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!
As I mentioned before in this column I’ll be tapping into the musical preferences of other Nerdist.com folk and this week the suggestions came from none other than our resident Science editor – and host of our very own Because Science – Mr. Kyle Hill! As opposed to some other Nerdist.com people, Kyle and I haven’t known each other long, but two things in particular struck me when we me last year at SDCC. One – and this one’s pretty obvious – right off the bat you can tell the guy is incredibly smart. The second thing I noticed was how friendly and laid back Kyle seemed. From what I remember, his schedule was intense and had a list of things to do including hosting some videos and panels, but he never seemed too frazzled. When he sent over his suggestions for earworms, I thought back to the day we met and how mellow Kyle seemed in the face of an incredibly nerve wracking day and it all made a little more sense to me. You see, Kyle’s suggestion was…
Phish – You Enjoy Myself
One of Phish’s most popular songs “You Enjoy Myself” is – on average – twenty minutes of mostly-instrumental bliss. Not being a superfan of the band myself, I was surprised to see the effort put into the analysis of this song. Fans have named parts of it, there’s debate over the very few lyrics and it gets pretty brutal on the message boards of which version of the song is best. As an outside observer of Phish music, I can say this song is incredibly interesting and is worthy of – if you can set aside a couple hours – at least a few listen-throughs. There’s a divide in the world when it comes to the music of jam bands and I’m not entirely certain where I stand in it but this track made sense when Kyle suggested it. I imagined this, and songs like it, being on repeat in Kyle’s big ol sciencey brain and it seemed right that he’d be able to remain fluid to whatever stress came his way. It’s hard to let anything get to you if this is the soundtrack in your head.
Instrumentals have a way of both captivating the listener while also having a unique ability to remain as background music for whatever you may be doing. Ever try working or studying to lyric heavy songs? It’s tough. The right instrumentals can get you in the right frame of mind and be just what your brain needs. So, I think you can see where this is going. Kyle’s suggestion got me thinking of some other instrumentals. While I could go with classic standbys like “YYZ” or “Wipe Out“, I’d figure I’d stay away from having to write about both Rush and Phish in the same article. Plus “Wipe Out” – as quintessential as it may be – just kind of annoys me. Instead we go with…
Booker T & the M G ‘s – Green Onions
I’d wager there’s not a person out there in the modern world that hasn’t heard this song. In fact, I’m pretty sure this song is in every single film ever made. That’s hyperbolic, of course, but this 1962 song Booker T. & the M.G.’s song might as well be a movie trope by now. Have a film with any sort of caper? Entrance of a cool character? Have a character getting out of prison? Montage of a BBQ being set up? Making a bowl of cereal? Well this song is for you. Not a filmmaker? Well this song is good for advertisements as well! I’m actually a bit let down that I couldn’t find a YouTube montage of scenes from movies this has been used in. Same goes for similarly iconic movie/commercial song Theme From A Summer Place.
You may see this topic of mostly instrumental songs again as I’ve built a list of literally two dozen to pick from which is what made my final choice so damn hard. I could have gone with “Tequila” or “Tijuana Taxi” – and still may in a future article because those songs deserve their due – but in an article that makes use of YouTube, I could think of no better song that is equal parts Earworm and EYEworm than…
Edgar Winter Group – Frankenstein
What can I say? That hook we all know, the hair we all forgot. The mobile keyboard, the use of a bicycle horn at the 7 minute mark — This song might be the textbook definition of 1973.
There are tons of great instrumental songs out there and this was by no means an end all be all of the best. Share your favorites in the comments or with me on Twitter!