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Not even cold showers can stop the earworm
August 12, 2003 11:04 AM   Subscribe

It's official: 98% of people have had songs stuck in their heads. What about the other 2%? They don't have to contend with top offenders like the Mister Softee song, "Whoomp, There It Is" or "It's A Small World After All" ringing in their ears for hours.
posted by marzenie99 (127 comments total)

 
The only drawback to having a 7-year-old son is constantly having the Pokemon song running through my head: "Pokemon -- gotta catch 'em all ... You'll teach me and I'll teach you, PO-KE-MON! Pokemon!"

Dear Lord, please get this song out of my head! I sing it at work. People justifiably look at me funny.
posted by Holden at 11:10 AM on August 12, 2003


Thanks a lot. Assholes.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 11:12 AM on August 12, 2003


Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got, my loneliness is killing me, heyyyy Macarena! (Life in plastic, it's fantastic.)

I also find myself walking around humming the themes to Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and Mega Man 2. That's what I get for spending my entire adolescence in front of a console.
posted by waxpancake at 11:12 AM on August 12, 2003


This thread is a very bad day waiting to happen.
posted by MonkeyMeat at 11:13 AM on August 12, 2003


Pass the dutchie on the left hand side.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:15 AM on August 12, 2003


I alternated between "Boys Keep Swinging" and "Jackie" most days (which is fine, I like both), until last week when Zappa's "Let Me Take You To The Beach" nearly drove me mad!
posted by black8 at 11:16 AM on August 12, 2003


If he made them and they made you, who picked up the middle and who made who?

Who turned the screw?
posted by COBRA! at 11:17 AM on August 12, 2003


This is not a duplicate post call-out . .. just amplification. And "When" by the Kalin Twins is my particular cross to bear, in this realm.
posted by Danf at 11:24 AM on August 12, 2003


My 2-year-old has just transferred obsessions from Barney the Dinosaur to The Wiggles.

Hoop-De-Doo Polka, anybody?
posted by briank at 11:24 AM on August 12, 2003


That's what I get for spending my entire adolescence in front of a console.

You would want to avoid this then, if you haven't already seen it.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:25 AM on August 12, 2003


anything by the Barenaked Ladies. Ugh. I hate it.

For me, the worst offenders are songs written in canon form, i.e. the final cadence of the stanza ends on the first chord of the stanza, so it kind of wraps around to the beginning. (Like most of BNL's music, which I really intensely dislike. Similarly, Blues Traveler's "The Hook", which I do like but occasionaly gets stuck in my head for a day or two. Most nintendo music is like that too. ) Also, the repetitive choruses with one line repeated over and over and over.

And now for a derail: ocremix -- remixes of all your favorite console tunes. If you download one megabyte today, download "Zelda, the music of my Groin". It still brings a smile to my face to listen to it, three weeks later.

Also, in German, they say "das Ohrwurm", the ear-worm, to mean the same thing.
posted by leapfrog at 11:26 AM on August 12, 2003


Anyone with toddlers probably knows the endless loops of anything by the Wiggles that invade & infest the brain.
posted by bk at 11:27 AM on August 12, 2003


I always heard that if you get a spectaculary annoying song stuck in your head, hum the theme from "Bonanza" over and over. It's very catchy and will replace whatever ails you, but for some reason it's easy to replace with something more enjoyable. Works for me!

anything by the Barenaked Ladies. Ugh. I hate it.
AMEN.
posted by arco at 11:28 AM on August 12, 2003


Mmmbop.

have a nice day. :)
posted by krazykity16 at 11:29 AM on August 12, 2003


Well, my particular situation is even worse... I play the banjo. So various bluegrass instrumentals get stuck in my head at random times of the day.

And I express them vocally without thinking. You should see the looks I get when I start expressing a Scruggs style banjo part out loud. (Dow-ne-ener-ne-ne-bou-ne-ne...etc..) People usually think I'm suffering some kind of fit, and ignore me after a while.
posted by bradth27 at 11:30 AM on August 12, 2003


Also, the repetitive choruses with one line repeated over and over and over...

Th' wife almost committed justifiable homicide when I got Eno's here Come the Warm Jets and started singing "dead finks don't talk" over and over while pottering around the apartment.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:31 AM on August 12, 2003


"Just don't go back to Big Sur
baby baby please don't go
baby baby please don't go"

(repeat 500x. Be driven nuts)
posted by marzenie99 at 11:33 AM on August 12, 2003


Jesus Christ looks like me.
posted by angry modem at 11:33 AM on August 12, 2003


If only I could write out Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" in a way that made sense: dut-dut-duh-DUT-dut-dutduhDUT-dut-DUT-duh-duh-duh-duh-duuh-dut dut-dut-duh-DUT-dut-dutduhDUT...)

Oh, well; just thinking of it ensnared a few of you, I'm sure.
posted by arco at 11:33 AM on August 12, 2003


third on the wiggles, kids insist on it playing in the car and damn if some of the songs aren't 'catchy' (in the baddest sense of the term). A day without Captain Feathersword is a good day indeed.
posted by jmackin at 11:34 AM on August 12, 2003


The Body Massage jingle from this thread is pretty catchy.
posted by abez at 11:38 AM on August 12, 2003


The Nutty Squirrels.

