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!
This week, and some to follow, I’ll be tapping into the vast resource of Nerdist Editors and other writers for their favorite earworms. For one, this will allow everyone to know what get’s into the other Nerdist minds, but it also allows a wider range of musical taste since mine is terrible and I still can’t believe this column got the green-light. This week I’ve mined deep into the brain of our very own Music Editor Matt Grosinger who will also be doing some great things for Nerdist.com on the new Spotify.
Matt gave me a list of songs he’s recently been playing on repeat and one in particular soon made the jump to my brain and has had at least a couple plays a day
MEG MAC – Roll Up Your Sleeves
This song by Australian singer Meg Mac is beautiful in its simplicity and Matt himself said as much back in March. The piano and hand claps had that bare bones simplicity and provides a perfect counterpoint to Mac’s powerful voice. The lyrics are bittersweet and hint at what sound to be very hard times while the chorus claims quite literally “Everything is going to be alright”. As the video begins, we’re met with sullen eyes looking away from the camera that give the sense of vulnerability. However, as the song progresses, the intensity of the vocals increase and it ends with a look of confidence directly into the lens, letting us know that, despite whatever may be going on; she knows that the positive mantra of the song will come true.
I preemptively apologize and promise I’ll be back to normal levels of snark and cynicism soon enough, but the positive message of this song got me thinking about the importance of having a good attitude about things. It’s going to sound preachy, it’s going to be a bit lame, but the concept of staying positive really brings about good things. Meg Mac’s song has a message that’s just about as clear and literal as you can get while the back-story is still a bit mysterious and I don’t think there’s a better analog for most of life’s problems.
The problems in life, despite what they are or how bad they may be, at the end of the day become fairly inconsequential if you stay positive. I know that sounds sanctimonious, but think about it – any problem you’ve been through (barring some of real tragedies in life) have been defeated. By you. Life is going to suck sometimes. It’s going to beat the crap out of you at times. But realize that you’re the one that’s here and the problems, for the most part, are gone and in the past. You won.
Frankly, if you’re reading this article, chances are your life is pretty great compared to the majority of the world and we are profoundly lucky for that. I don’t intend to make light of real issues or even judge the problems you’re going through because that’s not my job to say “Everything is going to be alright”. It is, however, your job to say that.
Positivity gets you a lot farther than its counterpoint and I say that from experience. Last April, after a decade with the same company, I was part of a massive lay off. I was out of work for nearly a year. It sucked. It got boring. It was depressing. Working for Nerdist on and off over the past few years – which is undeniably one of the most rewarding things I’ve done with my life – came from staying at stupidly annoying levels of positivity. Putting myself out there and being that squeaky wheel. Doing so has lead to some of the best stories I can tell and some amazing friends. I’m a sarcastic cynic most of the time but I can safely say that I love what being positive can bring a person. Ugh, sorry. That last statement annoyed me too so let’s get back to the music. I mentioned love, which leads us to…
The Mowgli’s – San Francisco
Other than the similarity of “Ooh ooh ooh’s” in the first song and the “Doo doo doo’s” in this one, Southern California band The Mowgli’s “San Francisco” is an undeniable positive pop hit that makes it clear they wholeheartedly believe in love and the great things that can come from chance and or coincidence (more on that in a bit). The band members basically put themselves into the role of serendipity pulling the strings on interactions of everyone around them. Oddly enough, in a real life serendipitous twist, I personally have them to thank for reinvigorating my love of live shows.
Living in Chicago, dejected indie rock shows are so unbelievably abundant that you’d be hard pressed to find an exciting live show in this town other than big touring headliners. Most of the time, venues have shows that basically feel like you’re watching a band practice. Many of my friends are in bands and so going to such shows on a regular basis over the years just plain burned me out. Then, a few years ago a friend dragged me to a Mowgli’s show and although I really didn’t like the idea of going to another live show, I chose positivity. For a moment I was Jim Carrey in Yes Man. I went to the show and I’m so glad I did. Their good vibes (oh god, I did not just type that?) permeated the crowd and had the entire place dancing and smiling. Frankly, it was kind of weird.
At some of their shows, one of the lovely things the band does is allow people to propose to their significant others during their song “Say It, Just Say It“. This happened at their Chicago show – which is oddly enough on YouTube – and at the risk of sounding like a sap, it was one of the best things I’ve witnessed in my life. Needless to say, I left the show smiling ear to ear.
This week I may have gone off the the rails into ol’ Tangent Town more than usual and I apologize for how sappy it may have gotten, but there’s reason behind it. I mentioned chance, coincidence, and positivity, and it’s those three things I have to thank for being able to write what you’re reading right now. Fact is, I shouldn’t be writing for Nerdist. I shouldn’t have EVER worked for them. The only reason I do is because of a few times in my life when I could have been negative and not done anything, I instead did something. Oddly enough my “career” with Nerdist is a long winding road of random nonsense.
In a nutshell, I moved to Chicago from Rhode Island for pretty much no other reason than wanting to do something different. I made friends with some people at a bar. They introduced me to other friends who knew some people who needed volunteers for a convention. I volunteered at that convention and agreed to come back for another day. That happened again. Then, I followed through on an off the cuff comment I made and sent what was then a stranger a Lo-Bot headpiece that I made from cell phone parts and Styrofoam (Really. This is all true). He liked it and invited me to do more events. I kept in touch, I made myself available and risked being the annoying guy. I sent writing samples and continued to be the annoying squeaky wheel guy. I said yes when I could have said no. Despite what crap was going on, I refused to let the problems win and after all that I’m in a position where this week, I was able to ask my editor what he’s been interested in and then write about it. I get to put my thoughts, as stupid and as run-on-sentency as they may be (sorry editors) [Editor’s Note: It’s all good, man!], on a website that people love. It’s a goddamned weird and awesome world sometimes and I have positivity to thank for it.
In summation, I think what I’m trying to say is…
What are some of your go-to positive and/or uplifting songs? What are some positive mantras you use? Are you surprised I didn’t get all SKA on you again with “Don’t let the bastards grind you down“? Let us know in the comments below!