30 May 2015


I had to laugh when I saw this cartoon in The New Yorker, because a few days ago while in a store I was subjected to the heinous "We Built This City." Often when I'm in stores I don't notice the music, or at least it doesn't register in my consciousness, but that has a lot to do with the volume at which it's being played. In this instance it was louder than it ought to have been, which meant I was hearing it inside my head later that evening.

Frequently songs, even ones such as this one that I loathe, can get stuck in my brain for days if I hear only a few bars. Sometimes it's fun, like having an iPod set on shuffle in my head; other times, not so much. There have been instances where the mere mention of the title of a song, without hearing any of the actual song being played, was enough to induce an earworm.

I read an article recently about a study that suggested chewing gum can help dislodge an earworm from one's brain, because the repetitive muscle movement required to chew gum somehow interferes with the part of the brain where songs get stuck, or something like that. I haven't tried that yet on myself, because typically I don't have the same song stuck in my head for more than a couple of days before it gets replaced by something else, voluntarily or not. This week, I noticed that a couple of days after the original infestation, "WBTC" had been replaced by the opening-credits theme music from House of Cards, shortly after we had watched a couple of episodes.

[Tangentially: I seem to remember Spin magazine crowning "WBTC" as the worst song ever, or at least the worst song of the rock era. I always agreed with that ranking, but I think if someone attempted to compile an updated version of that list, last year's "All About That Bass" would be a strong contender for the number one spot.]

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