"Uh-Oh, Part 2"


Have a nice day.
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on August 12, 2003


anything by the Barenaked Ladies. Ugh. I hate it.

But not real hate, that's cruel. . .
posted by Danf at 11:41 AM on August 12, 2003


This summer, a community board in Brooklyn, N.Y., has called for a limit on the playing of the "Mr. Softee"
This is not a ha-ha funny thing. If you've ever lived in a New York tenement, and had a Mr. Softee truck park on any street on any side of your block on a hot summer day, the result is mind-bending torture and frustration. The truck may be parked there until after midnight. If you have no air conditioning, and must keep the windows open, the choice is either to stay inside and go mad, or be driven into the streets. One Mr. Softee truck parked on, say, an otherwise quiet street on the Upper West Side, has the power to annoy literally ten thousand people. You cannot appeal to any higher authority to get the truck shut off. Like car alarms, they are simply not taken seriously. But Mr. Softee trucks, along with loud Salsa music, have taken years off of my life.
posted by Faze at 11:43 AM on August 12, 2003


Just yesterday, my partner reminded me of the debacle that is Remembering Laci, and it was stuck in my head the rest of the night.
posted by stonerose at 11:46 AM on August 12, 2003


"Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go ... I wanna be sedated."
posted by oh posey at 11:46 AM on August 12, 2003


Sometimes I find myself, for no particular reason, suddenly humming one of Larry's Silly Songs from Veggietales. And then I start giggling, envisioning a dancing CG cucumber.
"Miren al pepino, como se mueve/ como un leon, tras un raton"
Also, the bit about lips... "Ten days after I turned eight, got my lips stuck in a gate. My friends all laughed. And I just stood there until the fire department came and broke the lock with a crow bar and I had to spend the next six weeks in lip rehab with this kid named Oscar who got stung by a bee - right on the lip - and we couldn't even talk to each other until the fifth week because both our lips were so swollen, and when he did start speaking he just spoke Polish and I only knew like three words in Polish except now I know four because Oscar taught me the word for lip: Usta!"

posted by leapfrog at 11:47 AM on August 12, 2003


Next time you're in a room with someone try humming the first few bars from the A-team theme, then stop, see how long it is before someone else in the room starts humming it. This works especially well in kitchens.
posted by biffa at 11:50 AM on August 12, 2003


I still get the damn "I'm a cow/can't you see/I'm living in/the country/ mooooOOOOOOOoo/ I'm a cow" from some damned flash thingy that was posted here about a year ago stuck in my head. I watched it about four times and can still sing the whole song verbatim.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:57 AM on August 12, 2003


"Whip it" had me in it's deadly grip back in the day.
posted by 2sheets at 12:00 PM on August 12, 2003


Faze thanks for the explanation.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:01 PM on August 12, 2003


During the two 10-day silent meditation retreats in which I've participated, the variety and persistence of songs that got stuck in my head was quite impressive. TV jingles from 1983 that I didn't think I knew, catchy modern pop tunes, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the worst and I mean the worst hip-hop songs ever performed, etc.

Having random songs floating to the surface of my mind without a means of drowning them out with other auditory stimuli was an interesting excercise in patience.
posted by rbellon at 12:01 PM on August 12, 2003


With me, it's the theme song from The Munsters or, and I am not making this up, the Purple Pieman and Huckleberry Tom (?) songs from the Strawberry Shortcake game for the 2600 that my sister, who was maybe 5 at the time, would play again and again and again, when she wasn't watching Grease2 or Annie.

The Kit-Kat song works on me too, but for some reason only in THICK ROSSIAN ACCENT! Give to me break, give to me break, break me off piece, KEET-KET BARRRR!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:02 PM on August 12, 2003


I've always considered "It's a Small World" to be the atomic bomb of stuck songs. I have used it, and will continue to do so, to punish people who have gotten other songs stuck in my head.
posted by smcniven at 12:03 PM on August 12, 2003


I still get the damn "I'm a cow/can't you see/I'm living in/the country/ mooooOOOOOOOoo/ I'm a cow"

LOB! STER! STICKS! TO! MAGNET!

(rabbit made of metal, lobster has a BEAK!)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:03 PM on August 12, 2003


"you don't have to riiich to be my girl, you don't have to be cool to rule my wooorrlddddd"

that was today's song.
posted by Sijeka at 12:04 PM on August 12, 2003


I spent an evening a few nights back annoying my girlfriend with the Knightrider theme.

It's actually a pretty complex exercise for lips, teeth, and tongue.
posted by linux at 12:06 PM on August 12, 2003


Lately the song that's been in my head the most is the Everybody to the Limit song from Homestar Runner. It was in there all Friday night, then I woke up Saturday morning and it was STILL stuck. What a horrible thing to have happen.
posted by Hildago at 12:06 PM on August 12, 2003


Carlos Castaneda wrote about the "internal dialogue" as a learned behavior, which is essential to get control over if you wish to achieve a state of extended focus or unfocus in your mind. So, whether you want to be a better test taker or a better meditator, you have to train yourself to shut up for a while, the longer the better.

