Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

01 April 2011

Five for Friday (times two!) ... Ear worms

The definition of an earworm comes from a translation of the German "ohrwurm", a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one's mind, put colloquially as "music being stuck in one's head."

It's such a fascinating phenomenon, authors have written about it for years. Take Arthur C. Clarke's 1956 short story "The Ultimate Melody" for example. In it, the protagonist, Gilbert Lister, develops a melody that intrigues the brain so completely that the listener becomes entranced by it. His theory is that a great melody impresses itself on the mind because it perfectly matches the brain's electrical impulses.

In 2007, marketing professor James J. Kellaris PhD, of the University of Cincinnati conducted a study about the top ten earworms. It boggles the mind how some people manage to justify their paycheque ... but the results are interesting:

1. Other. Everyone has his or her own worst earworm.
2. Chili's "Baby Back Ribs" jingle.
3. "Who Let the Dogs Out"
4. "We Will Rock You"
5. Kit-Kat candy-bar jingle ("Gimme a Break ...")
6. "Mission Impossible" theme
7. "YMCA"
8. "Whoomp, There It Is"
9. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
10. "It's a Small World After All"

I don't even KNOW some of those songs and NONE of my most persistent nuisance-tunes are on the list, so I guess I fit in with number one. The obsessive musical thoughts that frequently plague my mind are:

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Fortunately for me, not all of them are "claw-your-eardrums" annoying. In fact, some of them can be quite pleasant accompaniment to my day. I know there are only supposed to be FIVE, but try telling my subconscious that and see where you get. I was lucky to pare it down to ten! So, since I didn't get here to post last Friday, I'm taking both week's five together.

So ... what is your most persistent "tune wedgy"?


Jamie said...

At one time or another I've been stuck on most of those, Coconut is lethal. You could lose whole days to that song. Guess I fall into the other category as well.

Coco said...

Jamie: Oh I know about Coconut. When I made the playlist, I had it stuck in my ears for days afterwards! And it still keeps recurring now every few hours.

Julia Smith said...

LOL! 'I Like to Move It' is perfect! LOL!

I'm rather obsessive in my music listening habits, so I get songs stuck in my head, but they're songs that I like. It's how I stay happy and amused.

Can't think of a song I don't like that gets stuck. I generally railroad it out of there if it happens. For example, if 'Come On Eileen' dares to enter, that gets crushed pretty fast.

Linda said...

Oh great, now I'm going to have "Mahna, Mahna" stuck in my head for the rest of the day! Thanks! :-)

I definitely fall into the "other" category myself depending on what my "theme for the day" ends up being. For example, today's earworm would be a song from the TV show Glee - "Get It Right". It's been eating at my eardrums since last night but surprisingly I didn't use it for my Five on Friday set. Maybe next week??

Linda said...

Srsly? Did Blogger just eat the comment I wrote?

Mike Golch said...

currently I have a donovan tune running in my head that I can't get rid of."Wear your love..."

Travis Cody said...

I haven't heard Slade in forever. I remember Run Runaway almost always lifted my mood.

My most persistent earworm is the Wicked Witch theme from Wizard of Oz. I guess that puts me in the "other" category.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Yup those are earworms indeed