Features Ed Blog: Stuck Song Syndrome

Shutterstock / Prostock-studio © stuck song syndrome

Have you ever heard of Stuck Song Syndrome?

I don’t know why, but of late I’ve been waking up with a different song in my head every day!

Occasionally, though, one just gets lodged in there for a few days. This is Stuck Song Syndrome. The tune that you’re stuck with is often called an earworm. That conjures up some pretty grim imagery for me, so I prefer any other way to describe it!

For some, it can be serious enough to intrude on your ability to sleep. For most of us, it’ll stay there for a while until something knocks it out of your thoughts. If you really don’t like the song you’re stuck with, there are, apparently, a few things you can try:

  • Chew gum! The jaw movement interrupts the rhythm of the song in your head.
  • Walking or run to a different tempo than the song.
  • Don’t listen to catchy music before bed!
  • And if you do decide to listen to the song that’s been haunting you, listen to the whole thing. For most of us, it’s a refrain or short section that just loop over and over. Listening to the whole thing can complete the loop, in a sense, and dislodge it!

Not the only one

Catchy tunes are, of course, the most likely culprits. A recent American study found Lady Gaga occupying three of top ten slots for stuck songs.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was high up the list as well. Anything jauntily repetitive, simple but with a unique twist, and there’s a good chance you’ll not forget it quickly.

I’ve got one going on at the moment – and it seems I’m not alone. Disney’s recent release, “Encanto”, is a magical story set in Colombia. It features the music by composer-of-the-moment, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

It’s songs have been an absolute hit the world over.

Mirabel is born into a family with magical powers, yet has none. But when the family magic begins to fade, she must go in search of Bruno.

Bruno, her uncle with the power to tell the future, disappeared when had a vision of the family’s magic faltering. Mirabel needs answers, but Bruno’s prophecies were never well-received, so he’s not a popular family talking point!

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has been Disney’s biggest hit since 1995, and has joined two other songs from the movie in the top 20 streamed and downloaded songs. I just can’t shake it off, and clearly lots of other people are in the same boat.

Time for a change

Much as I love the song, it has overstayed it’s welcome in my head! It might be time to chew some gum – certainly the brownie I just ate didn’t help!

What songs get stuck in your head? Has anything recently just been on loop in the background, and you just can’t shake it? Do you often wake up with a song in your head, or does the first song on the radio in the morning stay with you all day?

Let us know, through the usual means.

Put that stuck song to good use, with Fiction Ed Lucy’s musically themed Story Starter.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.