Brain Music

Lately, I’ve had a song stuck in my head. I’m sure you know the feeling, a tune you can’t shake when you’re walking or showering or what have you. As I was ponderously pondering how music is essential to the human condition  while also rocking out to completely imaginary synths, I was struck by a thought: what if you could pick a handful songs to hear perfectly in your brain but at the cost of never hearing any others?

At this point I realised that I was basically doing Desert Island Discs with myself. If you don’t know, it’s a long-running British radio show where they ask famous people which 5 tracks they’d bring if they were marooned on a desert island and why. That sounds like an actually interesting topic, so I’ll give it some thought and do a proper post on later.

For now, I’m content to wonder just how it is that the brain is so good at recalling music. A while back, I was trying to find a particular A-Ha song. I could hear it perfectly in my head despite not having heard it in probably several years, including the lyrics. “Hold now, ooooh hold my heart, stay with me”. You’ve probably spotted why I couldn’t find this in any A-Ha collections; it’s by the Thompson Twins. I’d misremembered and mixed up English and Norwegian singers, but could sing along with it nonetheless.

Still, the brain has some way to go. The song I couldn’t help hearing was a techno version of jingle bells. It’s June.


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