Earworms: the Wormiest of the Worms

Everyone knows what an earworm is, right? It’s one of those songs, y’know, those songs, it gets in your head and you can’t get it out, and you’re singing it all day, like ♬♪♫♬♪♫♬♪♫….

So, earworms, right? Here are the wormiest, in no particular order.

Mr. Boombastic


I first heard this song at some titty bar in Texas. The DJ had it in for me, and every time I’d go on, bam. Boombastic. I’d stand there all…well, first of all, I’m a terrible dancer. The worst. I’d do my set like, the first song I’d lean on the pole, sliding up and down. The second, I’d strut around the stage. The third, I’d drop to all fours and oil up on the boys, and that’s when they’d give me my tips. But you can’t do that to “Mr. Boombastic.” You’ve got to, like, hop around. Bounce with the beat. And me, I don’t bounce. I especially don’t bounce in six-inch heels. So I’d stand and bob my head, do this goony-ass butt-clap thing, and the guys would just laugh….

Hang the DJ, man. Hang him high. (Yeah, I know that’s a different song.)

I Eat Cannibals


I feel like I’ve always known this song, like maybe everyone has. Like the reason it’s such an earworm is it’s in our DNA. We all eat cannibals. It is incredible. Your love is so edible to me. (To me.)

Don’t Be Jealous Of My Boogie


Sorry, RuPaul. I can’t help it. I’ll always be jealous of your boogie.

Thing is, I’d love to be a drag queen. Drag king. Drag…what do you call it when a woman dresses as a man, then dresses as a woman on top of that? Like if I stuck on a moustache and taped down my tits, put a banana down my pants, and decked myself in feathers and sequins? Well, that’s what I’d do. And I’d do this exuberant opera show, where I’d lip sync over Maria Callas and Tito Gobbi, and I’d be carried around in a bedazzled palanquin, and everyone would love me.

Oh. The dream. I’m so jealous it hurts.

La Donna è Mobile


Verdi, well, what can I say? He’s not king of the Olive Garden commercial by accident. That man ran an earworm farm—“Libiamo ne’ lieti calici,” “Son Pereda, son ricco d’onore,” the fucking Anvil Chorus—he just couldn’t stop himself. But “La donna è mobile,” he knew exactly what he was doing. I heard this story, how he made the tenor rehearse this one in private, so gondoliers wouldn’t hear it and spread it around. That was a hundred and sixty-eight years ago, and we’re still singing it today.

Verdi, man. King of the trolls. And you know what’s even worse? Some dude was singing this on the bus, but he changed “e di pensier” to “elephants, yeah,” which brings me to…

L’Elefante Gay


Uaccadi, uaccadu, guarda com’è grosso…it’s a song about a gay elephant. I have nightmares, man, and there’s zombies on my tail, and the chorus is blaring in a loop, uaccadi, uaccadu, unghie e smalto rosso! Uaccadi, uaccadu, zanne di lamè.

Also, I secretly believe this song is how people talk about me behind my back.

Sieg Heil Viktoria

I’m not linking to this one. Seriously. Fuck off.

I had this neighbour at my old place, and he’d start every morning with a Nazi serenade. Sometimes it was the Horst Wessel Lied. Other times, it was “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” But most of the time, it was “Sieg Heil Viktoria,” and dear God, I’d be marching around my living room, all “ade, mein liebes Schätzelein, ade, ade, ade,” and I’d slap myself in the face, and five minutes later I’d be singing it again. I lodged a complaint. I rubbed kefir on his doorknob. Nothing shut him up.

They should do, like, a new version, with non-Nazi lyrics—I’m stamping on your fascist head! Ga-crunch! Ga-splat! Ga-pthbbt! I’m stamping on your fascist head! Ga-crunch! Ga-splat! Ga-pthbbt! Your brains are squirting out your nose! Out your nose! Out your nose! Your brains are squirting out your nose, so gross, so gross, so gross!

Goosestep to that, motherfuckers.

Duke of Earl


Every time I do a historical romance, I hum this day and night. Every damn time. Just try writing His Grace with his rapier out, and Duke, Duke, Duke filling your head.



I couldn’t quite choose between this one and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” They’re both brimming with this mad, whistly optimism, and they’ll both haunt you to your grave. They both encourage head-nodding, foot-tapping, finger-snapping—audience participation, sort of thing. But “Handyman” wins by a hair, simply because I like it more. I don’t know. It’s sweet. What can I say?

C’è La Luna Mezzu Mari


Last time I made fun of this one, I drew ire for mocking the fine music of Sicily, so let me assure you I’d never do that in earnest. I don’t love this song as much as “Catania Dormi” or “Vitti ‘na Crozza,” but I’m a fan. It’s in my shower-singing rotation, right next to “Si maritau Rosa.”

That said, this song’s a potato chip. Try singing just one verse.

Gangnam Style


Who is this guy? What’s he singing about? I don’t know. He could be reading his grocery list. Pushing some sexy lady manifesto. I still can’t stop bopping along.

I’m not sure, but this may be my first earworm infection from a language I don’t understand. Good show. I’m impressed.



This was just everywhere when I was in Sweden. It’s a painkiller ad. It’s annoying as hell. That guy’s face, when the pill’s trying to force its way through his door, that face was on all of us every time the ad played. It got banned for a while, but then it came back, and everyone was like fuck. And then came the metal cover—no, I’m not joking. Really. Here it is.


Want to know what he’s saying? “I am Ipren, the intelligent pain tablet, effective for pain, coughs, and fever. I soothe your aches. I lower your fever. Ipren. I’m simply intelligent. I have anti-inflammatory properties. I’m good for muscle pain, back pain, and joint pain. One 400-milligram Ipren is often better than two prescription-free tablets with paracetamol (for example, Alvedon), for your headache, menstrual pain, or toothache. I’m Ipren, the intelligent pain tablet.”

I never tried Ipren, but I still have the jingle in my head.

Ipren den själv söker upp var du har ont.