His technique to control internal dialogue, "The Right Way of Walking", works, by the way. Its effects can be pretty dramatic in people who impress you as "airheads" because of their lack of concentration.
posted by kablam at 12:07 PM on August 12, 2003


we're the kids, we're the kids, we're the kids in america..

It's a small world too naturally, it festered in my head from age 5 until I was ten.
posted by dabitch at 12:07 PM on August 12, 2003


I get occasional loopage from "Don't Fence Me In" (Bing Crosby & the Andrews sisters). For my fiance's part, I can launch instant torture by just looking right at him and singsonging, "Whooo let the dogs out? Woof! Woof! Woof!"
posted by clever sheep at 12:08 PM on August 12, 2003


I spent an evening a few nights back annoying my girlfriend...actually a pretty complex exercise for lips, teeth, and tongue.

No comment.
posted by arco at 12:10 PM on August 12, 2003


One Mr. Softee truck . . . has the power to annoy literally ten thousand people
and so does this thread!

this thread is like a car accident -- I know I shouldn't look but I just can't help myself. And as a result, I've got way too many songs in my head.

Now I will go run an errand so I can blast a CD in my car to try and drown out the noise. thanks, marzenie99 >:-|
posted by evening at 12:13 PM on August 12, 2003


We've got your name
La la la
Everybody knows
We've got your name.


Curse you B3ta!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:16 PM on August 12, 2003


Here's the "I'm a Cow" flash thing that I was referring to earlier. Be forewarned though. That thread is 15 months old and that song still gets stuck in my head. In fact, talking about it has placed it there firmly this very afternoon.

It is quite funny though and possibly not work-safe.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:16 PM on August 12, 2003


For me, it's a different song every morning, I wake up singing it and it stays in my head all AM only to be replaced by as bad a song the next day. Sometimes though it's good lyrics like this morning I repeated to myself over and over "I've been up all night, sleepin' all day, my father wasted sperm when he made me, and it's hard enough nowadays just actin' normal. Still, got to be to work on time..."
posted by vito90 at 12:19 PM on August 12, 2003


Don't worry... be happy
posted by maceo at 12:20 PM on August 12, 2003


smcniven: absolutely.

But there's another.

Oh Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind.
posted by donpardo at 12:21 PM on August 12, 2003


"I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down...."

It's stuck in my head, can't get it out again, I'm never gonna get it out....
posted by halleck23 at 12:23 PM on August 12, 2003


Lately the song that's been in my head the most is the Everybody to the Limit song from Homestar Runner.

A far more dangerous song is Strongbad's Techno song. Be in a group of people who've seen it *only once* and you can start going...

"BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP"

The irresistable urge of the second person to jump in...

"DOOT DOOT DOO DOO LOO DOOT DOOT DOO DOO LOO"

And then of course...

"THE SYSTEM IS DOWN. THE SYSTEM IS DOWN."

It cannot be stopped. It cannot be contained.

BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP BOOMP....
posted by Stan Chin at 12:25 PM on August 12, 2003


jonmc: that makes TWICE now that you've gotten "Uh-Oh, Part 2" stuck in my head. There are worse songs, though.
posted by sklero at 12:28 PM on August 12, 2003


There she goes. There she goes again.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:28 PM on August 12, 2003


hey, I love that song, sklero.

It is a danged earworm, though.
posted by jonmc at 12:30 PM on August 12, 2003


"A Message to You, Rudi" by The Specials. I had a problem with it in college, and I thought that monkey was off my back. Then I heard it used in a paper towel commercial (yes, fucking Bounty used "Message to Rudi") and it burrowed into my head and laid eggs again. That was months ago and I still occasionally find myself humming it audibly on the subway.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:31 PM on August 12, 2003


TV themes. They're insidious...

"Sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..."

"Here's a story... of a lovely lady..."

"A horse is a horse, of course, of course..."

"Gre-e-en Acres is the place to be..."

"They're creepy and they're kooky... mysterious and spooky..."

Instrumentals are just as bad; sometimes you can fill in words:

"Hill Street Blues, Hill Street Blues..."

"He's the Pris-ner, the Prisoner and he can't get out..."

And there's nothing more annoying than having your day punctuated by the bass line from "Seinfeld":
"Boinkadoinkadoing... boinkadoing... Doinkadoingdoing..."

Or Trading Spaces' musical hook (that reminds me of Woody Woodpecker...)
"Doodle-dee-doo-doo!"

And the reference to Mr. Softee just reminds me of a certain cult cable show, now airing on one of Nickelodeon's digital channels: "Hey smiley strange, you're looking happily deranged..."

I think I've done enough damage here...
posted by wendell at 12:33 PM on August 12, 2003


The Magnum PI theme. Oy.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:34 PM on August 12, 2003


I guess I'm a little older than most of you.

"Take a letter, Maria. Address it to my wife..."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:37 PM on August 12, 2003


Crash-D: How about Johnny Mercer's "Personality"? I grew up hearing that one because my parents were WW II generation. Clever wordplay.

I've got an MP3 of a bunch of drunken Russians belting out their upbeat rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" to accordion accompaniment. Freakin' insidious, that.

Also, toward the end of a stressful evening at my call-center job, I'll get the final two songs from Tommy going in my mind..."Welcome to the Camp/I guess you all know why you're here..." and "Listening to you/I climb the mountain..."
posted by alumshubby at 12:40 PM on August 12, 2003


wendell, you truly are a bastard.

