The Tender Trap

Get this song out of my head! Try as I might, it won’t let me be.

You see a pair of laughing eyes,
and suddenly you’re sighing sighs.
You’re thinkin’ nothing’s wrong
You string along
Boy, then snap
Those eyes, those sighs,
They’re part of the tender trap.

I watched part of The Tender Trap starring Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on Sunday. A romantic comedy/musical from 1955, not earth-shattering, no profound message. Now I can’t get the theme song out of my head.

Neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks would refer to this phenomenon as a “brainworm” or “earworm” (I prefer the former).

Here’s what Dr. Sacks has to say on these “worms”:

Earworms, or brainworms, may start as very meaningful, but they become mechanically repetitive. One is then seeing helpless loop activity in the brain, which resembles seizure activity.

Advertisers are wicked specialists in the production or earworms. So much music is designed to be manipulative—film scores, advertisements, theme songs. I think it’s a perverse use of music. 

Composer Jimmy Van Heusen and lyricist Sammy Cahn, you have a lot to answer for here. Your cute little ditty is driving me nuts! Well, they’re both deceased, so I can’t exactly call them to task on this.

Have any of you been plagued by brainworms? If so, which songs or jingles have wriggled their way into your gray matter?