I get earworms a lot. Fragments of songs, a chorus, sentence or even just one word, played over and over in my mind. For hours, days or sometimes even weeks. When they are from songs, they are called earworms. But sometimes they can be spontaneous words, sentences or phrases that I’ve heard or that have popped into my head randomly. In which case they are better called internal echolalia or internal palilalia. Internal because I don’t say them out loud if I can help it.
Mostly I have just one earworm in my head at a time. But today I have two competing earworms taking turns. There’s nothing I can do but wait them out.
So, what are these two songs going round and round and round in my head all day today? (Actually, I lie, they started yesterday…)
Exhibit A: the theme song from the History Channel show Vikings. Vikings is my very favourite show, I haven’t missed a single episode in all of its five years. Not just because it’s partly shot in Ireland, and more specifically the part of Ireland I did my undergrad thesis fieldwork. Not just because I know some of the extras who worked on it. But also because it showcases a lot of strong, fierce women. And contains a lot of sex and gore. And amazing costumes. And fantastic plots where even I can’t see the twists coming.
Anyway, I recently figured out the lyrics to the theme song so now it’s stuck in my head:
“More, give me more, give me more…
If I had a heart, I could love you.
If I had a voice, I’d sing.
After the night, when I wake up,
I’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Exhibit B: The lyrics of the song Enjoy Yourself. Specifically the first two lines of the chorus:
“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink.”
The Specials did a cover of this song. Which you can listen to here.
That song was a cover of this version by Prince Buster.
Both songs I’ve heard and enjoyed many times. But the version that’s stuck in my head is quite a different version, that has the same chorus but quite different verses. And that’s the version by Dorris Day. As you can see, while it’s got a pleasant uptempo beat, it’s actually quite a dark song.
And a reminder that life is short and I need to do less worrying and try to enjoy myself more.
Maybe that’s what earworms are? Messages from my subconscious?
Or maybe they’re just lyrics of songs I’ve heard recently, that get stuck in my brain for no reason. Who knows.