I feared reading this thread because I was certain I'd end up with a song in my head, but I wound up being safe... until you came along.

bastard.
posted by mosch at 12:43 PM on August 12, 2003


As a result of spending my entire adolescence in front of a console I managed to have the Final Fantasy 5 soundtrack stuck in my head for three solid weeks during Sophomore year. God that game had some great (as well as some horrible) music. FF7's a particularly venomous offender, too - hearing that battle theme makes me almost twitch.
posted by Veritron at 12:47 PM on August 12, 2003


rbellon, I know what you mean. A few years ago my wife and I went on a 10-day backpacking trip, during which we saw only one other person (a park ranger, on the eighth day). We had no radio, no TV, no newspapers or billboards or ... did I say no radio or TV? On the second day without mass media, songs and commercial jingles and marketing slogans rose, unbidden, from the muddy depths of my mind. My brain, deprived of these stimuli, re-created them, ad nauseum.

This self-created auditory onslaught peaked and subsided (but not completely) over several days. It was like my mind was purging itself of poison.

We were so isolated that we didn't know that OJ had been acquitted until 10 days after it happened. We hit the trail the morning the verdict was announced.
posted by Holden at 12:47 PM on August 12, 2003


#1 is "Tubthumping" (as previously mentioned) insidious, horrible. The scumsucking asspigs responsible for that atrocity should be killed without mercy. Or tortured. Yes, torture would be better. On the plus side the song title alone doesn't immediately conjure up "I get knocked down, but I get up again"

#2 Macarena, nuff said

#3 Journey - Any Way You Want It. that's the way you need it. any way you want it. BUH NUH NUH NUH NUH NUH NUH NAH!! OK, my afternoon is fucked.

and in no particular order...

"Getting Jiggy With It" god damn Will Smith to hell for ruining all the good songs he samples/plunders

Billy Joel - anything on side one of Glass Houses FUCK FUCK FUCK

Rick James - Superfreak (and a big FUCK YOU to MC Hammer)

Rod Stewart IF YUO WANT MY BODY ANY YUO THINK IM SEXY CMON BABY LET ME KNOW WTF OMG!LL!!!!11!!

Neil Diamond - song sung blue LA LA LA LA LA LA song sung bluuue bla la la la la laaaaa

The Singing Nun - Dominique
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 12:57 PM on August 12, 2003


SO here's the situation. i work in a large record store where i am constantly barraged with random people from all age and taste groups asking.."do you know that song? the one that goes (insert incredibly vague, commonplace, or obscure lyric here) ?" Honestly, i'm pretty good at helping them, but as a result, i have developed my already sort of hyperaware attitude regarding song content to an obsurd level. Instead of merely getting songs stuck in my head, i get specific words stuck in my head, and i'm forced to try and weed through all the music i listen to (my cds, my mp3s, my friends' cds, the music at work, commercials, the radio, etc.) in order to track down the offending clause.

This leads to occurances where i walk up to my roomate and/or coworker and ask.. "more of a man, less of a mouse..." does that sound familiar?"(Brendan Benson, in a nice little ditty entitled "folk singer", that took me about the longest of any, a month.) Or someone will say just one word, and that will trigger a lyrical fragment, and i'll spend the rest of the day trying to match more words and an artist, until i'm forced to google the snippet and ascertain the whereabouts. It's a curse.

I fear for what will happen when i age, and i lose the tenuous grip i have on my collection. Dementia, i'm sure. I'll be sitting and rocking and clutching my ears, humming snatches of rhythm to myself as i mutter the same three or four words over and over, trying to capture a song by mentally tracking through my cd collection alphabetically.
posted by redsparkler at 12:58 PM on August 12, 2003


Give to me break, give to me break, break me off piece, KEET-KET BARRRR!

oh, the hilarity! i am picturing Krazy Milosz from the Simpsons singing this, and it's even better...

for me the seasonal earworm is the problem -- during the Red Sox broadcasts on the quite crappy NESN cable network here in Boston, they seem to have arranged for a rotation of three commercials total for the entire season. and two of them are "Toyotathon" type car commercials. so every 15 minutes in my living room i hear either the Beach Boys ("Tshirt, cutoffs, and a pair of tho-ongs...we'll be havin' fun all summer long") or this migraine-inducing 80s classic: "ANYway you want it, THAT's the way you need it, ANYway you want it! *DOO-doo-doo-DOO (power chords)*" yaaaaaaaaah!
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:01 PM on August 12, 2003


All the things you said
Running through my head
Running through my head
Running through my head
Running through my head
Running through my head
Running through my head
Running through my head
Running through my head
ad infinitum . . . stupid Tatu!
posted by tr33hggr at 1:03 PM on August 12, 2003


Oh hell. I was totally impervious until redsparkler. "O-kay here's the situation, my parents went away on a week's vacation, and they left the keys to the brand new Porsche . . . "

The revenge of misspent bubble gum rap years of my youth.

The frustration lies not in the repetitive hooks, but in trying to remember all the words.
posted by synapse at 1:11 PM on August 12, 2003


"...am constantly barraged with random people from all age and taste groups asking.."do you know that song? the one that goes (insert incredibly vague, commonplace, or obscure lyric here) ?"

