You’ve had them, but you probably didn’t know what to call them. It’s the phenomenon of getting a song stuck inside your head, then have it repeat itself incessantly. Marketers strive to give you one with every jingle they use. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be a song that you hate. Scientists say that they are not dangerous, that they seem to be something that our brains do when they are idling. Women, musicians and tired folk are the most susceptible to earworms.
Being in the combo category of tired woman, mine started after I watched Sam Smith perform on the Jimmy Fallon show. Strange to say, my earworm wasn’t the song he sang on the show. It consisted of the chorus from "Stay With Me," which even invaded my dreams during the night. Perhaps it was because I had learned that the chorus wasn’t performed by a gospel choir, but was actually forty takes of Sam singing it himself. Guess it was firmly stuck in one of my brain wrinkles.
I saw him profiled on CBS’s Sunday Morning show, wearing blue suede shoes and large silver cross earrings. Sam reminded me of Boy George without the hat, dreadlocks or makeup. When he was serenaded by the kids from his grammar school, he smiled and nearly blushed. Sam said that Stay With Me was inspired unrequited love. It was written about a married man who was not aware of Sam’s crush on him.
In an online article, he explained that “I've tried to be clever with this album, because it's also important to me that my music reaches everybody. I've made my music so that it could be about anything and everybody—whether it's a guy, a female or a goat—and everybody can relate to that. I'm not in this industry to talk about my personal life unless it's in a musical form."
Looks like he’s doing a good job of it. Now, as much as I like the song, I needed to turn my attention to curing my earworm problem. I found half a dozen suggestions from the University of Cincinnati.
First, sing or play another melody on an instrument. Second, switch to an activity that keeps you busy, such as working out. Third, listen to the song all the way through. Fourth, picture the earworm as a real creature crawling out of your head, and imagine stomping on it. Fifth, share the song with a friend. Or lastly, turn on the radio or a CD to get your brain tuned in to another song.
They gave no statistics on which option worked best, I opted for the radio cure. As I checked out the Coffee Break Quiz on Facebook. Now, I can thank Rick for being a jazzy brain surgeon! Funny thing is, now there’s a radio station call letter jingle running in side my head instead. Wonder how he did that?
~Lydia Barnes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our Smooth Video of the Day: A song about earworms?