Ear Worm

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Poodle Poking at its cruelest.

This is the song that doesn't end... Yes, it goes on and on, my friends... in your head.

Ear Worms (from the German phrase Ohrwurm) are those songs that weasel their way into your head like uninvited guests and then proceed to stink up the inside of your cranium by playing themselves there over. And over. And over. And over. They're those songs that just get stuck in your head, and no amount of screaming, pounding, protesting, and banging your head into your desk will get them out. They will check out any time you like, but they will never leave. Someone infected with an Ear Worm may find themselves prone to bursting out into the song in inappropriate places, tugging at their ears in fury, and can end up distracted in the middle of conversation (or other important activities) by the continuous snatches of song wavering between their ears. And it's only a matter of time before, like Darryl Revok, they drill a hole in their forehead to let the voices out.

You may find relief by hunting down the lyrics and learning the words, but this is more effort than most people are willing to expend on a briefly-heard ditty. Worse, if the song is in a language you don't speak, this becomes pretty much impossible. And when the song is an Instrumental Theme Tune... Some people also claim that just listening to the song in question from beginning to end could help, because as their theory goes, an Ear Worm really is a fragment of the song stuck in your head, while your mind attempts to resolve how it continues—in vain. Actual success of this method varies (from person to person and from song to song) though, so it might only serve as a temporary release or none at all. And even worse is the fact that some Ear Worms are songs that were made cyclic to begin with (say, video game soundtracks). Therefore, listening the song through will just complete the loop, rendering the Worm Nigh Invulnerable. Naturally, you can always distract yourself with another Ear Worm, but you might find it just as annoying as the first, and some people even develop a "playlist of Ear Worms" this way, being able to switch from one song to the other, but unable to silence them. As a general rule of thumb one could say: The more you care, the worse it gets.

The Internet is a particularly notorious supplier of Ear Worms; lots of music memes tend to be irrationally catchy. (This is probably how they got to be memetic in the first place.) Other prime offenders include commercial jingles, Broadway musicals, whatever Top 40 hit is being overplayed right now, video game music(including licensed music), and songs with chipmunk voice. Let's not go into show theme music, especially when they repeat and shout the name of the series over and over and over again.

Just because a song is listed here as a particularly bad Ear Worm doesn't mean it's not Awesome Music. In fact, an awesome song can be just as catchy as a... uuhm... not as awesome one. In fact, a song may even be awesome because it's an Ear Worm, and a song may be an Ear Worm in part because it's awesome.

In fiction, Ear Worms are frequently the tool used to produce Psychic Static. Especially powerful ones can also serve as a Brown Note.

Not to be confused with the mind-warping parasites from Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan.

Compare The Tetris Effect, the video game equivalent.

TV Tropes would like to apologize to any readers susceptible to these things who, getting reminded of a song on this page, feel compelled to hear it again. For your convenience and further suffering, links will be provided whenever possible. (And sometimes this isn't possible, for various reasons; if you find a broken link, please remove it or fix it. Thanks!)

Some of these link to YouTube, so if you wish to listen to them in stereo, add "&fmt=18" to the link without the quotation marks. This may negate some of the awesome, but in some cases it may also elevate the song to godlike status.

Note: When posting links to YouTube here, make sure to strip their URLs of all unnecessary fragments—the "?v=oHg5SJYRHA0 or whatever" parameter is the only one needed, really.

Also, unless it seems to have been posted with the copyright holder's blessing (look for one of those little marks like "director video" or "contains content from") or songs released under free license (e.g. Creative Commons), it probably shouldn't be linked here—it's very likely to be taken down. And also, for US users, the rest of the world may not see what you do. Links to video game soundtracks and demoscene productions are OK most of the time, though.

Please mention the work the example comes from. Simply typing out "Lalalalala (link to Youtube video)" will not be a good idea, because a) the link might get deleted, b) not everyone can play videos, and c) "Lalalalala" looks like gibberish to the average viewer.

Important Note: Examples of Ear Worms go into one of the sub-pages below. Do not put them on the main page, unless the Ear Worm trope is referenced within the story or lyrics.


