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Hyperfixation Songs (and why they are a less expensive option than Pickleball)

Sorry I've been away, I was listening to this song on repeat.

By Donna ReneePublished about a month ago • 6 min read
Top Story - March 2024
Hyperfixation Songs (and why they are a less expensive option than Pickleball)
Photo by julien Tromeur on Unsplash

First, let's get this out of the way!

It's been a few months since I have published anything on Vocal. I've been lurking here reading and commenting but not writing anything and also not entering any of the challenges, not even the non Vocal+ one that I wouldn't have to pay to enter. Why not? Why wouldn't I bother coming up with something for such a cool challenge?

I've just been too busy.

I wish this was an announcement post about an upcoming novel or short story collection that I have to show for my time away but that just isn't true.

There have been some major things standing there blocking me from sitting down and writing (like moving and buying/selling a home) and petty things (like being overly annoyed at the undisclosed AI users, plagiarists, and spammers who haunt the comment sections).

Anyway, I'm back! Maybe not back back, but back-ish.

Okay, so...What was that title about?

Hyperfixations are pretty common in the neurodivergent community and while they are similar to special interests, I don't think they are the same. Special interests are often things you'd consider topics... things like trains, horses, time travel, comics, horror movies, and other broader areas. They also seem to be able to expand and last a long time, often lifelong. Hyperfixations are more specific and can be somewhat short-lived, at least for me and other people I know who experience them.

Okay, like what?

Whatever you want? Tennis, crocheting, a specific food (shoutout to panzanella!) watercolor painting... hobbies are common ones but they can be just about anything. Now, just because you picked up pickleball and bought a bunch of gear doesn't mean you are experiencing a hyperfixation. If pickleball has suddenly become all you want to do, think about, read about, (care about? maybe!) then you might be entering the hyperfixation realm.

What's wrong with that?

Nothing! hobbies as hyperfixations are expensive. When that intense interest evaporates or dims, you'll be left with a bunch of supplies or gear that you don't want to use as much (if at all), and a massive amount of guilt surrounding the fact that you don't love it as much as you thought you did and you wasted a ton of money on it.

When I am in/on/experiencing a hyperfixation, I never truly believe that it will end. I am all in on it since I am sure that this one is the actual one, the real one, the final one.

Spoiler alert: it never is.

Fortunately, my most common ones are songs.

Wait, what? What is there to fixate on in a song?

I'm glad you asked. THERE IS SO MUCH. The music, the lyrics, there might even be a music video! Okay, you are right. That's not much. But it makes it easy to learn and memorize EVERYTHING about it very quickly, unlike say, pickleball.

How does it start?

Often it happens at a coffee shop. That's pretty much the only place I get the opportunity to hear new (or just different) music. There is no "Oh, I kinda like that song, I wonder who the singer is?"

Oh no... It's love at first sound. Obsession. A single line, a buzzy feeling I get from it, an immediate fascination, who knows? It is instant. That's it. That's the one. I frantically google the snippet of lyrics that I was able to catch in the background noise of the coffee shop, praying that I can find MY SONG.

I do.

And then it really begins...

What does hyperfixating on a song look like for me? Well... first of all, it is one specific song and usually just one specific version of that song. I don't want to hear covers of it, or the original if the one I fell in love with was a cover. I don't want to listen to the rest of the album or explore the artist's other work. Nope. Just THIS SONG.

I'll be walking around with my headphones on listening to the chosen one on repeat for hours a day, days at a time, sometimes weeks at a time. Enjoying the dopamine hits that come with every completely expected chord, note, key change, word, rasp, pause... it brings me pure joy, it paints my brain with maple syrup (no, I don't know what that means but that is what it feels like).

I can also accomplish more tasks while my brain is being distracted by something so perfectly pleasant where absolutely nothing unexpected can occur. I love it. (SIDE NOTE: it doesn't have to be a pleasant song to be pleasant. I completed my qualifying exams while listening to "No One's Gonna Love You" by Band of Horses for about four hours straight)

When I am not actively listening to the song, my brain is replaying it for me on repeat (since it has long since been completely memorized) which often causes me to walk to the beat, tap my fingers in time, hum, or even sing along without realizing that I am doing it. This is where things go awry. It is quite humbling to have a 3 year old scream "Mommy, NO! Stop singing that!" ... If you ask me, it's a bit bold coming from a tiny human who sings "Wheels on the Bus" as often as they do but... anyway. Moving on.

Being asked to play a different song, or sing a different song, or just take a break from it results in me feeling extremely offended, hurt, annoyed, shocked. How could anyone NOT LOVE THIS SONG? How could anyone not recognize the musical genius that is THIS SPECIFIC SONG?

I have learned over the years to not bother trying to convert people to my song though. I don't like hearing that they didn't LOVE it or "that's nice! but have you heard this version?" NO. I don't want to hear that version. MINE is the best.

