I Can't Get It Out of My Head.
When your internal DJ won’t stop playing an infuriatingly catchy song, you’ve got yourself an earworm. Our intrepid reporter dissects the tunes that drive us insane—in the membrane.
You know what's a shitty song? “Animal” by Neon Trees. This tune sucks like it’s trying to inhale a balloon through a straw. It sucks with the wild, furious abandon of a desperate addict trying to use a flashlight as a crack pipe. So why has some sick, self-persecuting part of my psyche been playing it over and over since the moment I woke up this morning?
What we have here is an earworm: a piece of music that burrows into the mind and refuses to leave. An earworm might take the form of a hit song of the present day, or it could be some piece of pop culture gunk that got lodged in the folds of your brain 20 years ago. TV commercials are among the worst offenders: Online forum users show great disgust for a tribal chant addressed to an anonymous figure in possession of a Kit-Kat bar, and a musical testimony to the deliciousness of the baby back ribs at Chili’s seems to be the object of almost universal contempt.