So why does the Jimi Hendrix lyric “kiss the sky” often become “kiss this guy”? When noise hits our eardrums, tiny hairs convert it into an electric signal, which travels through the auditory nerve to the temporal lobe. There, it turns those firings into words with meaning. If the sounds are clear and the terms familiar, we then “hear” a mostly accurate rendition of what someone is saying. But when the babble is muddy and unclear—a common occurrence in songs because music can drown out lyrics, and singers can pronounce words with extra flair—our brains scramble to find what makes sense. In that panic, our noggins react by offering up similar-sounding (but far more familiar) phrases, says Thomas Ethofer, a professor of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University of Tübingen in Germany. For example, if the mind can’t initially comprehend taking a horse to an old town road, it offers up an alternative to quickly solve the problem—and that rendition can stick, even once we learn the correct lyrics.