An estimated 98% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times that 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, if only for the weekend. We’ll be scouring the internet for the best earworms we can shove into your meaty brains!
I’ve written a few dozen of these articles now and I hope that – much like earworms themselves – seeing these every week in some way has now caused some readers to just expect them. Although I must apologize to those readers since I’m fairly certain making my editors listen to the songs in today’s edition will surely get me fired.
The term “musical imagery repetition” is sometimes used to describe earworms and I like that description a lot but naming the article “Weekend musical imagery repetitions” just isn’t as catchy as the title we went with. “Musical imagery” suits the idea of an earworm so well as we consider them stuck in our minds instead of our ears. While I’ve shared songs from bands I’ve always loved and songs that just happen to be on my radar that week, the ones that really stick almost always have more repetition than others.
Human beings really enjoy repetition. Rather, we enjoy patterns. Our brains developed the ability because it was at some point in time beneficial to our survival. Is there livestock dead from tiger attacks every three days? Why not post some guards to make sure that doesn’t happen. Do people keep getting sick only when they drink from a certain water source we pass by every year? Let’s try not to do that again. Over time, successful pattern recognition meant better survival which might explain why we feel so good when we figure one out and can predict its repetition. Maybe that’s why our brains can’t seem to shut out earworms and that remaining 2% is just leftover natural selection that would otherwise get attacked or poisoned.
As much as I’d love to continue to stall with scientific-sounding theories in the name of job preservation, I should probably get to the very annoying music in today’s article. I should also mention that it’s snowing for the first time this year in Chicago and for the moment it’s absolutely fantastic. While most winter-related songs tend to be a bit mellow, slow, or altogether too churchy – I decided to go with two unique picks of upbeat songs that sort of have to do with the change of weather.
Lindsey Buckingham – Holiday Road
First off, I know right? Who knew this song had a video before it was in National Lampoon’s Vacation? Lindsey Buckingham’s 1983 hit “Holiday Road” was made famous by the Vacation movies and has stayed somewhere in our brains ever since. What some may forget is that despite this song being thought of as some sort of one hit wonder, Buckingham has been a major part of Fleetwood Mac for decades and has continued to work to this day.
“Holiday Road” is extremely repetitive both musically and vocally which may be the reason it sticks with us. The video – which I sincerely didn’t know existed until yesterday – shows Buckingham as an office drone longing for his holiday time which is a sentiment we can probably all agree with (even if we aren’t forced to drink Windex at work like as the video depicts.)
[At this time I’d like to address my editor. Hey man! I know the next song is going to be a bit tough to get through and I’m sorry. It just fits the winter theme of today’s article and just might be the nuclear option of earwormy songs for a majority of our readers. Please don’t be too mad at me. I’ll send you and the rest of the office Chicago deep-dish for the holidays if you don’t fire me.] [Editor’s Note: You’ve done this song already, Blake. Your earworms no longer affect me.]
Snow – Informer
So, some story time. I have three older brothers that I idolized when I was a kid. I would do anything to hang out with them and they knew it. They wanted no such thing and so from time to time I would be tricked into completing tasks for the honor of hanging out with them. As an example, a common tactic the two oldest would employ was called “Money Hunts” where I was “allowed” to look for and keep any spare change found on the floor in their rooms. This resulted in me inadvertently cleaning their rooms in search of a handful of mostly pennies and a stray dime or two. As evil-genius level as that was, it pales in comparison to the time they told me they’d think I was cool if I learned the lyrics to “Informer” by Canadian Reggae/Rapper Snow. Turns out that when you painstakingly listen to a shitty song like this with the pause button pressed ever so slightly on a tape deck to slow it down and DO in fact learn every word to it, “cool” is the last thing in the world you will ever be.
After what must have been days of my family thinking I had some sort of unidentifiable mental disorder, I returned to my eldest two brothers to demonstrate that I, Blake “Cool Guy” Rodgers, had done what no nine year old had done before and had learned every word to a song that references anal cavity search in the hopes that they would hang out with me. They did not.
If there’s a silver lining to all this is… Ok, silver is the wrong word. Corroded lead? The corroded lead lining to this is that I still know every word to this terrible song and still kind of love it. It’s quintessentially “90s” and pretty fun to sing along to. The repetitive nature of the impossible lyrics beg our brains to listen again and again in the hopes
our older brothers will like us that the next time around we’ll get them right. Also, oddly enough, Snow is still making music.
There will likely be a more holiday-oriented earworms article in the very near future probably written by someone who didn’t get “Informer” stuck in their editor’s head but these two upbeat tunes work for it being the beginning of snowy weather for a fair amount of the country.
Are there other weather-appropriate garbage songs like the ones mentioned that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Image: Warner Bros. and Eastwest
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)