Music in My Head


Do you ever notice yourself humming or singing along to a song in your head? It happens to me all the time! I recently discovered there is an actual term for this, called: Earworm. According to Wikipedia,

An earworm is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind after it is no longer playing.

We can apparently thank our friends in Germany, as the word earworm is a borrowed from the German: Ohrwurm (also known as an earwig). That sounds unpleasant. I don’t like the idea of something squirming around in my ear.

There have been other phrases used to describe it, including:

  • Musical Imagery Repetition
  • Involuntary Musical Imagery
  • Stuck Song Syndrome

I guess those were too long to say when you wanted to tell someone you had a song stuck in your head. Maybe they could have used an acronym? Advertisers and social media always seem to be trying to find short and catchy terms that are easier for us to remember.

MIR (Musical Imagery Repetition) and SSS (Stuck Song Syndrome) don’t really roll off the tongue, but IMI (Involuntary Musical Imagery) doesn’t sound too bad! “I’ve had this IMI all day and it’s driving bonkers!” No? Well, at least it doesn’t bring about images of creepy, crawly insects burrowing into my ear!

Anyway, for the past few days I’ve had the song Soul City stuck in my head. It seems to show up first thing in the morning while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil for my tea. Then it just goes away as quickly as it popped in. I am not sure why, because until I looked it up today I didn’t even know who sang this song (a Canadian rock band/duo The Partland Brothers in case you’re wondering). I don’t have any particular fond (or otherwise) memories associated to this song. It’s apparently been around since 1986, but based on the number of Youtube views it isn’t especially popular.

Maybe I just have some underlying desire to get out and explore… In the first verse of the song, the line about “life outside your window” really strikes a chord with me:

Boy, you’re looking great.
Yeah, you got what it takes alright.
There’s life outside your window, babe.
Step into the moonlight

However, it the refrain that keeps circling around:

Soul City. that’s where were heading.
Dancing and singing til dawn
Soul City. that’s where were going.
And we wont be back til the moneys all gone.

Partland Brothers – Soul City, Lyrics
(© EMI Music Publishing)

Perhaps adventure and excitement are beckoning me! Singing, dancing, fun… or maybe it’s just a song I heard on the radio and it means absolutely nothing.

Either way, why not take a peek at the video and enjoy some 80’s era music. Hopefully it won’t get stuck in your head…

Have you had any particular song stuck in your head lately?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Silver Price says:

    Right now my brain keeps replaying Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. Just the chorus over and over. And I keep seeing Kick-Ass and Red Mist dancing to it in the Mistmobile, too. It’s cool, because I really like the song, and that scene is funny. Sometimes I get songs I don’t like stuck in my head (like The Song That Never Ends from Lamb Chop–sorry, guys). I can generally just listen to something else and get that stuck instead, though. I’m very musically-inclined, and played sax in various bands for the better part of a decade. So, when my brain is playing a song, I “hear” the entire thing. Lyrics, melody, instrumentals. It’s hard for me to imagine remembering a song any other way.

    1. TinaChase says:

      Hi Silver, thanks for stopping by and sharing about the music that replays in your brain. I always find it interesting how certain images or memories will pop into my head when a particular song comes on (like your vision from Kick-Ass you mentioned). For some reason, music and memories have a very strong link. I am not sure if it’s the same way for everyone…

      I know it’s similar for smells/scents and even tastes related to memory recollection as well. Think of all the senses that bring back memories of your childhood… 🙂

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