Examples of Ear Worm include:


Film[edit | hide | hide all]

Sub-Pages[edit | hide]

Unsorted[edit | hide]

Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • In the movie Thoughtcrimes, Brendan doesn't believe in Freya's telepathic abilities until she mentions that he'd had the Scooby Doo theme song stuck in his head all day.
  • In Waynes World, Wayne has the song "Hey Mickey" stuck in his head. He and his girlfriend sing it to expel it.
  • In the movie Pontypool, the Ear Worm comes in the form of infected phrases in the English language that spread through understanding.
  • In Eurotrip, Scotty's ex-girlfriend Fiona's new boyfriend's song, "Scotty Doesn't Know" (about Fiona cheating on Scotty) becomes something of an Ear Worm for the entire cast—starting with Scotty's best friend. Not only that, but it becomes a major hit all over Europe.
  • "Pocket Full of Sunshine" becomes an Ear Worm for the main character, Olive, of Easy A.
  • The catchy song from Three Magic Words, a short riffed on by Riff Trax, is declared an ear worm by a despondent Bill Corbett after it continues on past the short itself.

Music[edit | hide]

Unsorted[edit | hide]

  • That stupid barking-dog Jingle Bells that every half-assed radio station feels they have to whip out every Christmas.
  • If you live in Recife, then this song will never leave your head.
    • Vem minha gatinha, venha meu amor, venha minha amaaaaada! Vamos fazer amor em cima da caasa!!
    • While we're in Brazil, "Eu Quero Ver o Oco" by hardcore band Raimundos manages to be heavy and catchy.
  • I have no idea where this goes, but it's the Ear Worm that has lead a REIGN OF TERROR on my school, and it must be brought to public attention: "Frére Jacques, frére Jacques, Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines! Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong." Especially as I suck at French and don't know the words, I'm just making sounds. I copied that from The Other Wiki.
    • Rough translation: "Brother Jacques, Brother Jacques, are you asleep? Are you asleep? Matins bell is ringing, Matins bell is ringing, Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong."
    • Singalong translation: "Brother Jacques, Brother Jacques, please wake up, please wake up! Matins bell is ringing, Matins bell is ringing, Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong."
  • Anything from the "Wall of Sound" of The Fifties and The Sixties. Phil Spector knew what he was doing before even while he went was going insane. On reading Volume 4 of Monster, where a villain took his nickname from "Be My Baby", that song refused to leave my head. That was just from a mention of the damn thing!
    • "Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley long enough, ain't no river wide enough..."
  • Dutch novelty hit "Er staat een paard in de gang" ("There's a horse in the hall") has been stuck in my head for the past month. I'm now trying to drive it out forcibly. With Benny Lava.
    • Let me stick another one in there: "Ziet 'em goan, ziet 'em goan, me zen basketsloefkes oan" (To much dialect and to... 'strange' to put it in English)
  • Pick a song from the 80s. ANY song. Doubly so if IT'S a one hit wonder.
  • "I always flirt with death..." Its been in my head for MONTHS. Yes, all of it. Even the guitar solo? ESPECIALLY the guitar solo.
  • "Banana Man", by Tally Hall. You're welcome.

Do you see banana man / hopping jumping 'cross the white-hot sand? / Here he come with some for me / freshly pick'd from banana tree.

