The Ethics of Earworming

Ever hear a song on the radio or wherever, that sticks in your head and just won't stop? That's an earworm.

The quality, or lack of, isn't particularly relevant to the, umm, earworminess of a particular piece of music.  Recent case in point: Rebecca Black's "Friday", which (so I've heard) is pretty unforgettable, no matter how desperate you are to do so.

But sometimes the earworm can come from a good piece of music.

Hilde and I, when there's nothing we want to watch on tv, sometimes turn the channel to one of the "Golden Oldies" music channels as background noise.  The 1960's had a lot of suckitude, but it had a lot of great music.

But even great music, after the third or fourth day of having it play in the back of your head, gets a little... wearying.

They (the ubiquitous "They") say the best way to get rid of an earworm is to share it with someone else.  So:

The main reason "Have I The Right" makes such a strong earworm is the especially strong beat.  In the original recording, besides Honey Lantree's drumming (one of the few female drummers in rock), the rest of the band was foot-stomping on wooden stairs, and the tambourine was being beaten, not by the player's hand, but directly onto the microphone.  The resulting triple-threat THUMPA-THUMPA-THUMPA gets right into one's midbrain; your heartrate speeds up and adrenaline starts to flow.  This is a great piece of "stay-awake" music.

1 comment:

Olli said...

Good post, and so true. Whatever your opinion of the song (I love it) it sure does get stuck in your head.
We (The Honeycombs) have just done it again in my opinion with a brand new song called "Solid Gold" that is as addictive as crack cocaine. (Well almost) It is also very much in the style of sixties beat and anyone could be fooled into thinking it was a forgotten gem from 1964.