Skip

Don't Worry. I Will Survive. I'm Just Singin' In The Rain.
May 27, 2010 12:17 PM   Subscribe

What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips.

A French-language radio interview on the study with BRAMS Professor Sylvie Hébert.

The Definitive Guide to Earworms

Once you're done playing the clips, here are some helpful AskMetaFilter questions that might just solve your new earworm problem. ;)
posted by zarq (58 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jokes aside, I did think this was a fascinating finding:
In the laboratory, McNally-Gagnon and her thesis director Sylvie Hébert, professor at the University of Montreal School of Speech Therapy and Audiology and a member of the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), asked 18 musicians and 18 non-musicians to hum and record their obsessive songs and note their emotional state before and after. The researchers found earworm infections last longer with musicians than with non-musicians.

The phenomenon occurs when subjects are usually in a positive emotional state and keeping busy with non-intellectual activities such as walking, which requires little concentration. "Perhaps the phenomenon occurs to prevent brooding or to change moods," says Hébert.

posted by zarq at 12:18 PM on May 27, 2010


I found Ca Fait Rire les Oiseaux for the first time about six years ago I think, and it STILL gets stuck in my head (despite it no longer being a part of my mp3 rotation). I don't even speak French!
posted by Gordafarin at 12:25 PM on May 27, 2010


OK, I am pleased to see Inspector Gadget but personally lament the lack of 'Come on, Eileen.'
posted by umberto at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is tangentially related to one of my favorite things ever, which is hearing non-native-speaking and/or heavily accented people attempt to sing songs in English. It's really funny. It also gets stuck in your head for a long long time.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2010


This is the worst song ever written and recorded. It's like an musical speedball, where the plutonium-level of catchyness is somehow magified by the mind-melting stupidity of its lyrics. This is a song that could destroy nations.

TRY TO GET IT OUT OF YOUR HEAD, JUST TRY!!!
posted by Afroblanco at 12:26 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


All I can think of is how I'd like to be Fred.....
posted by umberto at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2010


Jokes aside, I did think this was a fascinating finding: ... The researchers found earworm infections last longer with musicians than with non-musicians.

As a musician, I'm not surprised by this. I have more ability than most people to analyze exactly what's going on with a given melody + chords, so it's easier to keep it in mind. For instance, I'm sure many people, musicians and nonmusicians, will start hearing "Come on, Eileen" in their heads as a result of the above comment that mentions it, but I (along with other people who know music theory) am more likely to think of the chord progression in the chorus as "I - V - ii - IV - V" (and same with the melody, etc.). When you can put specific names on things, you'll tend to remember them more clearly, right?
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:39 PM on May 27, 2010


It amuses me to see that Francophones are tormented by the chorus of Lady Marmalade - not only as chat-up line by English speakers trying to show off their limited French - but also as an ear worm in its own right.
posted by rongorongo at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2010


By mennen. By mennen. BymennenBymennenBymennenBymennen. This is supposed to help according to a guy at my job. Just keep saying it.
posted by mokeydraws at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Give me back that Filet O' Fish, give me that fiiiiiiish....
posted by briank at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


No Tom's Diner?
posted by JaredSeth at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2010


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cqa0pJSsz8

Because I hate the world and all of God's creatures.
posted by tigrefacile at 12:53 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The '80s were an especially fertile decade for pop-music earworms. Wonder why?
posted by gottabefunky at 12:56 PM on May 27, 2010


Live Is Life

*buries face in hands*

Jesus Christ, I haven't thought about that song for at least a decade. And now I will spend the next decade not being able to think about anything else.
posted by Skot at 12:57 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Clearly this list can not be correct because the top 3 are not:

Cars - Gary Neuman
Gloria - Them
Wooly Bully - Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
posted by Aznable at 1:00 PM on May 27, 2010


> By mennen. By mennen. BymennenBymennenBymennenBymennen. This is supposed to help according to a guy at my job. Just keep saying it.

That's kind of like the self-defense mechanism I use when I become aware of my tongue. It used to keep me up at night until I came up with the idea of trying to become "aware" of my eyes, nose, teeth, hair...all of it at the same time. When my mind tries to focus on all of them it can't focus on any of them. Works like a charm.

> This is the worst song ever written and recorded.

Sadly, good songs can turn into earworms, too. There are a few I had to consciously avoid listening to ("Northwest Passage" by Woody Herman - formerly a personal favourite - being one of them) because they'd burrowed into my head and were driving me insane.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:04 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reading this thread is awesome because every song I read about gets stuck in my head and I think "Oh, shit! Now that'll be stuck in my head for a long time" but then I read about another song and I forget the first one because the new one is stuck in my head.

Cos-tan-za.
posted by bondcliff at 1:07 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Don't Worry, Be Happy" in particular drives me bats.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 1:09 PM on May 27, 2010


Curse you, mokeydraws. Now I have "By Mennen" stuck in my head!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cool list, but honestly, they couldn't link the original version of "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle? They instead had to go and link the Lady Gaga version.

At some point, this shit has to stop.


/NOT GAGA-IST
posted by darkstar at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2010


I prefer the Laibach version of Life Is Life instead. Less an earworm, more an ear rabid dog attack.
posted by davejay at 1:19 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


My wife used to torture me by humming the first few notes of the theme to The A-Team. Old-school BSG theme works too.
posted by The Tensor at 1:22 PM on May 27, 2010


I prefer the Laibach version of Life Is Life instead. Less an earworm, more an ear rabid dog attack.