  • I, for reasons unknown to myself, get abrasive drum n' bass stuck in my head. A few examples: Aphex Twin's Ventolin, Venetian Snare's Mutant Cunt Sniffer, and Squarepusher's Steinbolt.
  • Looking for the Perfect Beat. Beat-beat-beat-beat... DO DO DO DO DO! * SLAM* DO DO DO DO...'
  • Time. Time, Time... TIME! TIME TO UNDER-STAND THE HORROR!!
  • "Insomnia" by the lesser-known band Lou and Peter Berryman is both about these and one of these (if only because of repetition). Although the full effect can't be experienced without hearing the song at least once, go ahead and look at the lyrics (under "Content")
  • Oh, Mandy, oh, Mandy, so killing, oh, Mandy...
  • Ever find yourself singing Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot days after you played it? Despite the fact that you can't make out if the lyrics are words or merely odd sound combinations?
  • Oooh, aaah, oooh, aaah, oooh, aaah, get, get, get away, now...
  • "Spanish Flea" is a classic Ear Worm.
  • Ejo, Captain Jack! (Ejo, Captain Jack!) Bring me back to the railroad track! (Bring me back to the railroad track!)
    • When Radioactive Zombie was in Sea Cadet boot camp, this was the battalion-wide earworm. Put that rifle in my hand...'
  • Japanese music as a whole for me. Really. She doesn't care that she can't understand most of it, it just won't leave her freakin' head.
  • Koumi Hirose (of Cardcaptor Sakura fame) has one from her song titled "Promise". It's named 'Geddan'... because it starts at the refrain with the words "GET! DOWN!". This is one Touhou-related example.
  • Daite Senorita, Yamashita Tomohisa. I have lost count of how many times its played in my head. Damn good song, though.
    • Also by Yamashita Tomohisa and Kamenashi Kazuya is their song as the temporary J-pop duo Shuji to Akira, known as Seishun Amigo. I have had it stuck on repeat in my head for 3 years now, to the point where it has become a mental screensaver.
  • If you can manage not to get Mayonaka no Shadow Boy by Hey! Say! JUMP stuck in your head, I commend you for being the pretty much the only one.
  • I defy anyone to listen to Kitto Daijoubu by Arashi all the way through and not end up with it stuck in their heads
  • Morning Musume, "Happy Summer Wedding" "Ba-da-pa-da, ba-da-pa-da, ba-da-pa-da-pa-pa, hai!"
  • Oh, it hit me long before that. For that matter, a lot of surfing music is this way. Just look at Misirlou (used as the title of Pulp Fiction) and Soy Bomb (used in Guitar Hero). Surf music seems to eat and breathe this trope...
    • EVERYBODY'S GONE SURFING! Surfin' USA.
      • Ah-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA Wipeout!
        • SHIPOOPI, SHIPOOPI, SHIPOOPI! THE GIRL WHO'S HARD TO GET!
  • Scandal: "Shooting at the walls of heartache, bang! bang! I am the warrior..."
  • Hey, Eugene, remember me?
  • I somehow managed to get Venus in Furs and Red Barchetta earworm-alurmadingdonged in my head AT THE SAME TIME. Yeah, beat that.
  • "In the good old summertime, in the good old summertime, strolling through the shady lines with your baby mine..." A (very) oldie, but a classic.
  • DVNO/four capital letters/printed in gold/'cause details make the girls sweat/even more... So far it's been three weeks, and is showing no signs of leaving any time soon.
  • O bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao!
  • The beat that my heart skipped sounded like this, BOM-BOM-BOM-BADY-lllaaaaaa-BADY-lawdy-LAWDY-laaaaa...
    • Thou shall not make repetitive, generic music.
  • For some reason, Dan Fogelberg's "Run For The Roses" (a sweet, pretty, Tear Jerker ballad about the life of a Kentucky Derby racehorse): "Born in the valley/And raised in the trees/Of western Kentucky/On wobbly knees/With Mama beside you to help you along,/You'll soon be a-growin' up strong..."
  • This accursed song is the most annoying song known to humanity. Years after first hearing it, I am still possessed with the urge to break out screaming "MY BOYFRIEND! HE LOVES ME! HE LOVES ME VERY MUCH! MY BOYFRIEND! HE'S SPECIAL! WE ALWAYS KEEP IN TOUCH! HE'S FUNNY! MY HONEY! HE LOVES ME VERY MUCH! MY BOYFRIEND, SO FINE!". This gets me REALLY weird looks. I may be gay, but it's really not helping his attempts to stay in the closet.
  • "Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes..."
  • "DotA" by Basshunter. "Vi sittar har i venten, och spelar lite DotA..."
    • "Boten Anna". "Jag känner en bot. Hon heter Anna. Anna heter hon..."
  • Speaking of asking for your attention: "BOOM! Do ya want it? BOOM! Do ya need it? BOOM! Let me hear it! Ladies and Gentlemen!"
    • Also: "BOOM! Here comes the BOOM! Ready or not!"