When does it end?

And then one day, often just as quickly as it came on, the spell lifts, the song is just a song, and I don't really care about it anymore. It can happen if I hear a new song somewhere and, you guessed it, the old one gets replaced. It can also happen that I am just left without a song for a while, just waiting for the REAL best song ever to come to me.

Every once in a while, I'll hear a past hyperfixation song somewhere and smile because, well, we sure spent a lot of time together. I'll listen to it a few times, I'll feel a bit nostalgic. But that song just can't hold a candle to the ACTUAL BEST SONG OF ALL TIME...the one I'm currently hyperfixated on.

Brains are funny little things, aren't they?

~~~If this makes no sense to you, thanks for reading anyway!~~~

~~~If this does make sense to you and you know what I'm talking about, share your current hyperfixation (song or not!) in the comments!~~~


BONUS CONTENT: a list of (just a few of) my past hyperfixation songs, yes, I know... they are quite random. I don't make the rules. It's okay if you don't love them, they aren't the best song ever in the whole entire world anymore.

Eyes: Rogue Wave

No One's Gonna Love You: Band of Horses

Carried Away: Passion Pit

Different Drum: The Stone Poneys

I Won't Say (I'm In Love): from the Hercules movie

This Diamond Ring: Gary Lewis & The Playboys

All For You: Sister Hazel

Sweet and Low: Augustana

Ghost: Justin Bieber

Teenage Dirtbag: Wheatus

Motorcycle Drive By: Third Eye Blind

Willow: Taylor Swift

This Year's Love: David Gray

Katie Queen of Tennessee: The Apache Relay

And the ACTUAL BEST SONG EVER that I am currently hyperfixated on?

You have to love this one.

You just do.

I'm With You: by Vance Joy

how toplaylist

About the Creator

Donna Renee

Hi! Thanks for reading! My hobbies include making coffee, drinking coffee, and starting to write a story and then rage-deleting it when I get the slightest bit frustrated.

Work in Progress: WOWH, cozy mystery (paranormal elements)


Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (33)

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  • Charlene Ann Mildred Barroga27 days ago

    I appreciate you sharing your knowledge about tunes that cause hyperbole. Reading about your experiences with such fun and enthusiasm is refreshing. eager to read more of your narratives.

  • Anna 28 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Maxwell Aus28 days ago

    Breathwork near me offers a powerful path to inner peace and self-discovery. Highly recommended for anyone seeking to release stress and find balance in their life.

  • Maxwell Aus28 days ago

    Breathwork near me offers a powerful path to inner peace and self-discovery. Highly recommended for anyone seeking to release stress and find balance in their life.

  • For me it's a little different. I become fixated upon specific musicals & want to listen to them whenever I'm driving. But it's not like I can just listen to them on autopilot when I'm working on something else. No, I have to listen to & actually hear every word, oftentimes singing along with the soundtrack. And there have been tons of them: Hamilton In the Heights Dear Evan Hansen Les Miserables Wicked Bombshell Jesus Christ, Superstar (several versions from original stage to movie to John Legend) Pippin Fiddler on the Roof The Music Man Gypsy Sound of Music Oliver My Fair Lady How to Succeed in Business Big River Huckleberry Finn Rent!!!!!!!!! 1776 Damn Yankees A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Into the Woods Sweeney Todd West Side Story Wizard of Oz Mary Poppins Many if not most Disney Movies & a whole host of others. But never, oh never, "Help, Help the Globolinks" or "Song of Norway"!

  • Rachel Deeming28 days ago

    See, I get this. Maybe not to the extent that you do it but there are songs that I could play over and over again that do something different to me, even on repeat. Vance Joy has featured with Riptide. My latest: Foals, The Runner Every time I hear that bad boy, I sing to the clouds. Your three year old would hate me.

  • After the heading When Does it End, you could definitely be describing how we are with others post attachment break up! Nice article Donna 🤍 a worthy top story ✨😇🥰😁

  • JBaz29 days ago

    I do understand. Music and sings have always plagued me. I wake up to a new song everyday in my head and it loops over and over. ( a really good one maybe a couple of days) Congratulations - I like that I learned something

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Jeremy White29 days ago

    Love this story. I total get it. I am currently fixated on Ema koke viola. Congrats on top story.

  • Babs Iverson29 days ago

    Loved your story!!! Welcome back & Congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Sandra Matos29 days ago

    Not only do I recognize myself in this piece, but it reminded me of a time when I was hyper-fixating on a song, singing it by my window over and over again, and my neighbor yelled, "Shut up!" This line you wrote resonated with me, "~which often causes me to walk to the beat, tap my fingers in time, hum, or even sing along without realizing that I am doing it." I have absolutely done this! I also haven't written in a while. I have been reading and trying to connect with the authors who write here. But my stomach hurts with the need to write if that makes sense. I allow everything to get in my head, which is where the writing is. I love this piece. I love the tone; it made me giggle when I recognized myself. This was a great read! You have a great voice. Congrats on the top story!

