Friday, January 28, 2011

Show Tunes

A friend took a snapshot of this bumpersticker recently; thought it was appropriate to share with y'all.

Thanks, Rana!

Georgy Girl

Haven't thought about or heard this song in a long time. I love the exact moment of 60's pop it represents: whimsical and seemingly innocent music and lyric giving way to internal darkness.

There's another Georgy deep inside.

Artist: The Seekers
Year: 1966
Rating: Hot!
Note: I've never seen the film. Should put it on the queue.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In

Whoa! When the lyric Let the sunshine in, face it with a grin... came to me this morning, I actually couldn't place it, though I knew the melody so well. I'm shocked and yet not at all shocked that I know this song from a Flintstones episode. And I'm also a little shocked that it's actually a song about not letting the devil in.

Artist: Pebbles Bamm-Bamm (voiced by Rebecca Page & Ricky Page)
Year: 1965
Rating: Warm

Note: John Waters used the original from 1954 in his recent movie, A Dirty Shame.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Unbelievably the first Buddy Holly song in my head since starting the blog.

Artist: Buddy Holly
Year: 1957
Rating: Warm

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Manic Monday, Redux

Last in my head on June 30, 2009. Wow, I can't believe I went the entirety of 2010 without waking up Manic Monday.

Artist: The Bangles
Year: 1986
Rating: Luke Hot

Noteworthy: I don't feel particularly manic this morning, nor is this a Monday. In fact, this is the fourth entry for "Manic Monday," and never once thus far has it been in my head on a Monday. This is the third straight Tuesday. Amber made reference to the song a few days ago, and I think that's why it's on the brain.

Monday, January 24, 2011

2010 Review: Ratings

Okay, all you in the earworm gallery. This is the last installment of my review of 2010, in which we take a gander at whether I even like the songs that are constantly, mercilessly stuck in my head. Turns out, yep, I tend to like 'em:

While the peak of 2010's graph is in the warmish-hot category and not just warm, as in 2009, the songs I was truly hot for took a bit of a dive. Overall, it's clear that the songs that really annoy the crap out of me or songs that I can just barely tolerate don't make up a big percentage of the songs I tend to wake up to. The percentages of all the songs I've blogged and rated look like this:

4.3% Cold
9.2% Lukewarm
29.5% Warm
31.4% Warmish-hot
25.7% Hot!

The caveat about the probable data skew I made last year was simply that, since I don't blog every song that gets stuck in my head, only the songs I wake up to, it's possible that the curve of all my earworms goes more toward the cold/lukewarm end in "reality." However, I'd also like to acknowledge here that I don't even blog every song I wake up to, only some of them. Often it's a time issue, but sometimes it's because it's a rerun I've just written about or it's a song I just heard on the radio and therefore am less interested in blogging about. Sometimes it's 'cause the song doesn't compel me in any way to write about it. It's arbitrary. So if I were actually diligent enough and had enough time to blog every single song I wake up with every single morning, we'd probably have a more accurate ratings curve here, one likely to skew toward the cooler end of the love/hate spectrum. Also, this blog would be beyond boring. Trust me on that one.

If you'd like to delve into the rest of the 2010 Review entries, or take a look at 2009's data, please help yourself to the handy links below! 2011's well under way now; the data just don't stop!

Peace and love,

Related entries:
2010 Review: Eras
2010 Review: Whatnot
2010 Review: Genres
2010 Review: Artists
2009 Review

Cherry Bomb

Hello, Daddy, hello, Mom...

Artist: The Runaways
Year: 1976
Rating: Luke Hot

Another song from the Bicentennial year!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Every Time You Go Away

I love how the YouTuber who posted this video is fetishizing their sound system! But you have to admit, that's some awesome audio! Props!

Also, I had *no idea* that this was actually a cover of a Hall & Oates song from 1980!! Now that I hear it, totally, totally.

Artist: Paul Young
Year: 1985
Rating: Luke Hot

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Campfire Song, Redux

A song I've blogged twice before. Last in my head on June 22, 2010. Incidentally, this song also makes me think of Barry, whose birthday it is today! Happy birthday, you.

Artist: 10,000 Maniacs & Michael Stipe
Year: 1987
Rating: Luke Hot

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Say A Little Prayer

Gave myself a fright waking up with this song this morning, and quickly looked for any new news of Aretha Franklin's pancreatic cancer. I don't exactly think that I have psychic abilities, but it's hard to explain how any of us can tap into the cultural zeitgeist at any moment. I hoped beyond hope that my earworm hadn't portended a turn south for Aretha's condition.

A quick web search yielded results that she's now denying that she had cancer and that the health problem is resolved. I'll say a little prayer for her anyway.

