Earworms of November 2015

There's almost never a time when I don't hear music playing. Unfortunately for those around me, they often hear the same music, mediated by my humming, singing, or, especially, whistling through my teeth. Yeah, I'm that guy. 

I've always been curious about this, because it's so unconscious, and many of the songs are not songs I would seek out to listen to. So this past month as an experiment, when I noticed that I had a song going through my mind, I broke out of my mindless reverie long enough to write down the title. 

While some of these might be tracks on albums I listened to hundreds of times in the past, some are just songs I heard on the radio and would never claim to hold affection for. But I'm not sure if it's honest to say that I actively dislike some of these songs—obviously some part of my brain likes them. 

I'm linking to the versions of the songs that come into my head, where I can find them. 

These start in reverse order, from the beginning of November, to the end. Don't judge. 

Let's kick it off with with perhaps the most embarrassing entry:

OK, now let's really get the party started. This one has long been in my heavy mental rotation:

This next one, a tune from my old band the Horsies, was swirling through my brain because someone had posted a link to this video on our Facebook page a few days earlier:

Now, here's Keef!

This is one of those songs I find myself singing and I wonder, "Where the hell did this come from?" I don't even own Dark Side of the Moon, and I'm sure I haven't heard the song in years (until now, searching out the video). Haunting tune, though:

Another one I'm sure I hadn't heard forever:

Ugh. Am I proud about a second appearance by the Association, with neither of them being Windy? No, no I am not:

While the Mamas & the Papas' and Eddie Hazel's covers are both in the mental record bin, Bobby's fantastic version is the one that comes up most often:

No mystery about why this song came up—I was reading the book at the time. I've only ever heard Benatar's version of this, and never voluntarily. The refrain sticks in my mind like flypaper:

This one is definitely in my earworm top 10, and has been for decades:

Next, a timeless effing classic:

Another one from the heavy mental rotation:

After that, this lovely ditty:

The next few tunes I noted were repeats, none of them by the Association, thank God. Then I veer into my old art rock crush. It's pretty weird that you can find obscurities like this on YouTube. Scoff all you want, Phil Collins kills it on the tubs on this tune. I also like bass pedals. Sue me.

This is another one that had me wondering where the hell it came from when I noticed it going through my head. Shows you what millions of radio plays will do to get your work in the collective unconscious:

I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. Imagine being me:

Back to Genesis's Foxtrot album, for some reason. Give this one a chance. It really gets going around the seven-minute mark:

I must've been on my Genesis period this week, although the next two tunes are late rather than early Gabriel-period. I hadn't remembered that they were the final two back-to-back tracks on the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway album until I found this video that presents them together. More bass pedals! More Phil killing it on the drums!

The next two entries were a repeat from earlier in the list. And then, the mighty Prince Buster. Nice!

God, what a good-bad/bad-good earworm this one is:

Another head-scratcher. What can I say? The world of full of stupid songs, and lots of 'em, like this one, are stuck in my head:

Sigh. I wish I could say this was the only Frankie Vallie earworm lodged in my brain:

This one's from my second ManChildATX record. Until now I had no idea that CD Baby provided all my tracks to YouTube, and that YouTube auto-generated videos for them. Anyway, enjoy:

Here's a palate cleanser:

This next one comes up all the time, because I sing it to my dog, changing the lyrics to "Your Boyfriend's Coming." When she hears it, she knows she's going to the park with Louis, her boyfriend, who is a Boston Terrier. 

I've got a mind like an indiscriminate steel trap:

 After that, another one of my ManChildATX tunes came up. While searching for it on YouTube, I discovered Juvenile released a track with the same name. Weird. Mine was first:

I'm reading Costello's Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, so this. No apologies, I love this song:

A classic I know from the Routes of Jamaican Music collection:

Wow, I'm amazed I can't find a YouTube video with the original track for the next entry on my list, Radioactive by the early and incredibly influential (on me) Austin punk band Terminal Mind. I did find a (very slow) cover version by these guys. It doesn't come close to the original, but I credit them for keeping the song alive:

Check out this Terminal Mind song to get an idea of what they were actually like. 

Gallery: Tied in Knots—The full dog poo bags of summer 2015

My work documenting the legacy of the defective human beings who pick up their dogs' excrement in dog poo bags and then just toss it on the ground or wherever the hell they feel like it continues. 

