« on the flip side | Main | in defense of hosting matters »

earworm, earworm

Earworms is the new term for songs that get stuck in your head. Researchers spent some time studying the cause and effects of these earworms.

The study, presented at conferences of the Society for Consumer Psychology in 2001 and 2003, showed:

*Women report more irritation and frustration as a result of earworms.

*People who are constantly exposed to music suffer them more frequently.

*There may be a connection between earworms and a person's level of neurosis.

"People with higher neuroticism scores tend to react to the onset of an earworm by saying 'Oh no, here it goes again, I wonder how long this is going to last,"' Kellaris said. "That fretting about it, I think, exacerbates it."

Well, today I woke up with Asia's Heat of the Moment in my head. It's not like I've listened to the song recently so I have no idea how that ended up playing in a loop in my brain. Not the whole song, but the chorus, over and over again. Heat of the Moment. Heat of the Moment. Heat of the Moment. It never fades out.

There's no denying that I am neurotic to an extent, but I don't think that's what keeps a song - an earworm - in ones head all day.

Have you ever noticed that most tunes that refuse to leave your brain are bad tunes? Songs that you wouldn't be caught dead singing, let alone owning a copy of, are the ones that park themselves in your mind and settle down for a long stay.

Perhaps the researchers missed their mark. I wonder if we are not being mind-controlled by aliens trying to drive us all crazy by lodging a tiny little microchip in our ear and when they want to bring us to the brink of insanity, they just hit the remote control, aim it at your head and Who Let The Dogs Out begins blaring in your mind, over and over again, all day long.

[One of the researchers] said one theory is that stuck songs are "the brain's attempt to resolve missing information," and that retrieving the forgotten lyrics of a song will provide closure that "unsticks" an earworm.

No. Sadly, I know all the words to Heat of the Moment. I really think this is some kind of government-sanctioned experiment in terror, designed to test how strong your resilience is. Can he withstand seven straight hours of "Purple Rain"? Then he is our man, sign him up! Those who crack under the pressure of having a secret microchip implant playing Europe's Final Countdown for a full afternoon are scratched off the list of potential agents, spies and alien studies.

The heat of the moment.....

TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference earworm, earworm:

» Where's the Hook? from Sketches of Strain
Michele has a song stuck in her head and it won't go away. That's what is known as an Earworm, which, by the way, is a translation of a German word. Someone has actually done a semi-scientific study about them.... [Read More]

» Earworms from Inoperable Terran
There's now a scientific term for songs getting stuck in your head. Michele's afflicted with a particularly unfortunate one.... [Read More]

» What's That Song? from SageOne's Zen Garden
How many times has this happened to you? I hate it when it happens. Those damn earworms. Link from: A Small Victory... [Read More]

» At last, a name from One Fine Jay
Earworm. Michele has the details on the phenomenon of a song that just won't go away. I suffer from that everyday, and that's when I actually play the song on my computer all day, through the day, loop-dee-loop, flipped over and back again. ... [Read More]

» Earworm, Ohrwurm, who cares from No Prerequisite
Jay pointed me to Michele who pointed me to a Newday.com article that states "'Earworm' is the term coined by University of Cincinnati marketing professor James Kellaris for the usually unwelcome songs that get stuck in people's heads." However, I... [Read More]

Comments

Won't you take me to
Funkytown?
Won't you take me to
Funkytown?
Won't you take me down
to Fuh-uh-unky-town...?

D

The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Jeebu.

I'm saaaaaailing away,
Set an open course for the virgin sea.
For I've got to be free,
Free to face the life that's ahead of me.

Fortunately I love Asia, so that would not be too bad for me. I woke up recently with a few Poison tracks in my head...eek.

points up
Sadly, I hear Cartman's version of it in my head, not the original...

Darn. Now I have two earworms - Cartman's version of I'm Sailing Away and Heat of the moment.
At least I'll something to listen to on my way to work if the radio isn't playing anything.

Damn you Kylie Minogue...

Na, na, na....na, na, nana, na

(key change)

Na, na, na...na, na, nana, na

Goodbye to you my trusted friend...

That was really mean Michele.

"Gonna stomp, all night,

In the neighborhood, don't it feel alright?

Gonna stomp..."

Arrgghhh.

I have a constant loop of Jingle Bells in my head year round. I don't even like the holidays or christmas carols.