ZOMG, that cover's just...arch. Very, very arch.

It makes me want to rise up for the proletariat, or something.
posted by darkstar at 1:23 PM on May 27, 2010


I'm surprised Copacabana didn't make the list. It's so pernicious that for some people you just have to say "Copacabana", and the Barry Manilow demon that lives in their head awakens to do the rest.
posted by ardgedee at 1:34 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


My trick for defeating earworms is to finish the song -- a catchy beat and repetitive tune can go on and on and on, but once it's finished, the song is over. So, I try to wrap it up like a song shortened for American Idol's time limit. "Don't.... worrry... beeeeeeeee..... HAPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!*Kettle drum flourish, short silence, applause*
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:43 PM on May 27, 2010


I am NOT visiting any of those sites!!!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:49 PM on May 27, 2010


18 musicians and 18 non-musicians

Was this some collaboration between Steven Reich and Brian Eno that I missed?
posted by Herodios at 3:28 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have had a 20 second loop from Hotel California stuck in my head for the past several years.

Please shoot me, somebody. Please.
posted by item at 3:29 PM on May 27, 2010


No thread containing both earworms and Laibach is complete without mentioning Final Countdown.
posted by Slothrup at 3:35 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


...and hey, what do you know! it was on the list.
posted by Slothrup at 3:36 PM on May 27, 2010


I thought Yellow Submarine was the definitive way to get rid of earworms. Works for me, anyway.
posted by davejay at 3:59 PM on May 27, 2010


I would argue that Final Countdown's hook is so definitive that even Laibach couldn't pull all the happy out of it.
posted by davejay at 4:00 PM on May 27, 2010


Tenser, said the Tensor,
Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 4:14 PM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


1) The Pink Panther cartoon theme song and all of its iterations and 2) The Imperial March and all of its iterations. Both work so well in so many situations that they are constantly popping into my head.
posted by wherever, whatever at 4:37 PM on May 27, 2010


The Chicken Dance?
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:42 PM on May 27, 2010


I apologize if this is considered self linking, but my AskMe thread is chock full of earworms.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:43 PM on May 27, 2010


During a performance of Romeo and Juliet I was in once, in the dressing room, somehow someone started yelling out "Villa Allegre" to which we all resonded "La La La La La La
La La La La La La La ". This went on for the entire set of performances.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:48 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn all these beautiful girls, they only wanna do you DURR...

That, and Stand By Me by association, get locked in there for whole months.
posted by doublehappy at 5:08 PM on May 27, 2010


The top 25 must depend on what songs were most popular over the years where those questioned live. As BRAMS is located at Université de Montréal, the respondents may have been locals.

For example, in 1975 Lady Marmelade was a big hit for Nanette Workman, a Franco-American very popular in Québec. She sang it in French.
posted by MelanieL at 5:18 PM on May 27, 2010


NANA NANANANANA NANANA KA TA MA RI DA MA CY
posted by Rhaomi at 5:55 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Her name was Lola she was a showgirl

CURSE YOU, ARDGEDEE
posted by theora55 at 6:03 PM on May 27, 2010




'nother "Copa" sufferer here.

At the Copa, Copacabana.....
posted by mygoditsbob at 6:44 PM on May 27, 2010


My earworm killer? "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make..." Sing it once, it clears your head; TRY to sing it again, it just feels wrong.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:21 PM on May 27, 2010




An interesting subset of earworm is the expanding module - i.e., any song from The Sound of Music is a trigger for all the others. Try it! Climb Every Mountain ... no, wait! I am Sixteen, Going on Seven ... um, wait ... high on a hill, stood a lonely goatherd (repeat, ad infinitum)
posted by yhbc at 8:10 PM on May 27, 2010


French earworm list without Ca Plan Pour Moi?!
posted by telstar at 9:11 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but all of these examples pale in comparison to the nuclear level earworm that is Schnappi.

(you have been warned, do not click link!)
posted by puny human at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amateur earworms, all of them. This is the master.
posted by ZaphodB at 10:22 PM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Okay, so now I'm schmitten mit Schnappi.
posted by darkstar at 11:26 PM on May 27, 2010


Tenser, said the Tensor,
Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun.


I know, right?
posted by The Tensor at 12:39 AM on May 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


OK, I am pleased to see Inspector Gadget but personally lament the lack of 'Come on, Eileen.'

Ever since someone told me that song could be considered the original bukkake anthem, I've not been able to disassociate the two.
posted by norm at 6:31 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


cerulgalactus: Here's another one.
posted by blucevalo at 7:41 AM on May 28, 2010


Ever since someone told me that song could be considered the original bukkake anthem, I've not been able to disassociate the two.

THANK YOU FOR RUINING THAT SONG FOR ME FOREVER.
posted by zarq at 7:44 AM on May 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Misery loves company?
posted by norm at 8:38 AM on May 28, 2010




Another amazing thing is the tenacious staying power of some of these earworms. I haven't seen this commercial since I was a kid in the '70s, but I still find myself humming it some 30 years later.
posted by puny human at 5:34 PM on May 28, 2010


Schnie, schna, Schnappi,
Schnappi Schnappi Schnapp!
Schnie, schna, Schnappi,
Schnappi Schnappi Schnapp!


Oh, GOD!!!
posted by darkstar at 6:10 PM on May 28, 2010


« Older Play 'til it helps?   |   Rosa Lee's Story Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post