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MissAnthrope's avatar

How to deal with 'intrusive music'?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21399 points ) February 2nd, 2010

I often get music stuck in my head, and while the majority of the time it stops within a day, sometimes it’s not what most people experience of this phenomenon. There have been times when a song will be stuck in my head pretty much nonstop for a week, to the point where it gets very annoying and starts making me crazy, like I want to rip my brain out.

In the moment I’m typing this, I have had the same song stuck in my head for about 3–4 days and who knows when it will stop. Thankfully, it mainly happens when my brain goes kind of idle, rather than every second of the day. However, right now, the song is playing in the background of my mind.

It occurred to me tonight that this may be connected to my OCD, so I did some research on it. Turns out my hunch was right, but the methods listed in this article aren’t working. I’m not so great at visualizing stuff, so visualizing the song coming from a radio and pressing “mute” or turning the volume down are not working.

I’m wondering how else I can stop it? The only thing that’s worked to any degree is to be focused or engaged on something (excluding this moment, ha), but I can’t be focused at all times.

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18 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

i feel so sorry for you, having that song stuck in your head.
I deal with the same thing a lot because the radio station at work just plays the same 20 songs so they get pounded into your brain. Best solution ive found is just listening to some music i actually like for a while and then at least ill have a good song on my mind.

augustlan's avatar

Boy do I feel your pain! I almost always have a song playing in the background of my brain. It’s always annoying, but only becomes really terrible when I’m trying to fall asleep. The only thing that works for me then is to “sing” another song very loudly and insistently in my head. Over and over, with no pause. I choose one of two songs for this purpose: Red River Valley (my husband used to sing this to me as a sort of lullaby) or the ABC song. Since neither requires very much thought, and both are sort of soothing, that normally does the trick.

PS: I refused to click on your song link… I have enough trouble on my own, thankyouverymuch! :P

KasperPrip's avatar

This happens to me all the time as well, i just sing the song out loud. That way it’s not irritating for me, but only the people i’m with.
actually i had __bad romance__, on my head all last week!

El_Cadejo's avatar

its stuck…..my god….its stuck in my head….why did i click on that…...bah!

MissAnthrope's avatar

@uberbatman – I know, right? I mean, I kinda like it, but it’s not exactly the song I want on eternal repeat for my inner soundtrack. I’ve been listening to my music during this time and did get a better song stuck in my head earlier this evening (still on repeat, but at least a better song), but then Bad Romance came back. Maybe I just need to listen to more. And, sorry. :(

@augustlan – I’ll try singing something to myself and see if it helps.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Gargh.. okay, no one is allowed to say the words B.R… it just popped back in after re-reading my post.. :P

El_Cadejo's avatar

i loath that song

augustlan's avatar

Note: I now have “I’ve Got the Music in Me” stuck in my head… from the title of the article! Damn it.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Oy vey. Considering my current state, I am very sorry to both of you.

augustlan's avatar

It’s ok… I still lurve you. ;)

DominicX's avatar

This happens to me, usually with classical music, almost always Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich. Those Russians have a way of getting their music in my head.

The last time it happened to me, though, it was something by Delibes. Not only did I listen to this piece multiple times in a row, I also played it on the piano, so it was really stuck. I didn’t notice it until I had to go to sleep and then it just kept playing on loop. And it’s a good tune, but man, enough is enough.

The thing about Delibes is that he’s a composer of ballet, so there are all these little extremely catchy tunes that just keep repeating over and over and I even do my own personal variations on some of his music.

I don’t know the solution, usually I just forget about it and then I end up falling asleep. Sometimes if I really think about something else, it’ll go away. Not necessarily a song, but just anything else. Can’t say this happens to me very often, but I know it’s OCD-related and I do have some mild OCD.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Have you tried focusing on number patterns, like skip counting in your head, or listing prime numbers? Sometimes working a sodoku or logic puzzle can get me unstuck from repetitive thinking because of the amount of processed thinking numbers can take.

Arisztid's avatar

Sometimes I can clear them out by playing the song that is stuck there repeatedly.

Other times I use what I call “brain draino.” This is an example of brain draino that will get anything out of my head. Here is another of my favorite brain drainos.

TheJoker's avatar

The only way that works for me is to replace it with another song…. which, fingers crossed, wont get stuck in there for sooo long.

Response moderated
stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I was haunted by “our song” for over a week after my lady died. Playing really strident classical music (like Sibelius) may have been a factor in clearing out the “ear worm”. I still can’t listen to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” without emotional reaction.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Arisztid – That song worked for the rest of last evening, I had that in my head instead. Also, the video amused me quite a bit, thanks. :)

It’s back now, though, ugh..

I think I’m going to have to listen to other music and try to get some other song stuck in my head.

Arisztid's avatar

@MissAnthrope I am glad that you enjoyed. :) That video cracks me up every time I see it. I did kind of neglect to mention that those songs tend to get stuck in your head too, especially the first.

It is back though?

Try this song (it is mostly in English). That is industrial strength brain draino and, if Fanfare Ciocarlia’s video amused you, you shall enjoy this one . “Strange” is an understatement. Who says Gypsies cannot do punk?

Nothing has managed to stay stuck in my head after a few playings of that.

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