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city ....

ack

this whole song...it is stuck in my head with no hope of ever going away.its a good thing i like the song as much as i do or i would go insane...

I'd kill for "Heat of the Moment". I'm stuck with the Kikkoman fight song. Even the Japanese bits that I don't understand!

Since when is that a new term? I've been saying it for some time.

"Oh Mickey, you're so fine,
you're so fine you blow my mind,
hey Mickey, hey Mickey!"

For 3 days, I've been singing West Side Story:
"I feel pretty, oh so pretty; I feel pretty and witty and gay..."
Worse, I've been singing it in my best 'Adam Sandler' voice. Thanks Anger Management.

A little bit me, a little bit you.

Just kill me.

Earworm? Great, leave it to science to give a phenomenon a name that sticks in your mind even worse than most songs do.

Jungle life
I'm far away from nowhere
On my own like Tarzan Boy

Hide and seek
I play along while rushing cross the forest
Monkey business on a sunny afternoon

Jungle life
I'm living in the open
Native beat that carries on

Burning bright
A fire the blows the signal to the sky
I sit and wonder does the message get to you

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
(repeat the Ohs for four damn times!)

And, in addition to the lyrics, I keep seeing that fucking Listerine bottle swinging on a vine. ARGH!

Aruba , Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda , Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo , Montego baby why don't we go
Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

ARG!!! KILL ME NOW!!

There's only one thing stuck in your head that is worse than a Poison song:

Casey Kasem talking dirty to you in your sleep.........

Saying earworm makes me think of the movie "The Beastmaster." You know, the little glowing worm that they drop in those guys ears before they become mindless, killing machines.

Maybe this isn't too far from your theory about government mind control.

The earworm in my head alternates between the Smurf theme song and that song from "The Sound of Music" where the little kids are singing goodnight.

"So looooong, farewell, au weidersein, good niiiiiight...."

ugh.

One of the researchers] said one theory is that stuck songs are "the brain's attempt to resolve missing information," and that retrieving the forgotten lyrics of a song will provide closure that "unsticks" an earworm.

Riiiight. So how come most of the earworms I end up with have no lyrics? (Mainly classical music, and background music from show soundtracks.)

i remember reading an article a couple of months ago that earworm was what germans called those evil songbits (Ohrewurmen? with umlauted O and U)). I guess now it's our word, too.

Hell on earth: Elton John's duet, "DOn't go breaking my heart". Except when i hear it, i hear this drunk couple from one of the local bars karaoking it, instead of Elton.

Commercial jingles are the worst like the meow mix song. But earworm? That makes me think of those little beasts from Star Trek II, Wrath of Kahn now Im going to have a picture of one crawling out of Chekhov's ear in my head all day. Eyyeew.

I don't believe somebody dissed the Brothers Johnson. And that Lovin' Spoonful song was way better than the actual name "Lovin' Spoonful."

So far I vote for "Kokomo." Right on with that one. Can't believe nobody mentioned "Copacabana," or is all Manilow a foregone conclusion here?

ahem
It's a world of laughter
A world of tears
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev'ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all

It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world

Aaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh.....

I was ok with this until you guys started posting all those songs...now I have a whole slew of them on a tape loop in my poor beleagured head....

Stop it, just stop it!

ok....just one more..heh

The Macarena !

/run away very fast

Somebody just HAD to fuckin' mention Barry Manilow, didn't they?

AARRRRRRGHHHHH!!!!!

Reading through the replies has created, like an above poster commented, a virtual large market of radio stations in my head. Static between songs included... >=|

PS. Tom's Diner...Do do doo-do, do-duh-do-do, do DO do-do duh-do do-do. MUAHAHAH!

Everybody was kung fu fighting! A classic by Carl Douglas.

Of course Season's in the sun by Terry Jacks as mentioned by Solonor is near the top of my list as well.

Hmmm, how about Play That Funky Music White Boy by Wild Cherry.

Notice I included the artist so you can correctly search, download and enjoy them yourself. :D

Today, it was:

"Wouldn't it be nice if we were older,
then we wouldn't have to wait so long ..."

Not a bad song, but I can't hit any of the notes. Just goes higher and higher. Carl Wilson territory.

I thought I was screwed when I heard "No sleep 'til Brooklyn" on the radio today because that almost always sticks in my head. But nothing. It was "Wouldn't it be Nice?"

