What’s your Secret Soundtrack? Identify your earworms for emotional clarity
Every day I get questions like these from clients. Maybe you have questions like these, too:
- I just don’t know how I feel about him!
- I’m totally confused about this job opportunity. I have such mixed feelings about it.
- Should we even try to move house? I’m feeling both ways about it.
How can we hear guidance when our feelings are all muddled up?
One easy way is by listening to our Secret Soundtrack. What’s that?
Well, ever get a song stuck in your head? It’s called an “earworm.”
You’ll wake up with a song in your head. Or find yourself humming as you put on your shoes. Sometimes one song will stick with you for days.
There’s power in the earworm, and I‘d like to help you unlock it!
We all know songs from our childhood, from church, from the radio and TV.
The emotional pull of these songs is so strong, and evokes such big memories, that advertisers use songs as hooks.
(We’ll even sing ads to each other! Talk about a money-saver for the corporates!)
Any song we hear gets added to our Secret Soundtrack. Even one line represents a whole song, with all of its lyrics and meanings.
But how can we use these earworms to understand our own emotions?
When I was watching the Beatles documentary “Get Back,” I noticed they had two soundtracks: one they were composing, and one that was secret.
Whenever things got emotional, Paul McCartney would spontaneously break into song. But he wouldn’t sing his own songs.
Paul, like us, has a mental encyclopedia of songs he’d been listening to ever since he was a kid.
I got curious: did he even realize what he was singing, and what his Secret Soundtrack was telling him?
Three examples of how a Secret Soundtrack reveals true feelings:
1. George quits
George Harrison complained that Paul McCartney and John Lennon weren’t paying enough attention to George’s songs. George got sulky, Paul paced back and forth, over-explaining himself. It was an awful moment.
Paul began singing, “Honey Hush” by Lee Willie Turner. It seemed spontaneous and unrelated, but check out the full lyrics:
Come on in this house, stop all that yakety-yak,
Don’t make me nervous, holdin’ a baseball bat.
You keep on yappin’, talkin’ ‘bout this ‘n that,
Got news for you baby, you’re nothing but an alley cat.
How was Paul really feeling?
Paul was much more irritated than he was letting on, and the song lyrics revealed this truth.
What happened next? George quit the band.
2. John doesn’t pitch
The next day, Paul’s best friend and songwriting partner John Lennon didn’t show up for rehearsal.
Paul’s already sitting at the rehearsal venue. The manager tells Paul that John isn’t answering the phone. Eyes full of tears, Paul starts singing, “Build Me Up, Buttercup.”
I only barely recognized the song. Written by Tony Macaulay and Mike D’Abo, it’s about an imbalanced love relationship. One partner is clearly playing around with the other one:
Why do you build me up Buttercup, baby
Just to let me down and mess me around
And then worst of all you never call, baby
When you say you will but I love you still
I need you more than anyone, darlin’
You know that I have from the start
So build me up Buttercup, don’t break my heart
“I’ll be over at ten”, you told me time and again
But you’re late, I wait around and then
I went to the door, I can’t take any more
It’s not you, you let me down again
More than he’s letting on with words, Paul is confused, hurt, and furious.
Paul needs John to keep The Beatles going. He can’t do it on his own.
By singing “Buttercup,” Paul taps into his own internal musical library to express what he’s feeling.
3. The band “gets back” together
The Beatles are rehearsing really well and joshing around.
It’s a joy to watch them create together — this movie is all about how having fun is part of the creative process, not an extra, unnecessary add-on. I highly recommend “Get Back” to any writers, musicians, and artists.
Suddenly, Paul kicks into an older blues song called “New Orleans” written by Frank Guida and Joseph Royster.
The song is all about happy times and partying in the streets:
Well, come on everybody
Take a trip with me
Down the Mississippi
Down to New Orleans
Well, the honeysuckle’s bloomin’
On the honeysuckle vine
Yeah, and the love is a-bloomin’ there
All the time …
Yeah, listen to the music
With the dixieland beat …
Where the magnolia blossoms
Fill the air
Yeah, if you ain’t been to heaven
Then you ain’t been there
Paul is reunited with his friends and bandmates. He is as happy as he could possibly be. His Secret Soundtrack makes this loud and clear.
Now back to you: how can you identify your own Secret Soundtrack?
Next time you get a song stuck in your head, google it. What does it reveal about your true emotional state?
- Are you angrier than you’re admitting?
- Are you more excited about an opportunity than you’ll admit, (maybe so you don’t jinx it)?
- Are you lonely but embarrassed to say so?
I call an earworm your Secret Soundtrack because that music can be playing for a long time before you recognize what it means.
My Own Earworm Story
Once, I had an earworm rooted so deeply in my auricular canal that I couldn’t even hear the words. Just a tune, banging away, day after day.
I was humming, whistling, and tapping the melody again and again.
Finally, I was desperate to figure out the song (Google can only go so far when you don’t know the words).
I placed in nonsense lyrics to help me:
“No crickets, no regrets!
No crickets, no regrets!”
This was clearly not the original lyric. Also, what a terrible song!
Finally I sang it to my brother, who sat with it for a day or so and came up with Rod Stewart’s 1976 rock classic, “The First Cut Is The Deepest.” (It was originally written by Cat Stevens / Yusuf Islam, wow!)
The first cut is the deepest
Baby, I know, the first cut is the deepest
And when it come to being lucky, she’s cursed
When it come to loving me, she’s worst
This song has nothing to do with crickets, I’m sorry to say. It does have to do with regrets, though! Regrets about romantic love!
I am not a Rod Stewart fan. Having identified the song, however, I felt a massive sense of relief. The earworm stopped.
But what did it mean?
If you’re following me on social media, you might have seen a post with the hashtag #thingsIfindwhilewalking where I picked up a playing card on the street: 9 of Hearts.
I teach about reading ordinary playing cards as a tool for divination, so this one was pretty easy for me.
9 means the end.
Hearts are, obviously, love.
Finding a 9 of Hearts means, for me:
I don’t have to have romantic relationships in my life anymore. I’m done with all that drama, in this incarnation.
Whew! What a relief! That area of my life brought me more trouble and pain than any other!
Hearing “The First Cut Is The Deepest,” about a woman who is very unlucky in love, plus finding that card, sealed the deal for me.
I then had a dialogue on FB with a very kind-hearted follower called Kaybee TheMan who was all worried about me, like, “Don’t give up on love, Shan!”
But I’ll never give up on Love. There are so many kinds of love!
The Greeks identified all sorts of love: Eros, Philia, Ludus, Pragma, Philautia, and Agape.
Eros is romantic love. The stuff songs are written about. That’s the one I’m finished with.
Philia is brotherly love, love for your family and friends. That’s the one I’m emphasizing in this life chapter, and it’s so satisfying and nourishing for me!
Agape is universal, divine love. That’s the one I aspire to. Unconditional, God-like love. I’m not there yet, but I’m observing it and aiming for it!
Here are the steps to help you sort out your Secret Soundtrack:
1. Identify the song (you might need help from friends, google, and youtube)
2. What are the full lyrics?
3. What’s the feeling of the song?
4. What’s the meaning of the song for YOU? In your life context?
5. Take the meaning and feelings of the song and apply them. Take action!
If you need help, get in touch. You can hit reply to this email to book a session, or check the links in my signature for more options.
I am not great at identifying song lyrics, LOL, but I am brilliant at bringing you guidance to help you answer your biggest life questions!
All you need is love (of the appropriate sort for you),