The Persistence of Earworms

I am one of those individuals that is constantly inflicted with a terrible case of earworms. Songs will lodge themselves firmly in my brain, and get stuck there for prolonged periods of time, often looping one verse over and over again. I find this maddening, and wish that my grey matter would at least have the decency to at least plague me with multiple versus, rather than one verse again, and again, and again. Making matters worse is that I usually don’t really KNOW the song very well.


Not only am I insanely mumbling the same thing over and over again while I stand in line in the bank, I’m mumbling the WRONG thing. There is possibly nothing more humiliating than not realizing that you’re singing “Dora Dora Dora the Explorer! Boots is super cool, explor-a-lor-a! Grab your back pack! Let’s go! Jump in…” while fondling cucumbers at Safeway, until it’s too late.

Over time, I’ve noticed that I am generally earwormed for prolonged periods of time via the following vectors:

  • Car commercials on TV (“Good morning America, how are ya? Well don’t you know me…I’m your native son! I’m the car they call your CUTLAS SIERRA! I’ll have done 500 miles when the day is done.” )
  • Random songs in movie soundtracks (“So take….these broken wings…and learn to fly again! Learn to live so freeeeeee! And when we hear! The voices sing…“)
  • Church (“For you alone are the hooooooooleeeeeeee one! You alone are the LOOOOOOOOORD! You alone……are….the mmoooooooooooost high! Jesus Christ! With the hoooooooooooleeeeeeeeeee spirit…..”)
  • Unprovoked recall of songs played in band class in 1992  (french horn parts only) (“Da da da da da da da da da da! Da da da da da da da da! Da da da, da da da, da, da, da, da da, da da, da da da, da daaaaa.” )
  • The unholy instigation of the classic rock channel on the radio (“We are the sultans…we are the sultans of swing…” or “Little Willy Willy won’t, go home! But you can’t push Willy ’round, Willy won’t go!”)
  • Children’s cartoons/shows that are on in the background (“Me! And you! And Zaboomafooooo!” or “They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight, shunting trucks and hauling freight…” or “FiFi! And the flower tots! FiFi! Forget me not!”)

Songs that have been stuck in my head this week:

1 –  “Toucha Touch Me” – Rocky Horror Picture Show

I blame Glee for resurrecting my long forgotten love of all things Rocky Horror. Now I find myself scrubbing the toilet and squeeking in a (bad) falsetto “Toucha, toucha, touch meee! I want to be dirrrrty. Toucha, toucha, touch me! Creature of the night!” This has also been warped into a more relevant version “Toucha, toucha, touch me! I’m a fluffy doggie! Toucha, toucha, touch me! Pomeranians like to bite!”

2 – “Round and Round” – Frozen Ghost

I totally forgot this song existed until the 80’s/90’s rock channel dropped it on me when I was driving to the store to buy milk the other morning. Once it was heard, it could not be unheard. I’m not actually complaining, because it could be worse. However, I’ve only got a few words popping into my brain when I’m doing mundane things like loading dishwashers.

3 – “Last Kiss” – Pearl Jam

This hunk of junk has been driving me nuts for over a month. Once again, the instigator was the radio. I was driving through Tuxedo, killing time before a kid’s dental appointment, and there it was. I don’t like this song, I don’t like Pearl Jam, and I don’t appreciate it festering the way it has, taking up valuable market share space in my brain. Melancholy bullshit, this.

4 – “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” – Smashing Pumpkins

I have never been a Smashing Pumpkins fan, and while I enjoyed this song when it came out in the mid-90’s, I associate it with “my little brother’s music” or “shit we overplayed at the Hotsprings.” Worse, the ONLY part of this song that is stuck in my head is the first line “The world is a vampire!” All I hear, repeatedly is that line. Over and over again.

5 – “Time Warp” – Rocky Horror Picture Show, as preformed by the cast of Glee

Glee’s fault. I like their version better than the original, and it IS a really catchy show tune. My daughters love it, and the oldest one has most of the song memorized. She can ape the dance moves and sing the lyrics for the Magenta and Columbia parts, and is now asking me to sign her up for musical theatre. Oy. If  she grows up to be a theatre hag, I have nobody to blame but myself.


5 thoughts on “The Persistence of Earworms

  1. Tia, I want to thank you for not mentioning “the song”. You know the one… I dare not mention it, because it is made of evil.

    Rocky Horror Glee songs have been trapped in my mind since the episode came on. Science Fiction Double Feature and Dammit Janet have been the 2 main earworms for me.

    • I shall not breathe the name of The Song that we know to be evil in all of its ways. It never seems to get rotation on the radio station I listen to, and this is good.

      Natasha has Damn It Janet stuck in HER head. Poor tyke.

  2. What the–?! You’re not enamored with Pearl Jam or the Smashing Pumpkins? Where were women like you when I was single?

    The worst ear worm I get is “Lightning Strikes” by Lou Christie.

    Runner up is the chorus from “Bad Boys”, the theme from COPS. My mind blocks everything out but the bass line, and plays it overandoverandoverandoverandaaaaargh!!!!

    • Oh. My. God. You are so right. “Bad Boys” is horrible, horrible stuff. All I have to do is walk past the TV, and if COPS is on, it’s lodged in there for weeks on end. It ends up mutating into things like “Bad dog, bad dog, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do if you take a poo, bad dog?” and “Bad kid, bad kid. Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when you eat some glue, bad kid?” It’s the precursor to mental illness, I swear.

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