Heartbeat, why do you miss when my baby kisses me?
Earworms, we all get them. I took a poll, once: Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? Everyone said yes. Well not everyone; I posted this on Facebook. Everyone would be three billion people. I posted it in my Tourette Syndrome group. I got about sixty yesses. Of course, most people with Tourette also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an infliction known for intrusive thoughts—like irrational fears… or a song loop. If you have OCD, you always get songs stuck in your head, I promise. Earworms.
Betcha think my earworm is Heartbeat by Buddy Holly. I wish; I love that song. No, it’s much more complicated than that. Long time readers know about my pervasive dizziness while exercising, I write about it all the time—sorry. One of the (many) potential causes I looked into was my heart rate, over-taxing my heart. Dead end, but I got a cool watch that shows my pulse while I run. Today, my heart rate was whack! It started high, and it kept on creeping up the entire run. It topped out at 185—way faster than I thought possible for an old dude like me. Strangely, I felt great.
My college roommate Brian showed up for our sophomore year with a total of two records. Yes, they were full long-play record albums, but we treated then like singles. We played the same two songs over and over. Turning Japanese by the Vapors and My Sharona by the Knack. The only other song on either album that we ever played was a cover of Heartbeat by the Knack. As I obsessed about my heart rate for fifty-eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds (remember, I had a watch), I thought about those songs. And Turning Japanese starting looping in my head. I even sang it out loud as my talk test. If you can’t talk (or sing) comfortably, you’re running too hard.
I’ve got an earworm playing all. the. freaking. time. At the end of 2020, I wrote A Prayer for Something Better. The post’s title, my writer’s prompt (an earworm in itself), is a clip from One Hundred Years by the Cure. This song stuck with me for a few days. I flashed on an awesome idea. I’d make a list throughout 2021 of all my earworms. I could publish the list as a blog post. Dozens, hundreds of songs, maybe I’d write a blurb about each. I wondered what the next song would be.
One Hundred Years stayed with me for weeks, and then abruptly, in the middle of a run, it switched to Zombie by the Cranberries. Man, those lyrics are zombifying:
In your head, in your head?
Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie
What’s in your head, in your head?
Zombie, zombie, zombie-ie-ie-ie, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, eh-eh-oh, ra-ra
By the time I finished my run, I was already sick of it. When I told Eli he said “God, I hate that song. Her voice is terrible.”
“No, she’s Irish.” This was Susan, thereby pointing out to us how Irish singers are special.
And there Zombie sat, front and center in my mind for at least ten days. With January winding down, I had only two songs on my list. When I came up with my idea, I assumed I cycled onto a new song every couple of days, but I never really paid attention before. I just knew a song was always there. I thought my ever-growing song list would tell a story. I thought readers would learn about my musical tastes, my moods, my secrets. This year-long project would illustrate who I am.
Before February began, I switched back to One Hundred Years, and it never left. Anything that song says about me was already said… in 2020… in a blog post. I don’t even like it that much. I mean it’s fine, like Zombie is fine, but it’s not how I hope to be remembered.
Turning Japanese today was a step in the right direction. I don’t really know what the song’s about, not masturbation, which is what everyone said in college. The Vapors say no, not right. Seems like it could be a little racist, but I’m not sure how. He’s turning Japanese, but he doesn’t say if that’s good or bad. Regardless, I’ve moved away from moody British bands and added a poppy British band. (Yes, I know that Ireland isn’t England. Splitting hairs. Plus, I’m pretty sure I don’t have any Irish readers, so hopefully no one gets offended).
Maybe my switch to the Vapors today is the start of a long parade of interesting song choices. A list that paints a musical picture of my brain, What I’m thinking, what’s important to me. I know I could certainly use a break from the Cure. I’ll report back at the end of the year when I write that post. Or maybe I’ll loop these three songs all year, like a pop station afraid to break out from its top ten rotation. Maybe I’ve already written about all my earworms of 2021. God, I hope not.