An Earworm

earwormI discovered today that the charming German word Ohrwurm – a tune you just can’t get out of your head and you find yourself humming despite yourself – is making its way into the English language as earworm.

I have an earworm today, and it’s The Girl from Ipanema. I found myself humming it, not having heard it on the radio before, and I asked myself: why this song? (Often with earworms, there is something in the lyrics that makes my subconscious dig it up.) Today, these are the reasons.

  • The sun was shining. I can’t emphasize this enough. The last few days were so grey and dreary, this was just delightful.
  • I had just spent a lovely afternoon with my mother, shopping. Mostly window-shopping, as it proved, so I hadn’t even spent much.
  • I wore a nice outfit. Nothing new, just something I feel good, and well-dressed, in.

So I felt great. I don’t think I turned any heads, but there was a spring in my steps. YouTube Preview Image

How do you get earworms? Do the lyrics play any role for you? What are some recent titles you couldn’t get out of your head?

- Rike Horstmann

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6 Responses to “An Earworm”

  1. Sandra says:

    Unfortunately, I am cursed with earwormitis on the last song I heard. It could be really bad elevator music or the last song on the radio. My son is a Music Major in college, and he always laughs when he hears me humming one of the pieces he has just been practicing!

  2. JulieR says:

    A bunch of us were talking about this just last night. Most commonly mentioned songs that get stuck in people’s heads are those from Disneyland: “It’s a Small World”, the “Yo-ho, Yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me” song from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, etc.

    I think it’s definitely related to lyrics. I read somewhere that songs get stuck in your head when they have no easily discernible ending or when there’s an easily repeatable bunch of lyrics that keep cycling. The solution is to hum/sing a song that has a very definite ending (I use the theme from the TV show Gilligan’s Island) and when you’re done, you’re done! It works for me.

  3. I get them all the time. All the freakin’ time. It can be anything, from a song I heard in a commercial to something in a movie or a CD I haven’t heard in ages. It can be anything from a classical piece to a 1980s pop song to a silly song like David’s Dinghy. My latest one has been the “Hello Zepp” theme from Saw, of all things. Luckily I’m not about to start humming it in public. ;) (BTW it’s a suprisingly beautiful and dramatic song, written by a former member of Nine Inch Nails.)

  4. Oh, I get them all the time. For weeks and weeks, mine has been “My Life Would Suck Without You” after the last show of the fall for Glee. I’m just not sure I could stand having The Girl from Ipanema going around and around in my head. :))

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