This started as a comment to the Sockdolager post on Daley Ponderings, but it turned out to be long and off-topic, so I migrated it here. The article in question is a thought-provoking one, but it had one unintended consequence.
I've been having an ongoing conversation with our rector, who insists on frequent use of simple "praise choruses" at all our services, even the most traditional, so that they will stick in our heads and we'll have them handy in times of need. I understand the motivation: this is why I memorize Scripture, hymns, liturgy, poetry, anthems, and other useful and helpful works.
But because I know he does not set out to torture his congregation, I know his brain processes music in a different way from mine. By this I don't mean that he likes different music from me, although that is certainly true. The issue is not a matter of style or taste, but of processing.
Music sticks in my brain. I wish it were only the best music that sticks in my brain, but it's not. The simpler and more banal it is, the more it sticks. And it won't go away. Round and round and round it plays like a track on eternal "repeat," until I manage to kick it out—often by substituting something else—or go crazy. So far I've managed not to reach the latter point...quite.
This can be a useful affliction, as it does help with learning choir pieces. But it doesn't stop after we're done with the anthem. A little of that can be enjoyable, but even my favorite anthems can get stuck, and I have to work actively to stop the process so I don't end up loathing them. And if I don't like a song from the beginning, you can imagine what I think of it by the 455th repetition.
The more complicated the work, the less likely it is to annoy me, which is why the simple praise choruses are more than usually troublesome. But complex music is not exempt: the other day I had part of Mozart's g minor symphony stuck on "repeat" and it was driving me nuts, even though I really like the piece. Fortunately, I know enough of that one that I was able, by effort of will, to kick it over into the next section.
It's not only music that does this to me, but words—though usually only if I'm writing them. I tend to compose paragraphs while walking—often they later become letters or blog posts. That can be an efficient way to think, but sometimes I'll get stuck going round and round with the same phrases and thoughts, and that's when I know it's time to pull out the mp3 player and let someone else's words into my brain.
Does anyone else share this blessing/affliction?
But the point of all this is what happened after I read the article, which is about Davy Crockett and the Constitution. So far, writing this post has been the only thing able to stop my endless mental repetitions of The Ballad of Davy Crockett. I never saw the movie, nor the television show, but as a child I had a record of Disney songs, of which that was one. Despite 50 years or so having passed since I last heard that record, I could still sing it to you.
I won't, though. You can watch this instead.