June 7, 2022

Have you ever been singing along with a song you’ve loved for years, only to have someone explain that a few of the words you’re singing are wrong? Yep. I have. (Of course, as soon as I started writing this, the example that just happened to me flew straight out of my head. So I’ll use an example from a relative. He used to think James Taylor was singing about Shadowy People, instead of singing Shower the People.)

That’s called a mondregreen. For a dive into the history and some more examples, check out this article.

However, what I’ve been experiencing lately doesn’t quite fall into the mondregreen category. But I don’t know of a better term. 

Sometimes my subconscious changes a lyric, or the color of a character’s hair, or some other random detail. I know what the correct thing is. My subconscious just doesn’t care. There are several books where the author describes the hero as blond, or wearing a beard, and I always see him as dark haired and/or beardless.

This week I’ve been experiencing an interesting swap in song lyrics. Sia has a song that I love called Unstoppable. I know the word is unstoppable. And most of the time, when the song is stuck in my head, I hear the correct word. But sometimes my inner sound track replaces unstoppable with impossible.

As in, I’m impossible today.

My brain repeats this altered lyric over and over. Even when I notice the glitch, it takes a while to get my brain to swap in the correct word.

Is this a part of my psyche commenting on my attitude? A subconscious nod to Matt Smith’s Doctor Who and his companion Clara, the impossible girl? 

Who knows? But I have to admit that it took me a while to realize this was happening the first time. Now, I’m much more aware of it.

Now that you are, too, let me know. Which word are you hearing in today’s earworm? Unstoppable? Or impossible?

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