Do you think it’s just me? Have I asked this before? It can’t be. Not really. Not in a world of some seven billion people, although not all of them have access to popular music like I do. I wonder if it happens in tribal cultures though, in some other form. Or, perhaps, did it happen in medieval times, but the songs that got stuck in peoples heads were Gregorian chants?
I’m talking, of course, those songs that get stuck in your head on high repeat. The ones you hear when you sit down quietly and there’s no music playing. The ones you find yourself singing for no reason while doing the dishes. I know that’s common; people all over the place talk about the song stuck in their head. It’s just that…
The song in my head the other day was one I hadn’t heard or thought of in about ten years, and it stayed there for days, which is why I started wondering whether it could be trying to tell me something. You don’t often have songs without some kind of reason, some line in the lyric prompted by something happening, or you heard it in a shop or something. This bothered me, this song, not just because it came from nowhere, and not just because I couldn’t work it out. The song was “I Am The Mob” by Welsh band Catatonia. “I put horses heads in people’s beds/because I am the mob”. Yeah. Umm…right.
Sometimes I have words, too. Just words. Is that common? Lugubrious. Obsequious. Saskatchewan. I just like words, okay? I like the way their letters bounce. But that – if you don’t already – might make you think I’m a little weird. And it’s not what I’m talking about.
The thing is, the thing I’m talking about is, when the songs that get stuck in your head turn out to have some subliminal personal meaning, or a message. I know, I know, it sounds kind of weird. It’s just that as I’ve got older I’ve learned to listen more to the things around me. Maybe you’ll say I listen too much – or maybe you’ll agree. I don’t know. You tell me.
There was the time, for instance, that I had it on my heart to do something a bit radical to bless a friend, and I had to tell her. Doing the thing didn’t bother me at all, but the idea of telling her scared me, so I put it off. The feeling in me didn’t let up though, that need to step out, be bold and brave, and say “hey, this is what I want to do to help you”. In the end I nearly chickened out, and I would have if it weren’t for the stupid clock-radio waking me up early one morning playing Duran Duran: “Please please tell me now/Is there something I should know?” I did it.
Okay, that was the actual radio, a little bit different. But there was a time, some years before, when a similar thing happened. Different friend, same fear of stepping out. That time the song in my head (that I eventually listened to) was “I Was Made For Loving You” by Kiss.
Yes, I believe sometimes the Holy Spirit can speak to people through Kiss songs. Do you have a problem with that?
But…I am the mob. Not really a fan of horses heads in peoples beds -or any kind of dismembered body part, actually. and I’m feeling pretty good about life; not planning any kind of Mafia-related career change, revenge or dismemberment. I’m happy, I’m in a good place. I’m just singing about horses heads in peoples beds for no reason.
There’s always a reason. I believe that.
It was these guys. More than ten years after I last heard it, my subconscious mind is concerned that our fish tank is underneath a light that, over the last week or so, is being left on all night. I was worried that it was bad for them, that my goldfish wouldn’t be able to sleep.
I know this now because I eventually googled the lyrics to I Am The Mob:
“That Luca Brasi ah he sleeps with the fishes…”
Ah. I am amazed, yet again, at the incredible amount of junk my brain stores.
We left another light on instead, so the fish could sleep.
How about you? Have you ever had songs or words or phrases that go round your head that turn out to have some kind of meaning or relevance? Do you ever, like me, wonder if your memory needs a complete spring-clean sometimes?