Earworms, aka next level self-trolling

I had that Muppets tune in my head for over 3 months a few years ago. Brutal.

I ended up making a glitchy crunk remix of it and played it at gigs. Everyone loved it, but I wonder how many poor souls then had it stuck in their heads for months after…:joy:

Same thing happened with Shirley Ellis, The Clapping song…

I say a good cure is to remix the track, by the time you’ve finished the remix, you’ll have heard it so many times, your brain will never want to repeat it…


One of my strategies when I hear one that I really hate come up is to instantly mutate it in some kind of alienesque drone chant. Extreme down pitching woks well for that :smiley:

When reflecting on these things I like to think about Richard Dawkins’ conception of the meme as an evolutionary cultural entity living in human minds. Replicating, mutating. Successful ones spreading out and unsuccessful ones dying out. Battling out a survival of the fittest with our neural networks as hunting grounds.

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i treat earworms as symbionts.
they can improve our abilities to write hooks.

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Oliver Sacks wrote a chapter on earworms in the excellent Musicophilia, you can get the gist from this article: https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/anatomy-of-an-earworm

Edit: This just popped into my head :wink:


I believe this. Which is why i let them crawl around.

It’s so weird, I had the same song (can’t get you out of my head) stuck in my head since this morning and I come to this forum see this post… :astonished:

Yes great book :slight_smile:

In similar direction but with a broader (scientific) perspective on the mechanisms of the mind and consciousness is Daniel Dennett. He has several great books on the subject but the latest From Bacteria to Bach and Back is an awesome synthesis of everything he has done on the subject. I highly recommend it: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/02/from-bacteria-to-bach-and-back-by-daniel-c-dennett-review

One of many observations that struck a note with me: the neurons in the huge net of our brains can be viewed as similar to unicellular organisms floating in their habitats, both “trying” to survive by feeding. The unicell microorganism by absorbing nutrients, the neuron by absorbing electrical current, which happens when its neural path is activated. So for survival, neurons “strive” to have the brain using their path, competing with other neural paths.

Perhaps by looping that one pop song phrase over and over? :wink:

Of course neurons and microorganisms can’t try, or strive or want something consciously, but Dennett explains how organisms can display complex behavior grown by evolution without having any (self)understanding, which he calls ‘competence without comprehension’. All this is a great eye opener for anyone who thinks they have full rational control over their brains and bodies. Dennett sees consciousness as an illusionary by-product of the hyper-complex web of automatic processes driving us.

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Nice one, this book looks right up my alley.

There are no coincidences my friend

One for anyone who’s been watching Russian Doll:

Smashed season 2 of Barry this week and once again, was left with this burrowed in my grey matter