“Earworms” are songs, or snatches of songs, or jingles, or various assorted other musical blats, that compulsively sound in one’s head, beyond any effort to control or expell them.
They’ve been around for a while: Mark Twain wrote about the things in his story “A Literary Nightmare.” Marketing professor James Kellaris, who has studied earworms professionally, describes them as “ex-cit[ing] an abnormal reaction in the brain.” He says that while 98% of all human beings are afflicted with earworms at one time or another, they tend to linger longer in, and irritate more, women.
Generally earworms are perceived as negative creatures—persistent irritants like “Wooly Bully,” or the “Frito Bandito” TV commercial, both of which have, over the years, recurrently haunted me unto near-weeping.
But sometimes there sound in my head earworms to which I don’t begrudge at all the cranial space. Now is one of those times. There are three particular tunes ringing now and again in my brainpan, and I like all three of them. None of them have any real serious application in my life right now, which is a good thing, because one is a sort of curse, the second is a “here’s-the-door” invite, and the third is a yearner. But I like listening to them all the same. If you don’t mind possibly contracting yourself these songs as earworms, follow on along after the “furthur.”