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!
I’m not usually one to have an agenda when writing this column. The message of Weekend Earworms, if there’s one at all, is that of enjoyment. Not all the music I share is super popular or even from the last few decades, but I’d like to think the catchy songs I share at least bring a few grins to people here and there. I’ve always embraced what some might consider the pop “crap” of yesteryear with reckless abandon and have no qualms in defending it. This week, some songs came across my shuffle and in the world of earworms, these certainly sit at the big boy table. But I realized something as I sat down to write this article. New Edition were total creeps.
I’ll never not like this music and will argue to my dying day with anyone who says these songs aren’t amazing but listening to them closer than I ever have before, I just can’t defend the actions in the lyrics. The following four songs chronicle New Edition’s descent into some real creepy territory and their attempts to justify their weird actions.
Everyone knows this song, so there’s not much I need to say about its popularity and earworm qualifications. But set aside the music and the song gets a bit dark. Equating a love interest to candy is, at face value, harmless enough, but the song goes into detail about how dependent the boys are on their girls. The song is a celebration of how much they love the women in their lives and yet take time in the middle of the song to double check their fidelity. Lyrics like “Do you really love me?/Don’t you really care?/Do you really need me?” don’t exactly scream “confident partner.” The bridge of the song then flies into a round-table bragging session about their girls where the nicest thing one of the guys can come up with is that his girl says “She tells me that I’m her only guy.” This seems like something someone should know in any sort of relationship, right? And at least isn’t top of the list of things you like about her? Maybe spend a little one-on-one time with her instead of involving her in big ice cream parlor dance numbers with your friends.
“Cool It Now”
There’s no other way to put this. “Cool It Now” is a failed intervention set to music. Lead singer Ralph Tresvant had apparently become so obsessed with his girl (who may or may not be made of candy) that his friends are making what seems to be another attempt to curb his behavior. The fact that Ralph is pretty aware of what the guys are attempting to do makes me think this isn’t the first time they’ve tried. When your entire group of friends tries to talk you out of something, you should really consider listening to them. Doubly so when they sing those concerns at you. However, the lyrics paint a different picture that seems the guys only want Ralph to stop because he’s screwing something up that they’ve talked about in the past. The first rap breakdown sounds more like advice from a men’s rights website than anything else.
“When ya got a girl who takes her time/You must slow the pace you can’t mess with her mind/If she feels the same she’ll letcha know/Just prepare yourself or be ready to go/And I hope this message stays in your mind/Cause you almost lost a girl who is right on time/There’s one more thing that ya got to know/Just cool it down and stay in control”
The fact that the chorus involves the line “you’re gonna lose control” in just about the most sarcastic air quotey way possible is flat out worrisome. And speaking of worrisome behavior…
“Mr. Telephone Man”
Things have gone awry in the time between these songs. Unsurprisingly, all the girls dating New Edition wised up and are thankfully avoiding them altogether. Whenever one of them calls it’s met with being told the girls aren’t there, being hung up on, and even being greeted by the girl’s new boyfriends. I don’t need to tell you that obsessively calling someone that clearly doesn’t want to talk to you is not a nice thing to do. Furthermore, you shouldn’t be pleading with telephone workers because you somehow blame them for being ignored. This very problematic conduct comes to a head in the video when the group physically accosts two telephone workers that they’ve apparently been following around the city. They should accept that their relationships are over, stop harassing the women and strangers on the street and deal with their losses in a healthy way. What they shouldn’t do is hold onto those kind of habits for years, because then you’ll find them asking…
“If It Isn’t Love”
Dance in a warehouse all you’d like guys, but “if it isn’t love,” it’s probably stalking.
What other songs have creepy implications? Are these worse than Little Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him“? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
Image: New Edition
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)