I'm with you, redsparkler. I once spent an entire afternoon humming about a half-bar of Gerry Rafferty's Right Down The Line before I was able to come up with the rest of it. Meanwhile, the person who asked me "Do you know the rest of this song" probably enjoyed the day in blissful ignorance.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:13 PM on August 12, 2003


I just can't get you out of my head
Boy your loving is all I think about
I just can't get you out of my head
Boy it's more than I dare to think about

La la la
La la la la la
posted by mkultra at 1:20 PM on August 12, 2003


"Why do birds, suddenly appear?
Over there... Over here?"

Nobody could ever get sick of that song.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:23 PM on August 12, 2003


Stan Chin-- I've done the Strong Bad Techno thing before, too. It's infectious. Some time ago my roommate (at the time) had a few friends come into town, and we all went out to a bar... they were all big h*r fans too, and we ended up spending several hours over beers chanting the song by parts.

I heard somewhere (oh, wait... here) if you wanted to get a crappy song stuck in your head out, start humming "Kashmir".

The latest thing I've got stuck in my head (and I have to thank the Onion for this, oddly enough) is Ween's jingle for a Pizza Hut commercial that never materialized, Where'd the Cheese Go?
posted by nath at 1:27 PM on August 12, 2003


Why did I read this thread? I'm going to kill all of you.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:33 PM on August 12, 2003


The cat came back the very next day.
The cat came back. They thought it was a goner,
But the cat came back; it just wouldn't stay away.

The bane of my existence. My big mistake was telling my boyfriend how easily this song gets stuck in my head....

I've also had the interesting experience of more than one song stuck in my head at once. Had an annoying song stuck in my head, tried to chase it out with a somewhat less annoying song, and ended up alternately humming both of them for the rest of the day.
posted by kennyk at 1:34 PM on August 12, 2003


I just spent 4 days in Algonquin Park with the theme song to The Edison Twins stuck in my head. Only one way to make portaging more uncomfortable, and I managed to do it.
posted by krunk at 1:56 PM on August 12, 2003


In my college days we spent many hours trying to come up with antidotes to the earworm. We were all of the age that "Tomorrow (...Tomorrow, I love ya! Tomorrow)" from Annie was a common memory, and it did seem to universally remove any other song stuck in our head.

The downside, of course, being that you then had Andrea McArdle's belting moppet anthem lodged firmly in your brain.

We later discovered that the instrumental themes to either "Hawaii Five-0" or "The Odd Couple" got the job done in a much less annoying way.

Less annoying to us, that is. I'm not sure of what our dormmates thought of our vocal choruses of "na nAH na NAH na NAHHHHHH nut na NA nut na NAA NAAAAH."
posted by Ereneta at 2:16 PM on August 12, 2003


did anyone else find the last paragraph of this article a little odd?
Musicians may be more affected than others because of the areas of the brain involved in listening to and creating music. The brain is composed of circuits, many of which connect to the rostromedial prefrontal cortex, an area behind the forehead.
First, the brain isn't really composed of circuits per se, and then there's the whole assumption that people who need that analogy will know immediately what the rostromedial prefrontal cortex is, but not where it's located. Huh.
posted by Grod at 2:27 PM on August 12, 2003


Spiderman, Spiderman
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size
And for lunch, he likes flies

(yes, I know that last line isn't right. And yes, it is better that way.)
posted by arto at 2:29 PM on August 12, 2003


wow, I don't remember having a song stuck in my head in an unplesant way since i was a little kid... hm...
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on August 12, 2003


Jefferson Starship to the rescue.

Someone's always playing corporation games
Who cares they're always changing corporation names
We just want to dance here, someone stole the stage
They call us irresponsible, write us off the page

Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio, don't you remember
We built this city, we built this city on rock an' roll
posted by emelenjr at 2:29 PM on August 12, 2003


Neil Diamond - song sung blue

Turrrrrrn on your heartlight! Let it shine wherever you gooooooo, let it make a happy gloow for all the world to seeeeeeeee....

For those of us over 30:

Funky Town.

Nuff said.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:32 PM on August 12, 2003


spending so much of my time djing for a college station means I get things stuck in my head that other people don't know.

over and over my mind decides to play the chorus from beat happening's "black candy" and feed it straight into the line from "blues skies over the ocean" by the cannanes that goes "the best memories in my collection are moments of shared deception..."

other annoyances include radio4's song "no more room for communication", which is utterly aggravating, and pavement's "shoot the singer", which I am extremely fond of despite the fact that it will never resolve that damn hook, never!

the dsico mash-up of pavement and destiny's child is definitely a wormy worm, while I swear any version of "my world is empty (without you)" is bound to get stuck.

other lines:
-"the best laid plans this side of america"
-"I hear a symphony..."
-"probably come to die in this town - live here my whole life"
posted by jann at 2:33 PM on August 12, 2003


For me, it's always Jpop. I listen to it a lot, because I pick up new vocab words from it, but many songs have the unfortunate side-effect of being total mind-viruses. It'll start when I wake up in the morning, and last until I actually hear the song... or the next morning, whichever comes first.

