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!
This week I feel I should start off with a disclaimer of sorts, due to how closely today’s songs skate to the edge of divisive issues. I am a huge fan of Tim Minchin and believe his special brand of musical comedy is something everyone should listen to at some point in their lives. However, I recognize a fair amount of his material can be considered disrespectful to some and, put plainly, my opinions and views do not represent those of Nerdist.com, so I avoided certain songs to save everyone a big ol’ headache.
Tim Minchin is an accomplished comedian, actor, musician, director, and recently, a Broadway composer. He is an outspoken atheist and skeptic which, as you can imagine, may not sit well with other’s points of view. The songs I’ve chosen today avoid the overly provocative subjects and instead focus on something I feel is way more important these days; perspective. It’s not going to be a heavy article but just in case, let’s start off with some lighter fare in order to acclimate.
I figure it’s best to ease newcomers into the work of Tim Minchin with a song that shows off his musical talents with a rather ingenious, and anodyne, punchline. Pointing out that F sharp is not the best tone in which to sing would be entertaining enough if it were just a simple demonstration. However, Minchin delivers on his dilemma of preferred keys by performing it with an incredibly well-crafted song. His ability to write songs that stand on their own musically allow him to subtly work in humor when you’d least expect it.
Alright, you kind of know what to expect in regard to humor, so let’s get at the song I built this week’s article around that I want every social media user to hear…
While I wanted to steer clear of particular songs as to not step on any toes for political or religious views, I don’t mind stomping on the feet of people who overreact in arguments and try to condense everything into two categories. Right/wrong, me/you, us/them, it’s never that simple and yet we all fall into that trap from time to time because it’s so easy to do. “The Fence” explains this point more eloquently then I could ever hope to and does so with a normally unattainable level of gravitas when backed by an entire orchestra. This song is not only essential in Minchin’s catalog for being as poignant as it is hilarious, but essential for everyone to give themselves a chance to step back for a moment and take a breath in any debate. I won’t get too deep into this because this article, after all, is about earworms, but look at any comments section or social feed and you’ll see a major lack of perspective lately. This brilliant song is, as the lyrics state, an “anthem to ambivalence” which is a great quality that we all have and should embrace more often.
“Everything organic and natural is good, ignoring the fact that organic natural substances include arsenic and poo and crocodiles. And everything chemical is bad, ignoring the fact that… everything is chemicals.”
For simplicity’s sake, we often want to label everything as good or bad but it’s rarely ever that easy. I tend to seek this song out whenever conversations get heated or something world-changing happens as a way to, let’s say, re-charge my perspective batteries.
If that was a bit too weighty for you, let’s end on what I consider a lighter version of the previous song…
“If I Didn’t Have You”
The pragmatic and sardonic views on love in this song are certainly not for everyone. Structured as a pop love anthem, the song argues the rather unlikely odds that someone’s soulmate could be nearby and that in all likelihood could probably end up with someone entirely different. Pointing out that if you’re “one in a million” that means there are 999,999 people that are exactly like you. This song, much like “The Fence”, is a lesson in perspective, albeit one that you probably shouldn’t express to your significant other. Now that I think of it, the fact that I enjoy this song so much might be the biggest piece of evidence as to why I am single.
If any of the songs above resonated with you, I’d recommend seeking his stuff out on iTunes or getting his Royal Albert Hall performance on DVD. It is fantastic! Minchin seems to be someone who consistently puts everything he has into his work and does so with unflinching integrity which, whether you agree with his views or not, is quite an admirable feat.
What are your favorite Tim Minchin songs? Do you think the comments section of this or any social media feed will be more level-headed? Let’s discuss in the comments below.
Image: Tim Minchin
Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. You can be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)