  • "Under my skin, there's a fire burning, deep down inside there is loooove..." Though not so much that part as the Stupid Statement Dance Mix opening, which sounds so like nothing on Earth that when I first heard it, I initially assumed it to be a J-pop song. (The fact that it was paired with anime pictures didn't help.)
  • Old Zakk Wylde's song has a very catchy banjo intro.
  • That boy needs therapy. Tell me Frontier Psychiatrist isn't the biggest earmworm ever?
  • Runnin through the monsoon, beyond the world...
    • For that matter, the obnoxious talk show host's parody of it ... I can't seem to find a link.
    • This gets really irritating with Tokio Hotel when you listen to some of their early German work from back when they were younger, because you can't sing along because you can't pronounce the words.
  • While we're going international, we can't neglect this beauty by Versailles. That guitar will never leave.
  • This. And it's got a horrible name, to boot.
  • O Fortuna from Orff's "Carmina Burana."
  • An absolutely nonsensical little work-song-turned-campfire-ditty that I have heard spelled at least two different ways. Here is a high-school choir singing it.
  • "Je Veux te Voir" by YELLE (NSFW, especially for the bilingual).
  • For me there are quite a few country music songs that are like this, including but not limited to the following
    • Why Haven't I Heard From You (1994)
    • Bop (1985)
    • Gonna Take A Lot Of River (1987)
  • Sugar, do do do do do do, oh, honey honey.
  • "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by The Chairmen Of The Board is enough of an earworm on it's own, but The Spinto Band's cover turns it into three earworms at once by combining it with "Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani and "The Boys Are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy, both of which share the same chords.
  • I find that songs with "na na na" hooks get stuck in his head a lot, such as Hey Jude, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, Land of a Thousand Dances, Centerfold, Katamari on the Rocks, E-Pro, Hush...
  • L'Arlesienne: Prelude (sorry, the sound quality isn't the best)
  • Kuutamolla The phrase 'Se ei mee pois', is Finnish for 'It won't go away'.
  • Cadence calls. Those lovely little ditties that people in the armed forces run (sorry, double-time) to. Simple, repetitive, with motivating and/or amusing lyrics - in other words, the perfect earworms.
    • "Everywhere We Go" (most of you know it as the stadium song from Remember The Titans)
    • "My Grandmama Was 91"
    • "Ain't No Use In Looking Down"
  • Almost anything by Röyksopp. Their latest track, "Happy Up Here", is especially addictive (and the music video rocks too).
  • "William Howard Taft". Luckily it can be cured by being infected by a different song.
  • The Deep Dance 50 - 55 minutes of 90s dance megamix (incorporating many of the earworms mentioned above). Add to that a similarly awesome AMV and you get Animix.
  • Windmills Of Your Mind lampshades itself.
  • The Popcorn Song found here. I find this ear worm useful to blocking out other ear worms.
  • I am a Gummy Bear! In multiple languages, too!
  • Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, "Thou Shalt Always Kill". Contains a Lampshade Hanging with "Thou shalt not make repetitive, generic music" - repeated four times.
  • And we can build this dream forever/standing strong forever/nothing's gonna stop us now...
  • "Let the bodies hit the floor...let the bodies hit the floor...let the bodies hit the floor...let the bodies hit the...* ching ching* ...FLOOOOORRRRR..." Used as the theme for about a gazillion wrestling pay-per-views...
  • Ai yai yai, I'm your little butterfly. Green, black, and blue make the colors in the sky...
  • A disturbing number of chiptunes are highly ear wormy, if you're in to that sort of thing. Examples of ear worms are:
  • Demoscene music tends to have its share of Ear Worms, too.
  • Mekon/Röyksopp's Please Stay remix/Don't Go, sometimes played at TV sporting event football venues.
    • or mostly anything by Röyksopp for that matter: Eple (which was used as an Apple start up) and Happy Up There
    • How about Remind Me (cuse you Geico!)
  • I have loads of these:
  • "If I Only Had a Brain" by MC 900ft Jesus. Not even Beavis & Butt-Head could resist it.
  • Fantastic Cat. The sheer weirdness, and pidgin English lyrics make it even more so.
  • Feeeeeeed my fiii-iiiire, let me put some dust on your fa-ace. Even non-German speakers are affected by Eisbrecher.
  • "Living in the limelight, the universal dream, for those who wish to see..."
  • Several of Dong Bang Shin Ki's songs (both the Korean and Japanese ones) are pretty persistant Ear Worms. Some of the best examples are Mirotic (Woah~oh~oh!), Rising Sun (RISING SUUUUUUUUUUUN!), Wrong Number, Triangle, Hug, Hey!(Don't bring me down), and Survivor (oh gods, I can't stop singing "Ima daremo ga Sur~vi~v~o~r!")
