Monday, December 22, 2014

How To Get Rid of an Earworm

Legend has it there's a song out there that will cause the listener to commit suicide. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I listened to the song. (I know.)

It's called Gloomy Sunday, originally written in Hungarian by Rezső Seress in 1933. The idea that a song can be so emotionally gripping that someone would actually end their life because of listening to it really got my imagination going. I read about it, listened to many versions of it (because if so many people are still recording it, surely not everyone killed themselves) and found it so, so beautiful.

Here's what happened as a result of that little science experiment: I got a fucking earworm. What's the one song you never, ever want stuck in your head? The one that might kill you through repeated listens. After the third straight day of having it stuck, I thought, maybe this is how it kills you: it gets in and doesn't leave and you have to shoot yourself.

This hasn't happened severely since then. Sure, I get a song stuck in my head, but mostly it's something I like and it disappears after a few minutes.

Saturday, I went to a Christmas party and someone played Prince's Kiss a few times -- a song I generally dislike. Well, everyone at the party went nuts singing and dancing and in basic agreement that a prissy little man is sexually attractive to women.

Like we yanked the bathroom door open without knocking.
For the next 2 days (up until this very minute), I've had that song constantly playing in my head. It's making me irritable and stabby.

So how do I get rid of it? After looking up several solutions online, these are the best ideas anyone has:
  • Do an activity that works out the brain, like a puzzle/teaser, or reading an engrossing novel. Nothing too taxing, nothing too easy.
  • Listen to the offending piece all the way through so that the song finds a natural ending.
  • Listen to a different, equally catchy song.
If those solutions don't work you can shoot yourself and the song will be gone forever.

Unless that's what Hell is. Maybe don't risk it.
I tried suggestions 1 and 3 with limited success. Because the song Kiss is like nails down a chalkboard, I was reluctant to call it up online and have yet another listen. Desperate times...

Here's what I found on YouTube:


Maybe I'm still a 90's teenager at heart, but I like this song, and thought my prayers were answered that I didn't have to listen to Prince. I shut my eyes and played this video a few times thinking that's where the madness ended. 15 minutes later, though, Kiss was back. I even listened to Gloomy Sunday a few times, because even if it got stuck again, at least I find that song beautiful.

Actually, listen to this tiny girl sing it. It'll make you cry.


Now at least I've listened to enough music all day trying to shove out that damn earworm that maybe it'll perish sometime tonight.

Please add your favorite earworm-killing tactics in the comments section. 

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