It crawled into my ear, honest

The Friar may be sticking his fingers in his ears about now:

Over at Today I Found Out, a writer explores some of the reasons that songs become earworms, and I imagine those same music folks have pored over these ideas to see what kind of combination of catchiness, repetition, hook and whatever else you can think of actually makes a song something that you can’t get out of your head.

The problem for them is that no two heads are alike (except maybe for Vice President Joe Biden and Peanut), so the triggers that will make a song stick in my head are not necessarily the triggers that will make one stick in your head. Even if the triggers are the same, the qualities that trip those triggers might not be. I may be an unreconstructed punk who will start bobbing my head and drumming out a rhythm on the armrest at “I Was Wrong” or “Bad Luck.” You may be a later music lover who has the same reaction to a Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga duet (in which case may the Lord and all of his angels help you before it’s too late). The point is that a record company that wants to find a formula for a hit can’t make a song that will cause both of us to click on iTunes and demand it take our money.

In my own defense, I do know my own weaknesses. I’m just … I mean, this is exhausting.


  1. Brett »

    6 August 2014 · 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the link, and the one you mention at the bottom is another one that gets stuck in my head despite my best efforts ;-)

  2. CGHill »

    6 August 2014 · 5:24 pm

    It’s not even her best song — that would be “Back to December” — but it commands your attention anyway.

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