The popular name for this phenomenon is an “earworm.” Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks (best known for being portrayed by Robin Williams in “Awakenings”) writes about it in his recent book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, and he summarized his thoughts in an interview with Wired magazine.
“I can’t help wondering if the incidence of earworms and musical hallucinations is higher now, with background music in every public place,” Sacks said. “You can’t go to a restaurant without music, and they get offended if you ask them to turn it off ... The brain is very sensitive to music; you don’t have to attend to it to record it internally and be affected by it.”
In other words, pity the poor soul who catches a snippet of Britney Spears' "Womanizer" and then can't get it out of his or her head. Thankfully, a friend of mine has come up with the perfect solution when such a song is stuck on auto-repeat in your brain: Just sing "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis instead. It's also insanely catchy, but as my buddy says, "it isn't quite sticky enough to get lodged in your head, so once you've gone through the refrain and the chorus, not only is the prior earworm gone, so too is 'Champagne Supernova.'
"They must have had this in mind when they wrote it," he adds, "because what's a supernova, after all? It's a violent, intergalactic explosion that irradiates everything within its constellation. And champagne? Kills brain cells off faster than a Michael Crichton book. Put the two together and any other song doesn't stand a chance in your head. Then, just like its namesake, it disappears and all is right in the universe."
I have been writing about Oasis since it first emerged on the music scene with "Definitely Maybe" in 1994, and if there's ever been a better explanation for the appeal, however fleeting, of the Brothers Gallagher's brand of Brit Pop, I haven't heard it.
Superstars on the level of David Beckham at home in the U.K., Oasis won its biggest audience in the United States with "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?" in 1995, selling nearly 4 million copies. But as USA Today recently pointed out, that's seven times the combined total of the group's last three studio albums, including this year's "Dig Out Your Soul," the group's seventh album.
Nevertheless, in their charmlessly boastful fashion, the Gallaghers maintain that they're the best rock band in the world. "I don't say that for the sake of saying it," vocalist Liam said. "There are other good bands. They're just not as good as Oasis."
In other interviews, Liam has been busy trying to drum up a feud with Coldplay to match its old rivalry with Blur -- "I don't give a s--- about Coldplay. We are the coolest band and we are the best f-----g band. We are the most important band. We may not be the biggest band in America, but who would want that?" he told the India Times -- while his equally quotable songwriting brother Noel confessed to the BBC that he "doesn't remember" anything that took place between 1994 and 1998, the years that yielded the band's best music, but that, nevertheless, narcotics never affected him "mentally or physically," he just took them because it was "f-----g brilliant."
Oh, those boys. The fact is, no matter what they say, legions of their fans agree that Oasis cannot be topped. Go ahead: Dare to suggest that "Dig Out Your Soul" not only finds the band once again attempting to rewrite the droning psychedelic pop of the Beatles' "Revolver" as a series of sing-along soccer chants, but does so with less energy and more disappointing results than previous efforts (as I did in my review of the disc).
Or note that, in concert, Liam's moping, enervated presence and the decided lack of charisma on the part of the rest of the band -- which is now completed by guitarist Gem Archer, bassist Andy Bell and drummer Chris Sharrock, who recently replaced Zak Starkey -- means you might as well stay home and listen to the recordings (as I've contended almost every time I've reviewed the group).
It doesn't matter: The Oasis fans stand by their band.
The fact is, at least a few times during every Oasis gig -- say, during "Cigarettes and Alcohol," "Wonderwall" or "Champagne Supernova" -- you'll find yourself irresistibly drawn in and inevitably singing along. The only questions are: Will you give any of them a second thought as soon as the last chord rings out? And is that really all it takes to be the best rock band in the world?
ave you ever had the experience of getting a truly annoying but irresistibly catchy tune stuck inside your head?
The popular name for this phenomenon is an "earworm." Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks (best known for being portrayed by Robin Williams in "Awakenings") writes about it in his recent book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, and he summarized his thoughts in an interview with Wired magazine.
"I can't help wondering if the incidence of earworms and musical hallucinations is higher now, with background music in every public place," Sacks said. "You can't go to a restaurant without music, and they get offended if you ask them to turn it off... The brain is very sensitive to music; you don't have to attend to it to record it internally and be affected by it."