So apparently the 90’s are alive at work today, to the point where my manager started singing Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ – even though he barely knew any of the words.  My coworker that knows even less of the words joined in and, let me quote, decided the next line was “Something-something something ends with potato.”

Note: The word “potato” does not appear anywhere in the song.

I, embarrassingly enough, know all the words to this 1999 classic, and now cannot drive it from my mind.

Someone once told me that earworms only had impact because you were stuck on a partial loop of the song, and that by listening to the whole thing from beginning to end you could abolish the need to relive that part of the song because it brought the satisfaction you needed of the full song.


Listening to the full song only reinforces the earworm for me.  This may have to do that, when I want to hear a song, I usually want to hear it several times, often on repeat.  One listen through is usually not enough for me.  But even listening to repeated instances does not prevent me from waking up singing part of the chorus in the middle of the night.

I’m also not usually a victim of a single earworm at once, nor am I really ever free from the fragments of song that float through my mind.  I was well into my adult years when I learned that other people did not always have a part of a song circling through their subconscious, resting on the tip of their tongue, taking ordinary phrases from conversation and summoning of a scrap of lyrics, and this happens for me constantly.  Of those for whom that is normal, they are often musical performers, those with some skill to back up their musical malady.

I can barely carry a tune if you give me a bucket to keep it in.  That means having music always itching to be sung from me is a torture for those around me.  I will butcher the words, murder the musicality of the tune, and create suffering for my listeners, so it is an effort to keep it contained and not subject your casual passer by.  It’s embarrassing, annoying, and inevitable.

Because as you know… Only shooting stars break the mold…

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