sound triggers

I’ve been noticing a rather interesting phenomenon recently. Well, I’ve been mulling over this for a while (like most things that I eventually get around to posting about) but I reckon I’ve been noticing it more easily of late. As the title to this post suggests, I’m talking about what I’ve decided to dub sound triggers. These are sounds/words/noises that appear in regular day-to-day life, and that are seemingly benign, but then somehow have the ability to set my mental gramophone into motion and, before I know it, I have a random song stuck in my head.

I’m sure this must happen to other people, considering the ubiquity of music in today’s society, but I’ve never heard or seen it discussed. Sure, everyone has songs that seem to always get stuck in their head, even after just hearing one line from it, but this is about triggers outside of the song itself.

This might make a bit more sense if I provide some examples:

Give me everything – Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo & Nayer
For some time, I actually thought this song was called ‘Tonight’ because that’s always the word that triggers this song. Of course, I don’t think of this song every time I think/hear/read the word “tonight” but if the circumstances are right, it could happen.

The call – Backstreet Boys
This one’s only happened fairly recently. I remember clearly that it was in the morning one day when I had work. I was at home, looked at the time, and thought “gotta go”. That’s all it took. I don’t think I’d listened to any part of ‘The call’ in the temporal vicinity of this occurrence, but it somehow managed to resurrect itself in that moment. I’ve since discovered that it is quite catchy and, despite the morally dubious topic, I don’t mind it.

Just a little – Liberty X
The most recent time that I remember this song randomly popping into my head was when I was on my way between the train station and the pharmacy. There was a sound trigger, but I can’t remember what it was. I think it was just something that reminded me of the rhythm of the song.

We are done – The Madden Brothers
I started getting this song in my head whenever I completed a task and said “done” in my mind as I ticked it off my mental checklist. There’s something about the tune that also reminds me of a theme song for a radio program my mum listens to, so sometimes it morphs into that as well.

Whistle – Flo Rida
At the height of this song’s popularity, I think that any sort of whistling must have made me think of this song. It’s not really the sort of song that gets stuck in my head for very long, though, so it wasn’t that annoying.

Barely breathing – Duncan Sheik
This one’s a bit different, because it’s not just about word association – this song is also emotionally triggered. It’s actually the words “come and go” (toward the end of the song (?)) that make me think of the song, not any of the actual chorus. Then there’s that “can’t breathe” sort of feeling from nervousness/excitement, sadness/happiness – sometimes that’s enough to put the song in my head.

I didn’t actually think that I would manage to think of that many examples, but there you go (granted, I have written this post over a few days to give myself plenty of time to think of more examples). If you’d like to share some of your own exampes, I’d like to hear them (or would I…?)

2 thoughts on “sound triggers

  1. Wow…you just made me remember that Barely Breathing was the song that was playing the first time I made love with the man who would then become my husband. Did you really need to know that? Probably not, but it was a lost memory you brought back

    • Yeah, probably not, but we don’t need to know a lot of stuff that we read on the internet… Either way, can’t deny the power of music when it comes to things like memories

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