52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Friday, November 16, 2007

take what forbes figured, then figure more....

Look, I know I've been incredibly slack at getting guest editors lined up for the earworm slot. I don't mind doing the odd slot here and there, but if I do too many in a row, I become acutely conscious that from a whole world of earworming possibilities, I tend to end up with morose guitar based rock.

Yes, yes. I know this is what I listen to and therefore the very least that I deserve.... but it doesn't make for as interesting and varied a list as it is when other people get to have a go at it.

So I'm really very pleased to be able to introduce you to this week's Guest Editor. She doesn't have a blog of her own, although you can check out her thoughts in bite-sized 140 character chunks on her Twitter page....

Ladies and Gentleworms, it is my great pleasure to introduce for your earworming pleasure... all the way from snowy Canada.....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #73 - asta

I've been aware of ST's Earworm lists for some time, but have never offered to volunteer my own because, quite frankly, most of the time mine irritate the hell out of me and I like to think I'm too considerate to inflict them on other people. Evidently, I'm not as nice as I like to think I am. On the other hand, this week is slightly atypical in that the cringe-worthy, nails on the blackboard bits of song and melody wedged in my cortex don't outnumber the songs I like.

I am very susceptible to earworms , so the radio is always a bit of a gamble with me. Part of living in remote suburbs and working in a large Canadian city with dire public transit involves commuting by car. There are certain stations I listen to when driving because they have terrific traffic reports which alert me to the need for alternate approaches. Unfortunately, I also hear a fair number of songs I'd rather not know about. These are the ones that invariably stay with me for days, if not weeks. I'm just now getting over a bad case of Rhianna Fergie. Luckily,this week I haven't had to do that much driving during rush hour; the horrors are less than 50 per cent.

Here we go with the 10 most persistent earworms of my week in reverse order.

1. The Theme for Hawaii 5-0.

This earworm was triggered by a work colleague commenting on a current political scandal. This clod's rapier wit got no further than “ Book'em Danno”. That's it. I'm sunk. I've got Steve McGarrett and his immovable hair chasing Wo Fat all around the island to The Ventures' ripping theme. This earworm rates high on my personal list of invasiveness. Side effects lead to wondering whether Jack Lord was as sexless as the character he played, is James McArthur still alive,and how come Magnum PI never once crossed cases with the squad? As a side note, I can verify that this song has been introduced, at least once, on local French-language radio as Hawaii Cinquante.

2. "I Love You Porgy" - Nina Simone.

This one doesn't surprise me all that much. My music tastes have a bit of a seasonal component to them. Pop dominates the summer, Jazz recordings get played the most in autumn and Classical makes cameo appearances every winter. I've been a Nina Simone fan ever since a friend gave me a copy of her debut 1959 recording more than 15 years ago. Recently I heard about a 1967 recording of "My Man's Gone Now". It blew me away. If you refrain from clicking on any of the links in this post, please don't ignore this one. Both of these songs are from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, a mess of a musical, with absolutely beautiful music. To my mind nobody sings about love,loss and struggle as movingly as Nina.

3. "Wild Horses" - Rolling Stones.

My history with gyms has a familiar pattern. I resolve to get fitter. I visit some shiny establishment with impressive looking machinery and chirpy staff, hand over enough money to go on a cruise somewhere warm, show up at the gym for a few weeks at best and then never return. This year I have paid next to nothing to join some much older women who used to work at a CECEP (similar to junior college) in their twice weekly gym workouts at that CECEP under the guidance of a laidback, but reassuringly knowledgeable instructor. I am flabbergasted by the fact that I look forward to going there. The only drawback is the music. The music is selected to fit the demographic. Beatles, Beach Boys, Hollies.... Two weeks ago it was "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones. I haven't been able to shake it yet. Just the chorus in a bad southern accent. “Wiiii-iiild Horses” over and over. It may just be the push I need to finally buy an Ipod.

4. "Young Folks" - Peter, Bjorn and John.

This damn song is everywhere. It featured on four new fall television shows, a commercial for another (Big Bang Theory) Budweiser used it, so did AT&T and a bunch of others. There's no escaping it. It's the whistling, see. It gets right into the centre of the brain and waits for moments of inattention to pummel its unsuspecting victim with an air of jaunty insouciance. Played outdoors, it can cause sheep collisions. This one has terrible staying power. In theory, I like Peter, Bjorn and John, but I may never forgive them for this.

5. "One Thing" - Amerie.

Now this is a great gym song. It does remind me of J-Lo's “Get Right”, but Amerie is just so much sharper and stronger. Just about any female recording artist is going to be able to out-sing Her Lowness, whose last attempt at a live performance (Dancing with the Stars) made my dog's ears bleed. But I like Amerie. So there. It's the syncopated rhythm and higher register vocals of this song that appeal to me, which is good, because this one tends to pop up frequently when I'm outside walking. Maybe I walk in syncopation. Dunno.

6. "Turn it On Again"- Genesis.

I blame the otherwise excellent Non-Working Monkey for this one. One of the dangers of the internet that nobody warns you about is that blog authors are skilled at sharing and spreading sources of intense irritation. NWM writes, “I even know exactly how the weird timing goes in Turn It On Again. You know, the "I ... I ... get so lonely when she's not there" bit. That fact alone makes me want to vomit into my own lap with shame.” Yeah, well I know it too. Thanks for reminding me. I see your "Turn it On Again" and raise you a "Sussidio".

