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Diatribe: Earworms – Good And Bad And You Can’t Get Rid Of Them.

01/28/2012

I listen to the radio in my car every morning as I drive to my office.  My morning show of choice includes traffic, news, silly contests, celebrity gossip and the occasional Top 40 song.  Unfortunately, it seems that when they actually play music it’s one of only six songs … over and over again … day after day.  There is always one song in the rotation that I don’t like and, without fail, it will be the last thing that I hear as I pull into the parking garage.  And it’s always an “earworm”.

An earworm is a song with an “addictive element” … a hook, melody or lyric … that draws people into listening multiple times.  There are “good” earworms and “bad” earworms.  The good one are songs that you actually like.  You enjoy hearing them repeated in your mind and actually sing along to yourself on occasion because it makes you happy.  Here’s an example of a “good” earworm, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” …

The bad earworms are the ones that drive you crazy.  They’re usually silly songs that are repetitively annoying (think “Macarena” or “Mmmm-Bop”), simple and just plain grating ont he nerves.  Here’s an example of a “bad” earworm, Robin Sparkles’ “Lets Go To The Mall” (from How I Met Your Mother).

They say that the best way to get rid of an earworm is to replace it with another.  I find this to be true every time.

What earworm sticks in your head the most often?

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14 Comments
  1. anne marie in philly permalink

    you light up my life – debby boone

    POS earworm

  2. Copacabana. Both a blessing and a curse to my ears.

  3. wcdameron permalink

    Well, NOW, it’s “Let’s go to the Mall” Thanks……

  4. Celine Dion singing ANYTHING makes me wanna drive into a ditch.
    Bad earworm! Bad!!
    Which is why I generally play my own music.

  5. Somewhere with you- Kenny Chesney

  6. Ha ha! I would have to say something like Benny and the Jets. Enough already!

  7. I love Robin Sparkles though….my latest is that Rihanna song about love in a hopeless place over and over again…

  8. Your first commenter mentioned mine — “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone. I once had an office mate who had a disk filled with only songs I most hated. She would put it on and then leave the office, leaving me to listen to that song along with “I never promised you a rose garden.” I was so annoyed that I had to hold my tongue because I would have said something nasty (to an otherwise wonderful office mate). Finally, I had to say something, and I DID manage to be nice. But it took me a few days, during which it was HELL.

    Thanks for linking back from my piece!

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