Let me get this out in the open: I work in a dangerous place.Â No, I don’t work with nuclear materials, nor do I work at a restaurant where I train as a competitive eater on the side.Â Rather, I work in a place where earworm attacks happen, and, as of late, are happening more frequently.Â You see, I work at an Adult Contemporary radio station where some of the songs have an effect that I can’t seem to shake.Â Yes, some songs get trapped in my head and the lyrics, melody, and various hooks weave themselves into my cerebral cortex like those creatures did to Chekov and Captain Terrell in Star Trek II. Or as Khan so eloquently said about the worms of Ceti Alpha Five (but could easily been talking about the songs featured here):Â “You see, their young enter through the ears and wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex. This has the effect of rendering the victim extremely susceptible to suggestion.Â Later, as they grow, follows madness — and death.”
Oh, little earworm, how you have tortured me!Â And now, dear readers, I pass along the love.
“The Longest Time,” Billy Joel (download)
What is it about this song that I can’t get out of my head? The chorus has been repeating over and over and over and over in my mind for almost a week now. And, truth be told, it’s really one part of the chorus my head just freakishly focuses on.Â Wanna know what it is?Â Okay, it’s when “time” is sung and one of the vocalists pitches his voice up a few octaves. (Those vocalists are actually all Joel. –Ed.)
“Hello Again,” Neil Diamond (download)
Sometimes when I hear someone say “Hello” on the phone, I’m this close to blurting out “Hello, again, hello. Just called to say hello.Â It’s good to hear you voice…”Â What does that say about how deep this earworm has burrowed into my gray matter?
“Love Story,” Taylor Swift (download)
Oh. My. God. Can I count the ways I loathe this song? It’s not that it’s a bad song, mind you.Â Okay, maybe it is, but there’s something about the way Taylor sings “Romeo” that is pushing me to the edge of madness. And the chorus has so many words stuffed in there that I think she’s trying to say something substantive — but really it’s just diary confessional crap.
“We Will Rock You,” Queen (download)
This can be a good earworm, but the “Boom, boom, crack” beat of the drums quickly takes over my mind in evil ways.Â You want examples?Â Okay, how ‘bout when I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone I want to talk to, and then “Boom, boom, crack.”Â Or how ‘bout when I’m working diligently on a project and then … “Boom, boom, crack.”Â Or when I’m just trying to read a frickin’ book and suddenly:Â “Boom, boom, crack!”Â Evil, I tell you! EVIL!
“Just Dance,” Lady GaGa (download)
At the beginning of the year, I was putting together a Mix Six that was a vertical tasting of years that ended in the number nine.Â When I got to 2009, I found an article about “The next big thing.”Â Lady Gaga was featured, but so was Gary Go.Â I cast my lot with Gary Go, but I knew Lady Gaga was going to be the “It girl.”Â With her nasally/auto-tune delivery in the chorus, it was only a matter of time that this little ditty about a dancing Gaga would find a way into my head — and wouldn’t come out.
“Good Vibrations,” Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (download)
Oh, Marky Mark … how I wish you took my advice and added the following nursery rhyme to the rap portion of this song:
Buckle my shoe;
Knock at the door;
Pick up sticks;
Lay them straight:
A big fat hen!
It totally works, and it’s my only countermeasure to getting this earworm out of my head.