  • I don't want to talk to you, I just want bang bang bang! I don't want to know your name, I just want bang bang bang! I don't want to meet your mom, I just want bang bang bang!
  • "I know it's up for me, if you steal my sunshine!" For me, it's largely just the chorus, the looped sample of "More More More", and, for some reason, the line "L-A-T-E-R that week", but that arguably makes it worse.
  • THIS!!! "Caipirinha, caipirinha..."
  • "It's no surprise to me, I am my own worst enemy. 'Cause every now and then I kick the livin' shit outta me."
  • Faggoty Attention by Adam Joseph. It repeats in your head over and over and over and over again.
  • I'm your Tamagotchi, so happy that you love me, and we should be together, forever and forever!
  • They call us problem child, We spent our lives on trials, WE ARE THE YOUTH GONE WILD
  • I can't say no to you/Shouldn't let you torture me so sweetly...
  • Wanna Bop With You Baby/Wanna Be-Bop with you till the break of day
  • Gonna take a lot of river to keep this broken heart afloat/Gonna take a lot of river all the live long day/ Gonna take the Mississippi, the Monongahela and the Ohio/Gonna take a lot of river to wash these blues away
  • But you don't want me any more, how can it be? Look what you've done to me! Oh, oh!
  • Jozin! Z bazin!
  • Why! Do! You! Build me up (build me up), buttercup, baby, just to let me down (let me down) and jerk me around?
    • While we're on the Motown kick, how about "Heat Wave"?
  • Push it to the limit!
  • Marlene watches from the wall, her mocking smile says it all, she records the rise and fall of every soldier passing. But the only soldier now is me, I'm fighting things I cannot see, I think it's called my destiny but I am changing. Marlene on the wall.
  • Dragostea Din Tei, better known as Numa Numa. Full feckin' stop.
  • Fight the Power! Fight the power, fight the power! Fight the power, fight the power! Fight the power! We got to fight the powers that be!
  • Daisy Bell. Why, oh why is this song so catchy?! I've had it running in my head for a long while now. If it keeps up... I'm going to go insane... My mind is going... I can feel it...
  • The guitar riff underlying Creme's "Politician".
    • Speaking of Ear Worm-y riffs, how about the diabolical guitar in "Plug in Baby"?
  • Biffy Clyro's Mountains is one. Toss up between the chorus of "I AM A MOUNTAIN, I AM THE SEA, YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!!!" or the bit after the second chorus with the cool piano in the background; "Cos you tear us apart / With all the things you don't like / You can't understand / That I won't leave / 'Til we're finished here / And then you'll find out / Where it all went wrong." I can't stop hearing it several times a day, starting from waking up in the morning. Even after hearing it on loop hundreds of times and learning how to play the guitar parts and sing the lead vocals at the same time, also on loop. It would be Nightmare Fuel if it weren't for the fact that I still love the song and thinks it is one of the best rock tracks ever made.
  • ...everyday i'm hustlin...
  • La noche me sirve de savana
  • Nadie como tu
  • Entra al cuarto....Suvele el volumen al radio.
  • Body count's in da house
  • ...Hungeeeer...
  • ...come with me...
  • Cool for Cats. DAMN YOU, SQUEEZE!
  • Those who have heard the Ievan Polka know what I am talking about when I say "HELP!!!"
  • Mistabishi - "Printer Jam". Built around the screeching sound of a dot-matrix printer.
  • Musician El Guincho is very fond of these, exhibits A and B: Guincho/_/Antillas here and Guincho/_/Kalise here
  • The band The Illuminoids has the tendency to mashup earworms TOGETHER, which tends to make them even catchier. Which is somewhat amusing when they mix the rolling stones, nirvana, and some recent hip-hop song together.
  • I don't know about y'all, but I'm beginning to regret him ever getting a brand new pigbag
  • For Flemish tropers: Samson en Gert songs. Especially their earlier ones. "Dit is de Samsonrock/De Samsonrock/die dansen alle honden in hun hondenhok!"
  • The daughtry's 'I got over you' don't have a link to the song but damn if those chorus lyrics don't stick in your head.
  • Sweet little bumblebee, I know what you want from me (doot doo doo doo doo da da)
  • "I always turn the car around..."
  • The abominable "Scotty Doesn't Know" has haunted me. I do not like heavily sexual music in most cases, especially when it's that descriptive and it's about cheating. This led to some uncomfortable moments.
    • I understand that opinion, but after seeing this Star Trek vid, can find nothing but lols anymore.
  • "This flea is you and I, it's a bad thing, but a little thing, but a little thing..."
