Earworms · Music

No Earworms in May

In every previous month so far this year there have been songs stuck in my head, Earworms, as noted in articles in January, February, March and April. There have been no involuntary snatches of tunes coming to mind with great force this month. The closest has been, of all things, “Super Trouper” by Abba. I learnt this song as part of my “UK #1 for Every Year” project and it occasionally comes to mind, though not with the force of “Keep Yourself Alive” in January or “Buffalo Soldier” in March. I practise the song on the piano every now and then and use it as a good example of a simple, short and effective bridge (or Middle 8).

I discussed Earworms with an old school-friend some years ago (the concept has been on my mind for a long time) and he said that the worst example for him was “The Birdy Song”. A few bars of that and it’s stuck in his head for days afterwards. It doesn’t do the same thing to me. I have heard it more than once this month while watching “Top of the Pops” repeats from 1981 on BBC4. These repeats are running a few months ahead of time – “The Birdy Song” entered the charts in September (and climbed as high as #2) but the autumn episodes have been broadcast during May. Even writing about it here has failed to implant the song into my brain, but if it’s now stuck in your head for a while, well, sorry about that.

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