I’m proposing that the above is a very real affliction, perhaps some kind of mild compulsive disorder.
Backtrack. I used to help run a pub quiz (wistful sigh – two favourite things in combo). Our final round of choice was the ‘Next Twenty Words Round’; we would play a fairly well-known track and stop it at a certain point. The teams would then, you’ve guessed it, have to write down the next twenty lyrics of the song, each correct word in sequence earning a point.
In theory, a great tiebreaker. In practice, could punters resist singing along, and continuing to sing once the music had stopped? Of course not. This seemed to be due to an involuntary ‘karaoke moment’, even when this could result in giving their opponents a helping hand. (Irate teammates could always be heard ‘ssshhhhing’.)
Flash forward, and I find I’m now suffering from a ‘mashed-up’ version of the above. It’s when there’s something about the song on the radio that leads you irresistibly into singing a different song over the top of it.
Intros are frequent culprits. To give an example featuring two obvious bedfellows, if the intro to The Jean Genie were on, I would have to be restrained in order to stop singing the start of Blockbuster over the top of it, annoying myself and anyone around. You can’t hurry love, Maneater and Are you gonna be my girl also suffer from being swapped about.
Some songs ask for it due to a certain pattern of notes in the melody; for instance, in my house Oasis invariably become mashed with Manfred Mann, resulting in “So, Sally can wait – Pretty flamingo.” The Divine Comedy also get an unlikely encounter with Anita Dobson, leaving us with “Everybody knows that I love you – that’s the easy part, you must keep it going.” See what I mean?
So is this reflex something to be embraced, or resisted? If the latter, what tactics could be used to sort it out? Forced singing of the song that’s actually playing might make things worse. And how irritating would it be if my mashed-up versions started becoming ‘earworms’?
Suggestions for suitable therapy welcome. Failing that, are there any fellow-sufferers?
Dedicated to Fred the Lard!