  • Say what you will about Ice-T's notorious song Cop Killer, but once you've heard it...."COP KILLAH! Bettah you than MEEE! COP KILLAH! FUCK POLICE BRUTALITY!" It just won't freakin' leave!
  • Any project involving Mike Patton that isn't Faith No More (or maybe Peeping Tom) doesn't seem like a likely source for earworms, but then somehow there's the Madness Mantra style chorus of Tomahawk's "Laredo": "The cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river! The cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river!"
  • YOU'RE A SHARK
  • Cause I'm Real! (The way you walk, the way you move the way you talk)
  • Any of the songs from the musical adaption of Reefer Madness. Oh, good lord. That movie is One Ear Worm after another.
  • I'd like to nominate EXEC_PAJA/.#Misya extracting. I think it's a great song, but do you know how annoying it is to have a song stuck in your head when you can't even understand the language it's sung in? For over a month? With no sign of it leaving any time soon?
  • Stamp On the Ground is certainly ear-worm worthy. Listen to it all the way through twice, and try to deny it.
  • Dui mian de nu hai kan guo lai, KAN GUO LAAAIIII
  • Breaker one-nine, this here's Rubber Duck...
  • Star Trekkin'
  • Sway, sway baby, you're so audio! Kill your boyfriend, we could be together! Damn you Short Stack, damn you...
  • Dunno if this is already on here but: WE LIKE TO PAHTY! WE LIKE, WE LIKE TO PAHTY!
  • I have recently discovered the Ear Worm A Glorious Dawn
  • Canadian Artists are particularly horrible about this. Besides Moe Clark and Nelly Furtado, listed above, main offenders here.
  • Pretty much any song that repeats the same words over and over again. Example, "The Space Between" by Dave Matthews. Bonus points if the repeated words are NOT the song title. Example, "Some People" "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys.
  • What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Is it a monsteeeeeeeer?
  • "What the hell am I doing Drinking in LA at twenty-six...?"
  • Songs from childhood like:
    • John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
    • I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee
    • Found a Peanut
  • We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful. Am I the only one who thinks this is cursedly catchy? It was so catchy just reading this page today it randomly popped into my head. I have no idea why.
  • I'm bringing Paxil back.
  • Katyusha. What? There's a reason it's one of the two (or three, if you want to count Korobeiniki) most-recognisably Russian songs that exist.
  • White Army, Black Baron 'nuff said.
  • Living miles, miles away from Denmark apparently doesn't prevent you from staying awake 24 hours just because you keep hearing Der- Der- Der party i provinseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!!! in your head.
  • Any sort of classic western ditty. Clementine ("Oh my darlin, oh my darlin, oh my darlin Clementine! You are lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry, Clementine!") and "I've Been Workin' On the Railroad" are particularly catchy.
    • Two Sisters (at least the Clannad version) also counts. It doesn't help that it's so morbid...
  • The Song of the Volga Boatmen is a Russian folk song that's become synonymous for laborous toiling and the Red Scare alike, though cases of the latter have nosedived since the end of the cold war.
  • For Russian and Non-Russian Tropers alike: I dare you to get "Bird of Happiness" ("Птица Счастья") out of your head. I DARE you.
    • Also "Vologda" (Вологда) has this effect as well. (Skip to about 0:55 for the actual song)
    • PONPONPON by きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ consists of one line being repeated over and over, but extremely catchy.
  • can't believe one of the all-time most annoying Ear Worms hasn't been mentioned... aaaa-gaaaa-doo doo doo, push pineapple shake the tree...
  • The Arrogant Worms, appropriately enough, have "Song Inside My Head", which is both an Ear Worm and about an Ear Worm. They even include the basic melody recorded in several different musical styles.
  • Similarly, the song "Ohrwurm" by the German a capella band Wise Guys is an Ear Worm sung by an Ear Worm.
  • Cephalic Carnage, pot-smoking and incredibly talented inventors of Rocky Mountain Hydro-Grind, paint the fourth wall red with their rather catchy song "Ohrwurm", though don't visit that music video unless you're prepared for Squick.[1]
  • Yet again, the song "Tosi Tarttuva Täytebiisi" ("Really Catchy Filler Song") by finnish group Allekirjoittanut (later Covered Up by Raptori, which shares two members of Allekirjoittanut) is a tongue-in-cheek dance track about the song itself being an Album Filler Ear Worm, while the Raptori version lampshades the Covered Up aspect.
  • Jonathan Coulton:

