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Can’t get it out of my head

September 18, 2012

No, not Kylie (that would be Can’t get YOU out of my head) but E.L.O.  It’s a very accurately named song, from the days when they had a string section, somehow justifying the “O”.

What I can’t get out of my head is Don’t Speak by No Doubt. It came on in the pub the other night, and since then it seems to have invaded my bloodstream. And why not? It’s a smashing song: a thumping, insistent rhythm pushed out by bass and percussion, quick but melancholy vocals, a brilliant acoustic guitar solo.

I don’t see this as a problem. I don’t necessarily want to get it out of my head. But keeping it there and out of my mouth is the issue. Singing along to ear-worms does not always attract an appreciative audience, it seems.

In the shower, for example, I can hear the rest of the band in my head but no one else can. They don’t have the benefit of the other vocal lines, against which mine is a perfect top-line harmony, and merely think my rendition of Muse’s Knights of Cydonia – if recognisable – to be utterly monotonous. They don’t get that the shower is my stadium, and that by getting quieter and introducing a sort of windy rush from the top of my throat I can exactly reproduce the sound of 80,000 rapt fans adding their voices to mine.

Even worse (for them) if the ear-worm is not a song. Take the slow movement to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 21, which requires air-piano as well as singing.

Never mind that Mozart is supposedly difficult to play, and especially to play in such a way as to bring out even a quarter of what Mozart put in. Happily, ear-worms come with all requisite technique and expression, in my case giving me skill and musicality identical to Barenboim’s and transforming my vocal chords into a Steinway Concert Grand.

And thank goodness – how bad would it be if I couldn’t even play it in my head? If the twisting thrill I feel in my stomach on hearing the moment where the solo ascends away from the orchestra were to be lost, because my air-piano is no better than my real-piano?

If ever Less was More, it’s in the deceptive simplicity of that piece. In my head it’s superb – over and over again. Probably best it stays there.


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  1. Love it! Don’t you let them stop you singing in the shower, Si, just let it out!

  2. It’ll be a sad day when they suppress the inner troubadour.

  3. Anjali Hall permalink

    Sounds like a good collection to me!! E.L.O. often feature as Gold FM’s “Artist of the Day” so you can get a healthy dose of them whilst getting ready for work in the mornings and they’ll stick with you for the rest of the day!

    Whenever I hear America’s ‘Horse With No Name’ it gets stuck for a good while.

    Shame they sound so perfect in your head then when they come out they’re more like a unique and interesting interpretation on said song. My own problem is that I can’t get a hold of lyrics- I just blurt out any old words to songs I’ve heard hundreds of times!

  4. Don’t let a detail like not knowing the words stop you singing. 🙂

  5. Anjali Hall permalink

    Indeed! They will not control us! We will be victorious!

  6. That’s the perfect response!

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