You'll notice that most of these seven poo bags have been carefully knotted at the top. I feel this gets us closer to understanding the unfathomable dichotomous impulses competing within the cretins responsible. On the one hand, they pick up the poo and tie the bag in a knot. So far, so good. If the story ended there, you'd think, "This is a reasonable person not so very different from myself." On the other hand, they just fling the full poo bags away to become someone else's problem, leading you to think, "Who are these reprehensible monsters?" 

Therein lies the mystery, and, I feel, the essence of art.

R. Malley


Shadows cast, polyethylene-wrapped feces lasts.

Shadows cast, polyethylene-wrapped feces lasts.

Golden hour amid the leaves, with full poo bag. 

Golden hour amid the leaves, with full poo bag. 

Fluorescent green o'er stanky brown. Plus, sticks. 

Fluorescent green o'er stanky brown. Plus, sticks. 

Between a juice box and a hard place. 

Between a juice box and a hard place. 

On the edge of a surface collision. With dog poo inside. 

On the edge of a surface collision. With dog poo inside. 

All is lost.

All is lost.

Dappled light 'neath scudding clouds. Plus a full poo bag.

Dappled light 'neath scudding clouds. Plus a full poo bag.


Chumpass link-bait site thinks Jim Morrison is alive and transmogrified into Steven Tyler

I was on some site somewhere reading something when I saw an ad for one of those obnoxious multi-page click-bait features, "17 Celebrities Who Are Aging Terribly."

Ordinarily, I avoid that shit like the plague, but every once in a while, something moves me to click. This time I clicked because the thumbnail with the link was a photo of Clint Howard (Opie's little brother) that I could've sworn was a Drew Friedman caricature, and I wanted to have a closer look:

Here's a Drew Friedman (love him!) caricature for reference:

Irony number one is that nowhere in this execrable web feature of 17 badly aging celebrities is Clint Howard mentioned or pictured! Ha! Irony number two is that Clint Howard is the "celebrity" they chose to feature in their ad. It's hard for me to imagine someone somewhere saying, "Hey, Barry! You wouldn't believe how that Clint Howard pic converted!"

And irony number three? Well, here's irony number three. Words fail:

Video battle: AOL "futurist" Shingy vs. hip hop's Chingy

Chingy is a hip hop artist who seemed poised for domination in the early '00s, and then kinda fizzled out. (Here's what happened to him.) Brilliant? No. Entertaining? Very. I love the dude's flow. Plus, like me, he's from St. Louis, though I suspect we might've grown up in slightly different neighborhoods.

Shingy is a futurist at AOL, where he earns a nice dollar by stringing together interactive marketing catchphrases in ways that are just indecipherable enough to make people think that he is being profound. 

I am able to watch all 3:44 of Chingy's Right Thurr video. I can't make it much past the 90 second mark of the Shingy video without wanting to stick long needles in my eyes. How about you?

My audition tape to be the fill-in announcer on This American Life

The radio program This American Life is known for bringing a diverse array of non-traditional American voices to the radio. And by non-traditional American voices, I mean actual voices that don't sound like people you normally hear on the radio. 
The people you normally hear on the radio have polished, pleasant voices. This American Life takes it as a point of pride that the voices on their show are not that. In fact, host Ira Glass recently did a segment (click the right arrow under "Act Two") acknowledging that his show was responsible in part for the proliferation of "vocal fry"-inflected voices on the airwaves. What is vocal fry? It's the raspy, clicky vocal sound you get when you try to speak in a soft conversational tone, while simultaneously trying to project your voice for radio. Or when you just want to sound like a valley girl. 
Vocal fry (or, more properly, glottal fry) is produced by speaking only from the vocal chords while leaving one's chest and diaphragm completely out of the equation. Ruminating over why the annoying technique had become so prevalent among the presenters on his show, Glass was forced to admit that perhaps it was because he was its leading exponent—he speaks in 100% glottal fry. Yeah, it probably makes sense that when your boss, one of the most influential people in radio, has found great success speaking like a munchkin, you'll try to talk like a munchkin, too. 
But not all that long ago, the show took its flaunting of the non-traditional radio voice to a new extreme. The advertising inserts for the show—heard at the beginning, middle and end of each episode, are now voiced by a human gerbil. In my mind, I imagine this kid being the This American Life intern when one day Ira Glass hears him say, "OK, who had the decaf soy latte?" And he immediately says, "Kid, I'm going to make you a public radio s-s-s-s-somebody."
Anyway, at the top of the post you can hear the actual This American Life announcer guy, followed by my audition to fill in for him on days when his voice sounds too normal.