Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Earworm Meme

Yesterday Debra posted this question: "What are your top ten all time favourite songs and by whom?" and then listed her answers. I liked the idea of doing this and I gave it some thought, but there is just absolutely No WAY. I'd be doing well to manage to list my top 50 songs, never mind my top ten. But then item number one on Debra's list made me think of another possible list. She said: "Sultans of Swing. It's my strongest earworm. Even thinking of the song sets it playing in my head for weeks. (oh, damn!! there it goes again)." Aaahhh....earworms. Now there's a subject near and dear to my heart. (Although I always tend to want to say earwigs, which would be a different problem entirely!) On the off-chance that anyone out there doesn't know what an earworm is, it's a song that gets stuck in your head, for hours, days, or weeks, and you find yourself thinking about it, humming it, whistling it, or singing it without consciously meaning to, even if you're so tired of the sound of it that you could just SCREAM!!! I'm never without an earworm. NEVER. I live my life with a never-ending sound track in my head. I don't know how old I was when I realized that not everyone hears music in their head all the time. That must be so nice and quiet! I sing a lot, often without even realizing I'm doing it. I whistle a lot too. A former co-worker once told me that working with me was a little like living in a musical because there was never any telling what would remind me of a song and off I'd go, singing about it, and sometimes even dancing. (I asked if that was a Good Thing or a Bad Thing and she said "it depends". Heh.) But even when I'm not singing or whistling the song of the moment aloud, I'm THINKING it. So, thought I, maybe I could come up with a list of my top 10 earworms! Not necessarily my favorite songs, but the ones that are most likely to get stuck in my head and come out of my mouth, whether I want them to or not. I believe you will quickly notice a theme (groan). So here, in no particular order, is my Top Ten Earworms: 1. "Popular" from the cast recording of "Wicked". I love all the songs on that CD, but that's the one I find myself singing most often. I think the well-meaning but utterly self-centered cluelessness of the lyrics is hilarious. ("...I'll show you what shoes to wear, how to fix your hair, everything that really counts to be popular. I'll help you be pop-U-lar. You'll hang with the right cohorts, you'll be good at sports, know the slang you ought to know. But let's start, 'cause you've got an awfully long way to go....") 2. "Going Through The Motions" from the Buffy episode "Once More With Feeling". I quite often find myself singing the entire episode from beginning to end, but this song is the one that seems to come out of my mouth the most. ("...she's just going through the motions, faking it somehow. She's not even half the girl she - Ow!!....") 3. "Gunslinger" by the Limeliters. ("...gunslinger, gunslinger, where did you go wrong? When you were a child did the Cheyenne and Sioux refuse to play nicely with you? Did you always feel you didn't belong?....") I blame this one on my father's influence. 4. "Sweet Violets" by Mitch Miller and the Boys ("....the girl told the farmer that he'd better stop, then she called her father and he called a taxi and got there before very long, 'cause someone was doing his little girl right for a change....") I blame this one on my mother's influence. 5. "Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead" from "The Wizard of Oz". I also sing "Over the Rainbow" and "If I Only Had A Brain" pretty often, but I really, REALLY get stuck on "Ding Dong...." a lot because it's such fun to do all the different voices, from Glinda's wavery soprano, to the guttural Lollipop Guild guys, to the stuffy little Munchkin mayor. ("...we will glorify your name! You will be a bust, be a bust, be a bust in the hall of fame!"...) 6. "The Step-Sisters Lament" from "Cinderella" (Rodgers and Hammerstein version). Again (are we seeing a theme here?) I love ALL the songs from that show, but I especially get a kick out of this most-smartass-y one. ("Why would a fellow want a girl like her, a frail and fluffy beauty? Why can't a fellow ever once prefer a solid girl like me?....") 7. "I Feel Lucky" by Mary Chapin Carpenter. ("....eleven million later I was sitting at the bar. I bought the house a double and the waitress a new car....") 8. "Ain't Gonna Rain No More". It's a kids song, the kind of thing you learn in camp. ("...ain't gonna rain no more, no more, ain't gonna rain no more. So how in the heck can I wash my neck? 'Cause it ain't gonna rain no more.....") See what happens when you let little girls join Girl Scouts?? 9. "Amazing Grace". I know, I know, total shock, right? I probably should have warned you. It's not silly or smartass, AND it's a hymn while I am rather vocally anti-organized-religion. But while I may have given up on attending services, I was raised in church and I still love hymns and that one is a particular favorite. I always "hear" it in my head as being sung a cappella, on a mountain top at sunset. 10. Christmas songs, especially "Oh Holy Night". See explanation above. I must confess, in case you think I've developed a serious streak, that I also really like some parodies of Christmas songs, like "The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen" or one I wrote called "Drag Queen Christmas" (sung to the tune of "Deck the Halls"). But really, I ADORE almost all the traditional Christmas carols. I especially like to sing them in July. There you have Top Ten Earworms. You all now know to Run Like HELL if you see me coming and it looks like I'm singing to myself!!!! Don't say I didn't warn you. Oh, and in case you're wondering, my Earworm Du Jour: "The Dog and the Butterfly" by Heart.