How to kill earworms?

So, yesterday night I couldn’t sleep until about 4:00 in the morning.
Reason: “Empty” by Garbage, specifically bar 73 to 81:

I had this playing in my head all night, apart for Shirley Manson sometimes singing “I’m so empty” randomly too.

I’ve been overpracticing this song, I know, and I reallly like D3-D5-D3, but when I put my bass away, it must end!!!

Do you have the same issue?

If not, try this:

What do you to get rid of earworms??!

I tried “Doll Parts” by Hole - another track that I overpracticed. So fighting fire with fire, or earworm with earworm.

The earworm part of doll parts starts at bar 20

Unfortunatetely, the Force is very strong in “Empty” and cannot destroy “Doll Parts”, so I’m listening to my daily play set, without “Doll Parts” and “Empty” though.

I’m tired, feel ugly and fear the night, cause it’s full of terror earworms.

Please, help! :slight_smile:


Poor you. I feel sorry for you, but honestly - I also had to laugh. :smiling_face_with_tear:
I once had a similar problem, but I can’t even remember which song it was.

I finally got rid of my earworm by listening to the entire song from start to finish.

There is a nice article about this phenomenon and possible solutions:



Just embrace it. No need to fight it unless it really becomes a nuisance to you :wink:

I rehearsed a blues song for three hours on a row last weekend, went to a metal concert, but it still kept popping up in my head all through the evening.

There’s worse things that could happen :person_shrugging:t3:


@Ouijava - you had this issue ONCE? I envy you so much!

Being a music freak, this haunts me all the time. But since I switched from listening/dancing to “playing” (kind of) I absorb songs much more intense.
I can see tabs flying before my minds eye when lying half awake in bed, while Shirley sings “I’m so empty”.

It s#cks!

Yesterday night was really intense. OK, I also have to laugh, because my mind likes to play tricks with me (this is not the only way it does that, it’s mean and inventive!), and this is just a new way to f#ck with me.

I play those songs from beginning to end every day, so that does not help.
I’m a psychologist / cognitive sciencentist originally, so I kind of know the stuff in the article you posted.
But let’s be honest about psychology: it’s all rubish! :slight_smile:

PS after having listened to “Ava Adore” by Smashing Pumpkins, things got a little better!


@Krescht you are still young :slight_smile:
But old people like me cannot live on 2 hours sleep (anymore) :slight_smile:


Not that young anymore and sleep is certainly not what it used to be :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

Guess I’m lucky that my earworms don’t prevent me from getting some sleep :zzz:

Maybe you could try listening to a song you really like and just make sure it’s one with less energy, slowing down the dynamic in your head that seems to keep you going.


Ok, what helped was not playing this:

But this instead:



My jam group added Honky Tonk Women to the list which I hadn’t played before, so I spent a few hours on the riffs and chord changes, listening on Youtube and also doing a lesson on the guitar par in Open G because why not right.
I went to sleep with it floating around in my head, seeing the chart etc.
Fast forward to O’Dark Thirty and my daughter gets up coughing because she “swallowed a bug”, my wife gets up but I am still to asleep and in my fog I can hear her coughing the chord changes of, yep, Honky Tonk Women.
A surreal experience.

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Welcome to my hell :slight_smile:

Maybe try to play “Pretty Songs” by Bob Vylan too, though the lyrics might not be for everybody (I totally like them) and it might be hard replicate that english accent for your singer ^^