17 July 2007

The earworm

I have a problem with music. I get songs stuck in my head.

I don’t mean stuck in my head for a day or two. I mean stuck in my head for six months or more at a time, stuck so bad that it becomes traumatic and painful.

The worst one ever was Mozart’s "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"(MP3) – even if you don’t think you know the tune, you do.

It is so catchy and so persistent in my brain that hearing it once can set my loop in motion for months. One time I finally got it out of my head and almost started crying the next time I heard it because I was so sick of the tune and afraid it would happen again. (Ironically, Mozart was the victim of this catchy-music disease, too.)

Apparently I am not insane. I just have a really active "cognitive itch" that needs a lot of scratching.

The Germans, who are experts at naming strange mental phemomena, call it (translated) an "earworm." I think mine is more like a poisonous ear snake.

What songs get stuck in YOUR head?


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Major Bedhead said...

I get horrifying crap stuck in my head, crap my daughter listens to and she's twelve. Some song about an umbrella. Another song about not liking your girlfriend. Please, please, please make it stop. *whimper*

Whit said...

I've had "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" stuck in my head for about 8 years now.

I'm always humming it or singing a few words here and there. It's like a disease.

Anonymous said...

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is a repeat offender in my brain! Actually, I don't mind it so much, since it doesn't have any words.

The worst song is "If I Only Had a Brain" from the Wizard of Oz. After a week, I had changed so many words around that I managed to convince myself "there would be an F in Knoxville if I only had a brain" was an actual line.

super des said...

I get songs stuck in my head too easily. Someone just has to mention a song, or something that reminds me of the song, and I'm stuck with it.

And I didn't click to listen to Mozart for this very reason. That's another plus to the ipod. New song in my head every few minutes... until I turn it off. Then it's the last one.

Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine a song stuck for months. I cannot.

QT said...

I get songs stuck but usually for a day or so. I can usually get rid of it by listening to the actual song.

Currently, Rhianna's Umbrella is stuck

"you can stand under my um-br-ella"

meno said...

"Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again."

Day Dreamer said...

Oh, my co-workers and I take turns trying to drive each other insane!

We start with the Brady Bunch theme song or worse.

We've been known to call each other with nothing else to say than "There's a story..."

The problem is...then we've done it to ourselves...

Suzanne said...

I would love to know the German word for "earworm." What I love about German is that it just sticks several words together into one massive word. The word for vacuum cleaner is "saubermachenmachina" or something like that that translates to "makes rugs clean." Good stuff.

As I read your post, a show about the top shows from the '80s is on TV. Many of those songs will be stuck in my head, including "Bad medicine" by Bon Jovi, which often plays in the soundtrack of my mind for no reason.

Julie Marsh said...

Now I have EKN in my head. But really, that's infinitely better than some of the stupid kids' songs that have been stuck there before.

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