If you can find, some way to be,
a little bit less, afraid of me
You'd see the voices that control me,
from inside my head say I shouldn't kill yoooouuu... yeeet....

  • Referenced by Eminem during "White America", with him noting (and maybe mocking) his influence on society.

Straight through your radio waves
It plays and plays
Till it stays stuck in your head
For days and days

  • Referenced in the song "Replay" by Iyaz (the song itself is also a major ear worm):

"Shawty's like a melody in my head That I can't keep out Got me singin' like Na na na na everyday It's like my iPod stuck on replay, replay"

  • "That Song in My Head" is another meta-example, as the hook is "I've had that song in my head all day."

Video Games[edit | hide]

Unsorted[edit | hide]

  • Monkey Island
  • In The World Ends With You, one of the thought fragments that can be read, features someone trying to get a "Dempa"(?) tune out of their head.
  • Lampshaded in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. When Peach takes a shower, she hums both the overworld and underwater themes from the original Super Mario Bros.
  • If you talk to Kei Nanjo in the pharmacy in Persona, you catch him singing along with the pharmacy song (a potent Ear Worm). He then realizes you're listening to him and demands you join in.
  • Now on Kingdom of Loathing! At the end of the Accordion Thief's Nemesis quest, the Big Bad not only gets a demonic song stuck in your head, but physical ear worms as well! The only way to get rid of them is to sing a different Ear Worm in response, which enrages the worms and sends them back to attack the Big Bad. Awesome! The kicker? The cure is a mashup of "Feliz Navidad" and "The Fish Head Song".
  • And now on Adventure Quest Worlds. At the end of the recent Mythsong Valley saga, the sixth Chaos Lord turns out not to be Discordia, but the special guest of the big Friday event, Kimberly of One Eyed Doll, whose music Discordia had been entranced by. Drakath turned her into a Chaos Lord by sticking a mind-controlling Ear Worm into her head. Only by defeating her does Kimberly manage to get the Chaos tune out of her head and return to normal.
  • Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock has the "Player of the Ear Worm" trophy for playing the same song 10 or more times.
  • Fortune Street has a level based on the original Super Mario Bros, complete with requisite remix of the overworld music. When selected as opponents, Mario says how much he loves the song, while Bowser roars that he'll never get the song out of his head.
  • In Persona 4, Teddie complains that the music playing in the old-school video game-inspired "Void Quest" dungeon has gotten stuck in his head.
  • In Persona 3, NPCs are overheard talking about how insanely catchy the "Tanaka's Amazing Commodities" TV show theme is.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Unsorted[edit | hide]

  • Pinky and The Brain
    • The three-part story "Brainwashed" deals with an Ear Worm that's spread to the whole world and is dumbing it down (it's strikingly similar to the "Macarena", which can't be coincidental). In a rare occasion of not trying to take over the world, Pinky and the Brain have to save the world.
    • One episode of Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain involves The Brain trying to use an Ear Worm to (what else?) Take Over the World. Specifically, he's going to modify the song in the "It's A Small World" ride at Disneyland to include lyrics telling people to make The Brain ruler of the world.
  • The Simpsons has: "Duff beer for me, Duff beer for you, I'll have a Duff, You'll have one too..." (repeat ad nauseam). For Massive Damage, it's set to a tune very similar to "It's a Small World".
    • What's more, it's the "jackpot" music on multiple versions of the Simpsons-licenced Fruit Machines. Winning £5 has never been this annoying before...
  • In an episode of The Mighty B!, Bessie uses an Ear Worm product jingle in order to get people to stop saying her middle name... which is cursed, and the effects of which are putting all of San Francisco at risk.
  • Brad opens the "I Was a Preschool Dropout" episode of My Life as a Teenage Robot by singing an entire verse of a song called "Minky Momo". Immediately upon finishing the song, he grimaces and announces, "I hate that song."

Brad: A-minky-minky-minky-minky-minky-minky-minky-minky-MOMO!
The Minky Momo is an attitude
The Minky Momo is a mellow mood
You're Momo when you're drinkin' lemonade
You're Momo soakin' in a marinade
I know you're Minky, 'cause I'm Momo, too
And so I know what you're goin' through
But there's no mo' Momo whenever I... get... close... to... you! (stops singing) Man, I hate that song!

Carl: It keeps running inside my head and it won't leave unless I blow it out. With a bullet!

  • The Kim Possible episode "Team Impossible" has said team show up with a theme song, which Ron groans afterward that he cannot get out of his head.
  • This is not exactly an Ear Worm, but once you read the following... well, just read it:

Professor Farnsworth: Good news everybody! I've created an invention that forces you to read everything in my voice!

    • Reminiscent of Freemanic Paracusia.
    • You think that's bad? World of Warcraft gave one of their bosses his voice and catchphrase, and he does voiceovers for two other bosses as well. After listening to "Good news, everyone! I've fixed the poison slime pipes!" while wiping for two hours straight, you will NEVER get it out of your head.
    • The Simpsons Did It too:

Troy McClure: I'm Troy McClure, you might remember me, because you're reading this in my voice.