  • Caroline Craven29 days ago

    Well done Donna. So glad this is a top story! Congrats!

  • Catherine Dorian29 days ago

    Donna, you've read, liked, and commented on a few of my stories, for which I am grateful, and I was excited to see that you posted something that I can now read! Not to mention that you earned a Top Story! Congratulations! I liked your approach to discussing music specifically as a hyperfixation that doesn't demand much (if anything) from us. We listen, we're infatuated, and we listen some more. As we associate the song with what we were doing at the time of listening or with that particular stage of life, we tend to fall even deeper in love. Then, one day, we're simply not in love anymore. I keep a list of writing ideas in my daily planner, and incidentally, I have a note from a few weeks ago that says, "The Seductive Power of Sza." I remember why I wrote it down. After a full year of listening to "Snooze" on loop on my fifteen-minute drive home from work, I discovered her latest, "Saturn," and couldn't get it out of my head. I promised myself in 2024 that I would no longer waste thirty minutes (sometimes more) in the evenings, dawdling about the bedroom, laying out my clothes for the next day, straightening my bookshelves, extending my nighttime routine so that I can continue to listen to her throaty, anguished lamentations about finding love. But then she called me back with "Saturn." I couldn't resist. Sorry for the long-winded comment. Clearly, I'm impassioned!

  • Paul Stewart29 days ago

    Back to say congrats, more marshmallows for you, dear pallywally!

  • Rene Peters29 days ago

    1. Congrats on Top Story! 2. My current hyper fixation song is the Glee Cast version of Control. I have no idea why but I've been obsessed for about a week now.

  • Hozier is my latest fixation, and I absolutely can play over and over....definitely a mood. So glad to see you are at least, partially back. Good luck with everything you have going on, can't wait to delve into this playlist...Willow is amazing

  • Cathy holmes29 days ago

    Thought I'd see this here. Congrats on the TS,.my friend.

  • Kelsey Clarey30 days ago

    I completely understand this! I was working on a new character playlist the other day and got stalled because I just started playing Francesca by Hozier on repeat. Still struggling to get back to actually working on it because I can't move past that song. XD

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    Can't say that I relate. If I listened to the same song over and over, I'd go postal. Lol. I do sure love the way you write, though. It's so welcoming, if that makes sense, like we're sitting in a coffee shop having a chat. So glad to see you back(ish). The subtitle made me lol, along a few comments throughout. Like the tiny human singing Wheels on the Bus. Lol

  • Heather Hublerabout a month ago

    I think you've described at least 4 of my family members! I can see this all playing out so clearly with the hobbies. And I guess I do kind of hyper fixate on songs as well and sometimes artists. I loved so many of your 'it' songs :)

  • Ahna Lewisabout a month ago

    Loved this! And yes, I definitely relate! Just like Dharrsheena “Is It Over Now?” by Taylor Swift is one of my current song hyperfixations. I also can’t stop listening to “History of Man” by Maisie Peters. Thanks for sharing your article—you have a way of sharing thoughts and ideas that pulls me right in and I love it!

  • Mariann Carrollabout a month ago

    I get yah ! I had a lot of hyper fixated songs and hobbies, not to mention crushes. 🤗😂This story is so relatable. I am glad you are back on writing again. Good luck on your moved. Do not over tired yourself. How is your back? 🙏🏽I am alway fixated on Enya songs because they hypnotize me from my present mindset

  • The Invisible Writerabout a month ago

    Great article Donna! Glad you're back. I love music I don't listen to the same song for hours straight same playlist-yeppers. I listened to a couple of the songs. No one's gonna love you was good. And Willow is such a good song.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Omggggg Donna, you speak my language!!! I never realised that this is what is called hyperfixation. I have it but I've always called it an obsession or addiction. My hyperfixation has been nothing expensive, so grateful for that. Mostly it's food or drinks. Like super obssessed and would try to get it every chance I get and then one day would just snap out of it, lol. I also hyperfixate on songs, just like you and I'll keep playing it on repeat hahahhahaha. My current hyperfixation is, "Is It Over Now?" by Taylor Swift. I got so excited to see Willow and I Won't Say I'm In Love in your list because I've hyperfixated on those before too! Hehehehehehe I'm the same as you, I try to keep the things that I'm hyperfixated on, to myself because I'm afraid they'd say something negative. But there's also another fear for me. What if I tell them about it and they become more obssessed with it than I am. I would still be able to accept if they say something negative but God forbid they like it more than me. Like no, that is mine, thankyouverymuch 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 I'm so glad you're backish, hehehe. I've missed your writing!

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