The worst part is, sometimes I only know the chorus of the song, or maybe some other part with easy-to-remember words. There is NOTHING worse than an entire day's worth of the constant, niggling unease of not-quite-knowing-the-rest-of-the-lyrics, combined with a periodic mental scream of "TOKYO NIGHTS AMAKU TOKETE TOKYO NIGHTS YORU NI HOHOEMU!"

...thanks a whole fucking lot, Puffy. You too, Off Course.

Then again, songs getting stuck in your head may well be the mechanism by which the Sudden Song Learning phenomenon operates. Has anyone else had this happen? It's the one where you're kind of muddling through with singing along to something one day, and then a month later you hear it again and you can sing along almost perfectly, but you never listened to it in the meantime? It's weird.
posted by vorfeed at 2:37 PM on August 12, 2003


Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and the theme to "Gilligan's Island".
posted by jmevius at 2:49 PM on August 12, 2003


Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:53 PM on August 12, 2003


jonmc: You don't happen to be an April Winchell fan, do you? She's been playing the Nutty Squirrels occasionally as bumper music while Hanging with Mr. KABC. As has been discussed here previously, her audio archives are full of potential earworms of the most insidious kind.
posted by kmel at 2:55 PM on August 12, 2003


Re: Funky Town-- can't think of that one without thinking of Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. Inspires spontaneous laughter too-- bonus.

As for getting songs in other languages stuck-- Stereo Total and Pizzicato Five. Aiiiii.

I'm just glad I haven't had the "In Da Club" earworm for a while...
posted by marzenie99 at 3:04 PM on August 12, 2003


damn you marzenie99.....
posted by kelrae3 at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2003


that day, that day what a mess what a marvel I walked into that cloud again and I lost myself and I'm sad sad sad small alone and I'm scared craving purity a fragile mind and a gentle spirit that day that day what a marvellous mess this is all that I can do i'm done to be me sad scared small alone beautiful it's supposed to be like this I accept everything It's supposed to be like this that day that day I lay down beside myself in this feeling of pain sadness scared small climbing crawling towards the light and it's all I see and I'm tired and I'm right and I'm wrong and it's beautiful

[I'm not joking. I couldn't remember any English at school and failed my A-level but I've got this
whole Natalie Imbruglia tune running around my head. And it couldn't be 'Torn' could it?]
posted by feelinglistless at 3:34 PM on August 12, 2003


Spiderman, Spiderman
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size
And for lunch, he likes flies
(yes, I know that last line isn't right. And yes, it is better that way.)

That explains it for me, change the words, then stuck with it.
{{{Remember}}}Libby libby, on the Label label, on the Table table...that commercial jingle drove me nuts as a kid, plus the fact it was for canned vegetables, blyuck.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:20 PM on August 12, 2003


So... what did people do before their environments were filled up with constant jingly tunes? Did they get Latin hymns stuck in their heads, or Gregorian chants, or folksongs? Did they wander around medieval Europe cursing the guy who wrote "Greensleeves"? Or is this a modern condition, one which deserves long and hard study and which might have unforeseen consequences for the brain?

ah ah ah ah stayin' alive, staying alive...
posted by jokeefe at 4:27 PM on August 12, 2003


All I have to do to send my husband into orbit is start singing
"No No, No no no no, no no no no
no no
There's NO LIMITS!"
(By 2 unlimited.)
Gets him every time. Ah, the fun of it all.

I get eminem in my head a lot.

I hate the ones where you can only get to a line or two and then you lose it (or worse...start repeating the same two lines you know over again) and you can't figure out how to finish the chorus or song or whatever. Those are the worst.
posted by aacheson at 4:31 PM on August 12, 2003


Oh yeah, and the "Schoolhouse rocks" songs..


"They call me yuckmouth, cuz I don't brush. No, I like my teeth like this."

and

"I'm just a bill.
Yeah, I'm only a bill, and I'm sitting here on capitol hill. Well, it's a long long way from sitting in committee... blah blah blah.... and I hope one day to be a LAW!
Yes I hope and pray that I will, but today I am still just a bill."

Ah, Saturday morning cartoons.
posted by aacheson at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2003


My loneliness is killing me (and I)
I must confess I still believe (still believe)
If you're not with me I lose my mind
Gimme a siiiiiiiiiiiiiiign and hit me baby...


Earworm from hell. Unless it's the Travis cover. And even then it's not great. There are also the songs stuck in my brain thanks to my kids, stuff like Pterodactyl.

Worse is when the earworm is a result of advertising. Lately I've found myself singing "Brass In Pocket" which is a kickass song, one that isn't such a bad earworm really. But I was stumped as to why it was in my consciousness so highly until I intentionally listened to a radio ad for the nefarious and dreadful National City Bank and realized that they've capped the "I'm special, so special" bit of the song as the musical centerpiece of their new ad campaign.
posted by Dreama at 4:46 PM on August 12, 2003


Metafilter: a periodic mental scream.

I am sailing away...

If you find that kinky put some sugar dip on the tip of my pinky.