    • You're now reading everything as if Troy McClure, Morgan Freeman, and Professor Farnsworth are reading it to you at the same time. Worst voices to have stuck in your head EVER!
  • The episode "Head Band" of Dexters Laboratory features a "boyband virus" quite literally infecting the ears of Dexter and his family, and it does not only make them hear a song but also sing and talk to the tune of it. Luckily the virus eventually cures itself, as members of the boyband leaves to pursue solo-careers...
  • An episode of DuckTales that does their spin on The Odyssey has Uncle Scrooge nearly be lured away by the Sirens. After he was rescued, he commented "Ever had a song that just wouldn't get out of your head?"
  • Whenever Cartman from South Park hears the first line of "Come Sail Away", he has to sing it all the way through.
  • In the Robotboy episode "Traffic Slam", Tommy and his friends sing a song to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" called "I Know a Song That Gets on Everybody's Nerves", over and over, while they're stuck in traffic. You get the impression that they're doing it just to annoy Tommy's dad (it works).
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • The Musical cliptastic countdown special, which shows the top 10 favorite songs, voted by the viewers. In it, the villain Doofenshmirtz tries to hypnotize the "Live Studio Audience" with one of these. ("My name is doof and you'll do what I say... Woop Woop!") They get un-hypnotized when Agent P plays the number 1 requested song, which is "Gitchie Gitchie Goo" (and, as commented by Doof, "the never-before seen extended version!")
    • In the episode "Does This Duckbill Make Me Look Fat?", Dr. Doofenschmirtz is stealing all the clown statues from a burger chain because the song played from the clown is an Ear Worm he can't stop singing. Perry's boss is singing it too. Then in the end credits, he gets the "Perry the Teenage Girl" song stuck in his head.
  • Two examples from Justice League and Unlimited:
    • Batman has "Frère Jacques" on loop in his head to keep Dr. Destiny out.
    • The Question has a generic boy-band song on loop in his head, but not on purpose -- after being on stakeout with the car radio on, it's been stuck in his brain.
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold and the entirety of its Musical Episode, "Mayhem of the Music Meister": The heroes sing throughout it due to a music-based villain who controls them through his music.
  • An OffBeats short concerned Tommy's inability to get a song out of his head.
  • Poor Arthur was constantly tormented by the theme song to D.W.'s favorite inane kid's show, "CRAZY BUS, CRAZY BUS, RIDING ON A CRAZY BUS."
  • In an episode of Freakazoid!, the title character is haunted for a short while by a song belonging to one of the many of the show's antagonists. "Where did he go, that Invisibo..." indeed!
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: In the episode "The Case of the Cola Cult", the Rangers discover a cult of mice who worship a defunct brand of soda after they discover a video tape of the company's most popular ad, complete with jingle... oh God, the jingle!
  • An episode of Family Guy features Peter hearing the song "Surfin' Bird" for the first time in years. Upon hearing that the restaurant management is going to throw away the record, he takes it and soon becomes obsessed with the song. He blares it for days upon end, he constantly brings it up in conversation so he can play it, he withdraws a large sum of money just to promote the song on TV, and he even uses the record as a sex toy. Eventually, Stewie and Brian steal the record and destroy it—and to make sure he doesn't ever play it again, they destroy every copy in town. Thanks to Jesus, Peter gets another copy at the end anyway.
  • A SpongeBob SquarePants episode (aptly titled "Ear Worm") has SpongeBob listening to a new song called "Musical Doodle", and gaining a dangerous addiction to it. Which turns out to be caused by an actual worm living in his ear listening to the song over and over again on a phonograph.
  • In an episode of Darkwing Duck, a brief scene shows Megavolt pacing in his lighthouse tower, singing a version of the title theme, with no lyrics. He soon breaks off and complains, "Agh, I can't get that song out of my head!" His irritation is understandable, since the song is all about his nemesis.
  • Regular Show, episode "This Is My Jam", has "Summertime Lovin', Loving in the Summer (time)" which becomes so relentless catchy that it eventually takes on physical form. The guys end up countering it by creating their own Ear Worm and blasting the Summertime Song, resulting in the two songs manifesting as giant glowing men who duel with guitars. Yeah, it's that kind of show.



Ha! Now we've got you singing it!

  1. Have some amount of Brain Bleach on hand.