An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!
March 11 just passed and I would be remiss if, after all the installments of Weekend Earworms that celebrate ’90s music, I didn’t use this column to celebrate a band so deeply ingrained in my personal musical fandom and so indispensable to the decade.
As with most of what I share in this column, the music tends to scratch a certain part of my brain that brings me back to whenever I first heard it. I can’t exactly do that with 311 because they are somewhat a default soundtrack for most of my childhood. My oldest brothers listened to them before my friends and I attempted to take over the obsession with the band that lead to a fair share of poorly drawn 311 logos on notebooks, a few 311-themed birthdays, and at least one friend having a 311 bar mitzvah. Yeah, it was about as cool as you’re imagining it. Anyway, let’s get to it.
“Do You Right”
This track off their 1993 (holy crap, I was 10!) album Music sticks with me despite it being from before I knew about the band. At 10 years old, there was no way I was cool enough to have this album on my own especially considering it was 1994 when I got my very first CD player and rocked out to Weezer‘s Blue album but mostly to The Lion King soundtrack. [Editor’s Note: Since we’re sharing, my first CD was the Batman Forever soundtrack. I remain the coolest.] I definitely have my oldest brothers to thank for getting this into my brain back then.
I definitely won’t pretend I really knew of the existence of 311 before their self-titled album. If you were alive in the ’90s, there’s likely a good chance you know every word of that album by musical osmosis. Songs like “Down“, “Don’t Stay Home“, and “All Mixed Up” are heard occasionally when a DJ is feeling nostalgic but “Jackolantern’s Weather” might be the best track off that album. And likely one of the first times I ever heard the word “shit” in a song. So, there’s that.
If earworms had a definitive formula, this song off 1997’s Transistor would hit all the requirements. There’s something very appealing about the mellow and repetitive music accompanied by a fun-to-repeat and harmonized chorus in an attainable vocal range. Though “Beautiful Disaster” and the number of tracks on the album itself may have overshadowed “Prisoner” a bit, this remains one of my favorite 311 songs to this day.
I know I keep saying I’ll try to incorporate newer music into Weekend Earworms, but it’s just so hard to do without some sort of device that could potentially broadcast newer stuff through the air on something like radio waves or over the internet. Wait… I think I just solved my own problem. What I need to do is so obvious! Quickly now, to the nearest Sam Goody!
What are your favorite 311 tracks? Let’s discuss in the comments below!