Weekend Word Wrap: Your Default Song


I'm nearly certain I've invented something original here and wanted to share it for two reasons: a) how many times do you really get to be self-congratulatory in life, eh? And b) if I'm wrong, and someone else has already coined this phrase, I'm hoping one of you loyal readers will now embarrass the bravado out of me, and quickly.

I've written about the concept in a novel I've recently finished, but thought it would be fun to drop it first here in the Word Wrap, as any new coinage is, of course, word-related. So here's my thinking: most of us carry tunes around in our heads a lot of the time. As I type this now, for some odd reason I actually have two competing songs in my noggin at the same time: "Joy to the World" and the theme from Sesame Street.

Most of us also have a default song, that is, the song you default to when either there's no song in your head, or you want to get a lousy song OUT of your head. Default songs can change as you change. For instance, when I was a kid, my default song was "Blinded by the Light" (the Manfred Mann remake, not Springsteen's). As a pimply teen, it was first "Walk this Way" by Aerosmith and then somehow morphed into "Birdland," by Weather Report.

Years later, in NYC, it became a tune in the fifth movement of Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, but then, after moving to Los Angeles in 2005, somehow became AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." (Verily I say unto thee.)

Curiously, I'm not a gigantic fan of "You Shook Me All Night Long," proving, perhaps, that even default songs can be annoying. So sometimes when I catch myself mentally humming the AC/DC tune, I then make a concerted effort to knock it out of my head with a newer default song that hasn't actually taken root yet. Confused? Let me explain:

Some weeks ago, when I wrote that post on Scheherazade, I decided to try and make that my default song. But just because you decide a song could be, or even should be your default song, doesn't mean it will become one. Then again, it may, but only after some time has passed. Or, like a rejected kidney after a laborious transplant, it may never feel at home in your inner ear and you will, ultimately, default back to the former default song.

This is all to say that most of the time, a default song isn't something you have much control over. It's just there, sawing away in the background. You hear it? Stop. Be quiet. Listen. What song is playing in your head right now? Whatever it is, it may be your default song. It might also be the last song you heard at the local Banana Republic before walking out with that sporty new pair of slacks. I don't know you, so I can't say.

But if it is your default song, and you know it is, I hope you're now ready to share! Comments always appreciated in the Word Wrap.