Mission Impossible theme often works as a purgative.
posted by asok at 5:09 PM on August 12, 2003


kablam , can you email me this method of getting rid of the songs ?

muchos bessos

i love the a-team theme tune
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:30 PM on August 12, 2003


The last couple of days, it's been "Old McDonald Had A Farm." Before that, "Bingo" (b-i-n-g-o, b-i-n-g-o, b-i-n-g-o, and Bingo was his name, oh."

A couple of days of "Tubthumping" nearly killed me. Then "All Star" (Smackmouth?), but only part of the chorus, making me want to think of it and avoid it at the same time.

And what Mosch said about Wendell; make that "Rat Bastard."
posted by datawrangler at 7:14 PM on August 12, 2003


I spent an evening a few nights back annoying my girlfriend...actually a pretty complex exercise for lips, teeth, and tongue.
Waaaay too much information there.

I had wondered if I was the only one who this happened to without hearing the song first. I am relieved that perhaps I am more normal than I thought (or we are all insane, which amounts to the same thing).
posted by dg at 7:19 PM on August 12, 2003


Wendell the Rat, here, just enjoying the countless variations of backyard military earworms featured in the "Ground Force" soundtrack, performed by the 'Black Dyke Band' (gotta love 'em)...

Make way for the Force,
Lay down for the Force,
The Ground Force...
They'll Ground their heels in you...

Give up to the Force,
Dark soil of the Force,
The Ground Force...
They're forcing their way...
They're forcing themselves...
On you!

(Next up, "Queer Eye's" retro disco, "Survivor's" tribal chant and that three seconds of ear-splitting reverb that is the 'bumper' music for "American Idol"...)

Bwahahaha...
posted by wendell at 7:49 PM on August 12, 2003


Every time I walk into a lift, I feel compelled to hum "The Girl from Ipanema".
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:13 PM on August 12, 2003


I find "Unclefucker" stuck in my head a lot...and I also find myself humming it and outright singing it, but I'm getting better at catching myself around the kids.

You're a boner-biting bastard unclefucker
You don't sleep or eat or mow the lawn
just fuck your uncle all day long

cut to fart chorus

anything from South Park for that matter.
posted by littlegirlblue at 8:14 PM on August 12, 2003


Jemmmmmm is truly outrageous, truly, truly truly outraaaaageous... who wears short shorts? we wear short shorts, Nair for short shorts... da da da girl from I!panema dada...
posted by headspace at 8:14 PM on August 12, 2003


This is the song
La la la la
Elmo's song...

La la la la
La la la la
I hate this song...
posted by MsVader at 8:27 PM on August 12, 2003


I had dinner with a group of people and we spoke of songs stuck in our heads. A guy at the table said --with confidence as if he read it in some scientific journal -- that if you have a song stuck in your head you should hum 'girl from ipanema' and the song stuck in your head will go away.

Works for me every time. However, I've heard side effects include getting 'girl from ipanema' stuck in your head.
posted by birdherder at 9:03 PM on August 12, 2003


At work today my tired brain decided that the lyrics of the Saved by the Bell theme song should be sung to the tune of "Taking Care of Business". That held me in it's thrall for six hours til krunk went and infected me with

... And if you use your head you'll always win
Just like the Edison Twins!
Na na na na na na na ....
posted by Tomatillo at 9:09 PM on August 12, 2003


La dee dah dee dah,
La dee dah dee dah,
What's the name of that song?

(also: 1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10, 11 12!!)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:33 PM on August 12, 2003


I use the "Conjunction, Junction" song from the Schoolhouse Rock series to get rid of all offending earworms...it even usurped the unfortunate Spice Girls tunes which were forced upon me by an old aerobics instructor.
posted by squasha at 9:51 PM on August 12, 2003


Heh. This reminds me of "South Park" when Cartman can't hear any part of "Come Sail Away" without having to sing the whole damn thing. "imsailingaway, setanopencourse, fortheVIRgin sea..."

For me, it's the Eels: "Two times I thought I heard someone/ knocking on the glass/ I hid my head and prayed that it would pass / A friendly ghost is all I need..."
posted by GaelFC at 10:40 PM on August 12, 2003


oh and for years any math test would evoke the three's company theme...I'd be trying to think of binomial expansion and just hear "come and knock on my door..."
posted by jann at 10:57 PM on August 12, 2003


I really dislike when two or more earworms decide to have a battle royale in my head. I had Madonna's "Vogue", the Gilligan theme, and Sweet Child o' Mine fighting it out during a recent door-fitting session. Every time I used a hammer, the song switched.

Why are y'all backing away from me like that?
posted by notsnot at 11:05 PM on August 12, 2003


I've always heard that the way to purge yourself of earworms is to give the song an overblown ending (think timpani drums and cannons). Works for me every time.
posted by ttrendel at 11:19 PM on August 12, 2003


My 2-year-old has just transferred obsessions from Barney the Dinosaur to The Wiggles.

Hoop-De-Doo Polka, anybody?


No but "Quack, quack, quack, cockadoodle do!"

Or Dora The Explorer: "We did it, we did it, we did it - yeah!"
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:49 AM on August 13, 2003


For some reason, the ice cream van in my area of Manchester plays, of all tunes, a bingly bongly version of "Strangers in the Night...."

