Earworms And Mondegreens

English: Stevie Nicks, Live with Fleetwood Mac...

I saw the Daily Prompt this morning to be about Earworms.  I’m reminded of Eliz’s recent post on her blog, Mirth and Motivation, about Mondegreens.  Here are the definitions for both terms:

Earworm – a piece of music that sticks in one’s mind so that one seems to hear it, even when it is not being played. Other phrases used to describe this include musical imagery repetition and involuntary musical imagery. The phenomenon is common in normal life…Wikipedia

Mondegreen – the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near-homophony, in a way that gives it a new meaning. It most commonly is applied to a line in a poem or a lyric in a song…The phenomenon is not limited to English…again from Wikipedia 

Sheep's Got a Chicken to Ride - July 15th, 2011

After reading Eliz’s piece and going through the songs she featured, I kept having the song, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac going around and around in my head.  While I’m driving in the car, I’m have since begun to analyze what in the lyrics I’ve sung incorrectly over the years (mostly to myself in the car, the shower, the kitchen), based on how I’ve heard Stevie Nicks sing it.  (See photo on the left of  “Sheeps got a chicken to ride” which is a play on “She’s got a ticket to ride”)

It’s easy enough to change a few words here and there (or even confabulation!) and come up with a completely different message. Or, it can also result in something that doesn’t make any sense, only that it rhymes or fits into the melody.  Or, it can give rise to something more cryptic, as in the lyrics of “American Pie” by Don Maclean, “Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Saranggola ni Pepe” by Nonoy Gallardo, or “Secrets” by One Republic.

The second question in the prompt asks, “Why does it speak to you?”

I’m not really sure that the message of the song really speaks to me. The song was written by Stevie Nicks at the end of her relationship with Lindsay Buckingham. One could argue it can apply to many kinds of relationships.  I just happen to like this song and this band.

P.S. For those of you who like Dreams too, here’s the link to the YouTube posting of a live performance by Stevie Nicks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEi7GPkxfsE

And if you’re a little obsessed (like I’ve been), here are the lyrics so you can sing along. I know, I know. But it’s fun! Live a little, will ya!

Now here you go again, you say
You want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost, and what you had, and what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say women they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know, you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself, it’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and,
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness,
Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering, what you had,
And what you lost and what you had and what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know
You’ll know, you will know, you’ll know

New from Daily Post Challenge:  Daily Prompt: Inspiration

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16 Responses to Earworms And Mondegreens

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  7. moi says:

    The prompt this day was one that I had requested, (although they gave it the title and I think reworded my original message slightly). The “Why does it speak to you” portion was because sometimes when I listen to tracks I get a “video” or a “story” in my head, often this probably has absolutely nothing to do with the tracks lyrics but more how the music sounds to me in my head. 90% of the time I rarely can tell what a song is about via the lyrics, so I ignore that and put my own slant on it.


    • likeitiz says:

      Hi. Thanks for your explanation. I like poetic songs. These are the ones that are challenging because of their layered meanings. I think I wrote about them before. See “Sing Poetic.”

      I agree that there are sings that conjure certain images in our heads. Some are memories of past experiences. Other times, it’s lika a flood of images. This must be how music videos came to be. The images were too vivid for these artists to contain in their heads.

      Thanks for a great idea to write about. I think a lot of people wrote about it.


  8. eof737 says:

    This is terrific! I love your analysis and yes,that song is the ultimate earworm.:-)


  9. djmatticus says:

    I was singing along before I got down to the lyrics. 😉


  10. Ear worms often drive me crazy, but in this case the ear worm is a good one. Stevie’s voice is soooo good. I don’t think that a day goes by without having a song stuck in my head.


  11. That is a wonderful song and yes, you got me singing too although I do sound like I need more practice.


  12. writetowag says:

    I’m a big Fleetwood Mac fan and Stevie Nicks is awesome!!!! Remember when she helped coach the kids on American Idol last year? She seemed like such a loving person…Fav FM songs? Gypsy, Sara & Landslide…Fav FM album cover? Rumours…”But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness” what a lyric…I needed to read it, just like everybody else…we always sing our own words (giggles). Have a wonderful week!!!!


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