7. "Move On Now" - Hard-Fi.

I expected something from Hard-Fi to linger this week as a result of us playing the Stars of CCTV CD on a road trip to Ottawa on Sunday. (I had to import the CD when it was released, because nobody in Montreal had a clue. That fact puffed up my self-image as cutting edge cool for a good five minutes until the next teenager called me Madame). I was expecting to find myself humming "Hard To Beat", or "Living for the Weekend" or even "Cash Machine" — all songs for which I have a fondness. No. This is the one. I've never paid much attention to this song before, and have often skipped over it. I suspect it might be that the music fits the weather and the time of year. This is music for midnight miserables.

8. "When Someone Great is Gone" - LCD Soundsystem.

This one has been a fairly regular earworm for most of the year. Sound of Silver makes my personal list for best CD of 2007. This particular song is my favourite by a whisker over "North American Scum" because it speaks directly to fairly recent events in my life (not concerning the relationship in the song) and because I can't recall a better current merging of lyric and music on the subject of loss. "There shouldn't be this reign of silence, but what are the options when someone great is gone?" Exactly.

9. "Superstar" - Lupe Fiasco featuring Mathew Santos.

Technically, I'm only earworming the Mathew Santos part of this song. It's fairly common for me to believe I know a song and yet, if asked, be incapable of recalling anything but the chorus. It's not Lupe's fault. He's a terrific writer. “Kick, Push”, and “Day Dreaming” are just two other examples of his command of the form. There's a lot of garbage Hip Hop out there but Lupe's work is fine.

10. "Roc Boys" - Jay Z.

This one just astounds me. Jay Z? After what I've written about Lupe Fiasco, you might think I'm a big fan of Jay Z. Nope. Never was. I know he is/was connected to Beyoncé, that he is a producer and recording exec and that he seems to have an ego bigger than Kanye's but nothing he ever recorded was of the slightest interest to me. But then I saw him perform Roc Boys on David Letterman earlier this month (song starts at 4:00). Those horns. That beat. That flow. Sweet.

"Let'cha hair down baby, I just hit a score
Pick any place on the planet, pick a shore
Take what the Forbes figured, then figure more
Cause they forgot to account what I did with the raw"

This week, channel surfing, I happened upon a PBS interview by Charlie Rose. Fascinating (although I think Rose was easy on him concerning the glorification and glossing of his criminal past). And then I had to find the horns. I did. “Make the Road by Walking” by the Mehanan Street Band. Jay Z's arrangement is better. I also think this is the future for the music business - the artists who can pull out a live performance as good or better than their studio CD / music video are the ones that will thrive. But mostly I just wish I could have that horn section.

Thanks Toni. It was interesting to keep track of all of these for a week. This list started with 31 songs. It's a good thing I'm not doing next week's list because the stores are already filling up with Christmas music.


Thanks asta. Nothing like a bit og hip hop to keep the brain stimulated, eh? Actually, the secretary at work told me that she was going to see 50 Cent at the Nottingham Arena tonight with her daughter. Did I think that her car would be okay? Would they be alright in the venue? Of course they would, I said, the Arena will be filled with affluent, middle-class white people. It's probably the safest place in Nottingham you could be on a Friday night (although with Nottingham's reputation for gun crime, is it really wise for a bullet magnet like Fiddy to come here?)

Anyway. It's an interesting list, so thanks for playing. Anyone else wants a go, just drop me a line....

Right, I'm off to the Children in Need Call centre. If you ring up to make a donation between 11pm and 2am you might be lucky enough to have me answer the phone.... Maybe speak to you later then, yeah?

Next Week: Ben

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen, Pynchon, Troubled Diva, Graham II, Cat II, Statue John II, Sweeping the Nation, Aravis II, Olympian II, C, Planet-Me, Mike, Michael II, Eye in the Sky II, Charlie III, The Great Grape Ape]



  • At 3:45 pm, Blogger wombat said…

    asta -- there is one surefire cure for the "bad gym music" -- and that is, to make your own cd and make your instructor play it! that's what i did when i used to do a fantastic water aerobics class at the y. the instructor used the same cd each time, making me want to drown myself. so i made a cd for her. result!

  • At 1:03 am, Blogger Ben said…

    'Someone Great' would be my favourite from Sound Of Silver, too, if it wasn't for 'All My Friends' which follows it.

  • At 3:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Toni: Thanks again for this...it was fun. Too true about Hip Hop.
    While the percentage numbers are highly suspect( Nielsen doesn't track sales by race) Hip Hop has been mainstream and commercialised since the late 90s.

    White suburbanites who'd be terrified to show at a Public Enemy concert in '88 will shell out hundreds for 50 and think themselves daring. I'm a case in point. Not that I'd go to 50-Cent concert- Lord no, but that I'm a middle-aged white woman. I'm not cutting-edge; Hip Hop has become soft.

    wombat:That would work, except everyone else in this class begins to bliss out the moment they hear " She Loves You, Yeah Yeah Yeah".

    Ben: another reason why it's my best of 2007 album,( unless something mind-blowing gets released in the next six weeks).

  • At 4:21 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    fiddy played for a grand total of 70 minutes on Friday night, apparently.

    Nice work if you can get it.


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