My surefire earworm cure: Tommy Roe's "Sweet Pea"


According to this really old article on WebMD, almost everyone experiences earworms. This is the sensation of persistently hearing a song in your head that isn’t actually playing. It’s like the song is “stuck.” It can be a song you recently heard on the radio; often it’s a song that you find unbearably catchy, even though subjectively you may hate it. Earworms were a big factor in driving me out of my spin class (along with laziness).

I almost ALWAYS have some kind of song playing in my head. Some of these are songs I heard no more than once or twice when I was a little kid. You might say that my musical memory is uncanny, as long as it’s understood that “uncanny” is a synonym for “not something you can make money from.”

Yesterday, I found myself repeatedly whistling a phrase from a song and when I stopped to think about what it was, I realized it was by the band Chicago, which I loathe. I feel like I’ve subjected myself to enough Chicago for any human lifetime. One of my rules for happy living is to avoid hearing any Chicago music whenever and wherever possible. So I was pretty horrified to find myself earwormed by one of their radio hits, a song I probably haven’t heard in over 20 years! Aaargh!

One tried-and-true way of getting rid of an earworm—in fact, maybe the only way—is to think of another catchy song that you can tolerate having stuck in your head.

So I turned to good ol’ Tommy Roe, and he did the trick. For some reason, singing or whistling Sweet Pea can drive earworms out of my brain without lodging itself in there instead. Or if it does lodge itself, at least it doesn’t bug me. Which is funny, because I could totally see this being the kind of song that might earworm someone else to insanity. Oh, well.  

If you can’t handle Sweet Pea, I encourage you to figure out your own earworm killer and keep it at the ready. And now, heeeeere’s Tommy!