My worst one?

(also from Sound of Music: From intro to "I Am Sixteen"...)

"...Your life, little girl,
is an
emp-ty page
that men will want to write on--

tooo wriiite onnn..."

Well hell. Mike beat me to Small World, so I'll just have to add to the [hirg!] Barry Manilow comments:

When my wife was about 7 months pregnant, we were driving up country. The baby was kicking like a maniac until Barry came on the radio. Then she went to sleep. Perceptive and precocious that girl was, even in utero.

Happy to say, though, that of all the irritation tunes that have ever gotten stuck bouncing around my synapses, none was ever Barry Manilow. Unfortunately, Afternoon Delight [puke] has done it more than once.

Earworms have been an ongoing subject in the St. Paul Pioneer Press/Dispatch column called "Bulletin Board" for some time now. (Bulletin Board is a collection of cute kids stories and boring personal stories and thoughts, sent in by readers. Like a Tuesday Lileks Bleat, without the personality. Some say Lilek's "Backfence" column was the Minneapolis newspaper's answer to St. Paul's Bulletin Board.)

Someone in BB wrote that they have a visual equivalent of an earworm that they call an "eyefly". If you look at a partly cloudy sky and imagine you see the words "The Simpsons" coming out from behind the clouds, then you have an "eyefly".

Remember when you first played Tetris for 48 hours straight? Every object in town became a Tetris board. Eyefly.

earworm? you want an earworm? four words for you:

ma na ma na.

It's a nice day for a White Wedding.... (or anything else by Billy Idol).

Poison? They're no problem. The only one that ever gets in my head is "Something To Believe In" and I like that one. I never get Manilow's songs running around in my head.

re-MEM-ber WHEN you WENT a-WAY
and I got ON my KNEES and BEGGED
you NOT to LEAVE be-CAUSE i'd GO ber-SERK?

WELL-l-l-l-l

you LEFT me AN-y HOW and THEN
the DAYS got WORSE and WORSE and NOW
you SEE i've GONE com-PLETE-ly OUT OF MY MIND

AND

they're COMing to TAKE me a-WAY, ha-ha
they're COMing to TAKE me a-WAY, ho-ho...

(HA HA)

Of course, the real reason we replay bad commercial jingles in our heads and insist on screaming out cheesy 70s songs in our cars at the top of our lungs at double-speed in a Donald Duck voice, is because we're all corrupt westerners who make no attempt to discipline our minds and focus our attention through prayer and meditation. I'm sure Osama bin Laden doesn't wander through Afghanistan singing "Midnight at the Oasis."

Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows paintin' our faces
Traces of romance in our heads
Heaven's holdin' a half-moon
Shinin' just for us
Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust
Come on, Cactus is our friend
He'll point out the way
Come on, till the evenin' ends
Till the evenin' ends
You don't have to answer
There's no need to speak
I'll be your belly dancer, prancer
And you can be my sheik

Oh wow. Maria Muldaur [shudder] as a WMD.

You know, it could work.

Zippiddeedooda zippiddeeday My oh my what a....

I have earworm every waking minute....sometimes the last song I heard, sometimes just out of nowhere...sometimes just a snippet of music that I don't even know what it is, or a commercial jingle. I've learned to live with it, but it can be annoying....Is there anyone else like me out there?

I have earworm every waking minute....sometimes the last song I heard, sometimes just out of nowhere...sometimes just a snippet of music that I don't even know what it is, or a commercial jingle. I've learned to live with it, but it can be annoying....Is there anyone else like me out there?

I have earworm every waking minute....sometimes the last song I heard, sometimes just out of nowhere...sometimes just a snippet of music that I don't even know what it is, or a commercial jingle. I've learned to live with it, but it can be annoying....Is there anyone else like me out there?

Underdog.
UNDERDOG!
Underdog.
UNDERDOG!
Speed of lightning.
Roar of thunder.
Mighty foe
of all who plunder.
Underdog.
aah aah aah aah
Underdog.
UNDERDOG!

ARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

A list of the top 10 earworm tunes exists in cyberspace, and you've hit many of the hilights. One that I don't see is the Chili's baby back ribs jingle. I wonder if the fine people at Chili's are proud or aghast at their aural accomplishment, in making an earworm list.