Can't Get You Out of my Mind

We here at Power Chord TV hope these articles add to your appreciation of music, in all its variety. Sometimes a topic pops up and demands to be written, sometimes the topic is more elusive. This week it’s my turn and I sit and wait for inspiration. Maybe I’ve drank too much and my brain is slow… nope, I’m just empty for a topic I find interesting enough to write about (and hope that you will find interesting as well). I’ve had this difficulty my entire life. I’ll get an idea and then lose it… then get side tracked as my mind wanders away… then soon enough the hours have also.

Today the mind wandering started with a Christmas song. As it is the holiday season Christmas music is everywhere. Did you know there are less than 30 of the traditional Christmas songs? The problem is that you may hear 6 versions of the same song in a given day. The song that dominated all others for me today was Andy Williams singing Happy Holidays… you’ve all heard it and I won’t quote it in this piece. I can’t stand the song, I really have no reason for this. He sings with heart and feels his way through the good chant-ings. I just can’t stand it, and it’s become one of those songs that will pop into my mind and won’t leave for months… doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or not… it’s my earworm and I will wager that since you read the words “Happy Holidays” it is now your earworm too.

I find it weird that my head (at least the subconscious) has its own stand-by music. It’s created its own playlist. It’s as if the rest of me (my conscious mind mostly) isn’t even involved. I’m like two separate beings… and I’ll have conversations with myself about this. Again, I’m like two people discussing what each other is doing to the human body we share. I’m long into this habit so I don’t try to stop it at all anymore, I just fight with myself like Steve Martin & Lily Tomlin sharing the same body in the movie All Of Me… YES, PEOPLE STARE! Uncle Sigmund would have a heyday. But this isn’t the focus of my writing today.

But why that song? Why any song? Let’s talk about earworms. In 2012 researchers in Finland did a study on how songs get stuck in our heads.

They concluded that a song has to be simple. That makes sense, how many of us truly grasp a Mozart concerto, when Y.M.C.A. is so catchy? They found that it seems to happen to the population at least once a week and the more musical a person is the more frequently this phenomenon happens. I’m not sure I agree with this, it happens to me several times a day… maybe I’m just overly musical!

The study went on to say that earworms seem to have a repetitious melodic notation… meaning that the melody is simple and repetitive, and Christmas songs definitely fit that mold. I agree with this, and they say it’s also mood sensitive, again this is true. I have a friend who fell in love with metal music, and it’s all he listens too. He has absolutely no desire to venture out of the genre he likes. I used to try to turn him on to new kinds of music, but no dice, he wouldn’t even listen to it at all! It’s been years and I still can’t wrap my head around it, he is just happy staying in his own musical lane. I get it, that’s one of our basic beliefs here at Power Chord, we like what we like and don’t demand otherwise, we are all different.

Earworms seem to come when you are doing something that is routine, like jogging or doing the dishes. You are doing a chore, but don’t need much brain function… this seems to open up your musical susceptibilities. Somebody will say a combination of words that remind you of a song and off it goes! These scientists also found that the harder you try to get rid of an earworm the more it stays with you. They cite two reasons for this:

  1. Simple melodies stay in your head. Now, if I say “Hey Macarena!” is that song now occupying your mind?

  2. Each time you try to rid the brain of a thought, you actually refresh your brain to keep thinking it. Great, now it’s not Andy Williams but Los Del Rio that’s invaded!

This means you’re stuck, stuck with whatever song has become your earworm. At least until the next one comes along to take its place. “I Fell in to a Burning Ring of Fire”, come on Johnny, work your magic.

So why do I write this today? One of the executives at PCTV said, “We need more articles”, and it’s all hands on deck! And Andy Williams has answered the call as I try to find a suitable topic. What song gets stuck in your head and won’t leave?

Happy Holidays! Gotcha again!

#earworms #christmassongs #cher