ A stain on my notebook is all that is left/ of the memories of late nights and coffe in bed….” (by the way, who sang that song ?)

    from time to time van morrison and the chieftain’s “I’ll tell me ma” bumps the coffee for a bit–is it possible to be the warground of battling earworms ?

  3. How could you forget the Squeeze!

    As for VM & C’s “I’ll tell me ma,” you don’t know pain until you’ve had the far-worse Clancy Brothers or Wolftones’ version implanted.

    My earworm syndrome seems to be that the last song playing on my computer when I leave the office stays in my ears until I return to the office next day, even if I put something different on at home. It must have to do with being in a certain mode of brain activity, but I dare not speculate on the nature of that mode.

  4. apparently the blogging cure has a certain effect–this morning I realized both the battling earworms has fled.

    Replaced by Edelweiss from the sound of music.

    Squeeze, come back !

  5. Mine are often pretty horrible (see this entry: http://www.wombatfile.com/archives/000516.html), although “You Spin Me Right Round” is about as bad as they come.

    The problem with earworms is that they often turn a good song (recently Ben Folds’ “Landed”) torturous, perversely taking the very thing — some catchy bit of melody or groove — one loved the song for in the beginning into a reason to exorcise it from all playlists and such, in the hopes that the memory of its delights will fade.

    Of course, sometimes musical quality is not the issue. Take that damned Fresh Prince theme! It’s positively fiendish — that bit about “smell ya later” always threatens to set up its own little corner in the brainpan and stay indefinitely. Curse them!

  6. Ohrwurn aka earworm. Besides being repetitive and unconsciously being replaced by another melody, my earworm has other disconcerting phenomena.

    It seems to be coming from my right ear. I also can control the pitch up and down, I can speed it up or down, I can head sing another melody and hear it from my right ear. I cannot get rid of it.

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