First it made me chuckle. Now its hard wired in my brain. Not good.
posted by davehat at 1:19 AM on August 13, 2003


The best cure is to buy the CD and listen to it on repeat for a couple of days. Only problem with that is when you get a song by a local band stuck in your head just before you leave the country, and don't have a chance to buy it for six months...

I got a nice bi-ir-ird.
posted by rory at 1:31 AM on August 13, 2003


ROU_Xenophobe, that would be 'Gypsy Woman' by Crystal Waters, which is a 'true story'.
/info
Some people seem to have a musical internal dialogue which throws up 'appropriate' songs from the subconcious during waking hours. Kind of like a constant movie soundtrack running along inside your head.
Much more preferable to being stuck on one song at a time. That is, unless you blurt out NWA's classic 'Fuck Tha Police' whilst passing a meat wagon.
posted by asok at 2:41 AM on August 13, 2003


"Her name was Lola/She was a showgirl/With yellow feathers in her hair/And a dress cut down to there...."

Take that, you jive turkeys.

OABTW, the best Schoolhouse Rock of them all was the Preamble of the US Constitution set to music.
posted by alumshubby at 4:42 AM on August 13, 2003


I've been plagued with this syndrome since I was a kid. It's almost never a song I like, in fact it's usually just a tiny snippet of a song I don't like. Fortunately it only lasts a few days or weeks. Right now it's that horrible "Bandages" song by Hot Hot Heat. Sing it with me:

Bandages on my legs and my arms from you Bandages, Bandages, Bandages! (repeat 17,464 times).
posted by Devils Slide at 5:54 AM on August 13, 2003


Ouch, that bandages reference just started off the old jingle "I'm stuck on Band-aid cause Band-aid's stuck on me..." in my head!
posted by dabitch at 6:26 AM on August 13, 2003


Being the stepmother of a toddler, I too get lots of the annoying kiddie show tunes stuck in my head.

"We did it, we did it, we did it! Yay! Lo hicimos!" from Dora the Explorer
or even worse from Dora-- "I'm the map! I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map. I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map.
I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map. I'm the MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!"

The Max and Ruby theme which consists entirely of "Max and Ruby, Ruby and Max" repeated several times.

Elmo's song, and also a round from one of her Elmo DVD's, sung by cartoon turtles--
"Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow me
Wither shall I follow, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow thee?
To the redwood, to the redwood, to the redwood, redwood tree"

Fortunately I am quick enough with the remote to change the channel before she realizes the Wiggles are coming on-- I can't stand that show. And I have banned Barney from my house ever since my 14 year old was a baby.
posted by Shoeburyness at 6:56 AM on August 13, 2003


I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet.

The other 2% are deaf! ;)
posted by LinemanBear at 7:15 AM on August 13, 2003


Reading this thread with my headphones on, I am invoonerable!

Until my batteries inevitably run out ...
posted by walrus at 7:25 AM on August 13, 2003


the ice cream van in my area of Manchester plays, of all tunes, a bingly bongly version of "Strangers in the Night...."

where i grew up in new jersey, the ice cream truck would play a bingly bongly version of the theme to "love story".
posted by goddam at 7:59 AM on August 13, 2003


oh and for years any math test would evoke the three's company theme...I'd be trying to think of binomial expansion and just hear "come and knock on my door..."

I can't even get my name down on a math test before the cowbell from "Honky Tonk Women" starts rolling. . .

Apparently integrating gives me the Honky Tonk blues.
posted by squared at 8:09 AM on August 13, 2003


It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival

posted by NortonDC at 8:22 AM on August 13, 2003


Mosch, you know Wendell; now meet NortonDC.

By the way...

1) "And I-yee-I will always love you-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo..."

2) The opening, chattering bars to "Crocodile Rock"

3) "Eensy, Weensy, Spider"--you know, the one that climbed up the water spout. It's supposed to be a double entendre, not that I knew that in my childhood...
posted by datawrangler at 9:46 AM on August 13, 2003


Tunes only stick in my head when I don't know all of the words, so to exorcise them I have to learn the song.
My worst earworm is a Britney song - whoops, I did it again, I played with your heart... I don't listen to Ms Spears, you understand - the song infected me via Richard Thompson, of all people!
Have to say I like Tubthumping by Chumbawumba - saw them at a festival at the weekend and they did a damn good set. Tubthumping is the song that gets all the radio play though - everything else they do is either libellous or obscene. Pissing the night away....
posted by tabbycat at 11:01 AM on August 13, 2003


Damn it, alumshubby! The chair was smashed in two! There was blood and a single gunshot, but just who shot WHO? at the Copa...
posted by headspace at 12:06 PM on August 13, 2003


Using an online translation engine (we know about the accuracy rate, heh), I put in "uhrwurm," and it translated from German into English as "clock worm." Not to be turned aside, I tried "ear worm," and translated from English to German." The result? "Ohrendlosschraube." Then, I translated the word from German back into English. Boyoboy, this is a good way to describe the result of a stuck song:

"Ear continuous screw."

And for your further enjoyment:

"De doo doo doo, de dah dah dah
That's all I have to say to you."
posted by datawrangler at 6:46 PM on August 13, 2003


Sadly, the original Hampster Dance music is no longer used on that page. I think that was the net's first earworm to call it's own.
posted by NortonDC at 8:02 PM on August 13, 2003


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