Artist: Aretha Franklin
Year: 1968
Rating: Luke Hot

Note: I wasn't sure at first whether it was Dionne Warwick's original that matched my mental image of the song, or if it was Aretha's. My first impulse was that it was Aretha's, and that's indeed what it turned out to be. Unless you've studied the neuropsychology of music and memory, or unless you're an earworm nerd like me, you might be suspicious about the idea that I had any one particular version of a song in my head, but this phenomenon is very real. Check out the McGill University Laboratory for Music, Perception, Cognition, and Expertise.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

This is exactly the sort of song lodged in the collective consciousness that makes writing this blog worthwhile! Why I woke up with it, I've no right idea. A look at the lyrics reveals a serious genderqueer narrative in the song that I'd never noticed before: not only is the girl described as "handsome" by the narrator (I know, not an uncommon description for a woman in those days) but at length, the daring young trapeze artist has purloined the singer's love away, trained her for the trapeze, made her "assume a masculine name" and by the last verse, she's wooing the girls in the audience who take her for the daring young man. Handsome, indeed!

It's possible (though I can't say for certain) that my first encounter with "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" was in the Popeye short from 1934, which of course I didn't see til I was a kid in the '70s, some 40-odd years later, and more than a century after the song was first published in 1867. If, in fact, my neuronal association with this song connects to Popeye, then perhaps this earworm manifested itself due to some references my pal Scott and I made several days ago to Popeye, the Robert Altman movie. Songs from said movie are also still stuck in my head from its debut thirty (gulp!) years ago. Music and memory: kind of awesome.

Artist (original): Gaston Lyle, Alfred Lee, George Leybourne
Year: 1867
Popularized: 1930s, various artists
Performed above by Henry Hall and His Orchestra, Len Berman on vocals, c. 1930s
Rating: Warm

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Review: Eras

The eras to which my earworms belong are probably the least surprising set of statistics among all this ephemera. The curves from 2009 and 2010 are nearly identical, with the great bulk of songs that get stuck in my head firmly planted within my lifetime on Earth, or close enough to it. The 1970s and 1980s still rule my mental airwaves, making up nearly 60% of all the songs I've blogged about in the last two years.

Coming up next: Ratings! And that should be the last of it!

Related entries:
2010 Review: Whatnot
2010 Review: Genres
2010 Review: Artists
2009 Review

Diff'rent Strokes Theme

Everybody's got a special kinda story.

Artist: Alan Thicke & Gloria Loring
Year: 1978
Rating: Luke Hot

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2010 Review: Whatnot

Alright! Whipping these suckers out now! Here is a—wait for it—horizontal stacked bar graph! illustrating the non-genre categories I use in my blog, the tags I affectionately refer to as the Whatnot. If any Whatnot tag is puzzling to you, please refer to the lovingly crafted Glossary to the More Arcane Categories within the "Whatnot" Tag (2009). New to 2010: the super-fun Mystery Songs tag, marking entries I've written about songs that popped into my head that I couldn't identify at the time I blogged them.

Click chart to embiggen!

More to come!

Related entries:
2010 Review: Genres
2010 Review: Artists
2009 Review

2010 Review: Genres

Okay, so here's the breakdown of the genres in my head, all neatly encapsulated in these two fancy stacked bar graphs. The first graph shows a condensation of the top 17 genres in my head for 2009, 2010, and the totals for both years of blogging. All 17 top categories are condensed into just three über categories: the "indie/alternative" category includes genres such as punk, post-punk, new wave, etc. The "rock" category includes classic rock (which I take to mean '60s and '70s rock), standard rock ('80s and beyond), hard rock, mellow singer songwriter fare, and so on. The "pop" category encompasses commercial pop, adult contemporary, and traditional pop.

Note that I only blogged at about 49% of 2009's rate in 2010, so the numbers, on the whole, are lower for last year. Still and all, it looks like the indie and rock categories fared at much the same proportions to 2009's numbers, and the pop category took a dip. Now, math is not my strong suit, so if anyone wants to offer a deeper analysis of these numbers, be my guest.

In the next chart, I've broken down the top 17 genre categories so that you, too, can geek out on the labels I attach to the various and sundry songs in my head. Whether you can discern a "commercial pop" song from a "contemporary pop" song, or care if there's a difference between new wave and synth-pop is really between you and your god. It's helpful to note, however, that most songs are tagged with multiple genre categories, so there's a lot of overlap. In addition to that, the total numbers for the genre tags way exceed the actual number of songs I blogged about for this very same reason.

*Click chart to embiggen!*

Coming soon: the stat's on ratings, eras, and who could forget the Whatnot of 2010! Woot, I say, woot!

Related entries:
2010 Review: Artists
2009 Review

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tzena Tzena Tzena

No idea why this Israeli folk song was in my head this morning. Its melody is most familiar to me, because it was repurposed as the Camp Shalom alma mater that I sang on an almost daily basis every summer of my life from age five til my early twenties. The above version is by the Wellingtons from 1964.

The most popular version of the song was the Weavers' spin, in which the simple Hebrew lyrics (encouraging the girls to go find a good army man) were replaced by English words with an entirely different narrative (about dancing and celebrating in the city square). The web search for this song yields some surprisingly wonderful results, including an Arlo Guthrie rendition in which he riffs, in signature trickster style, on the "Gaelic" language in the song, and even a cover of the Weaver's version by trashpop icon Mink Stole and L.A. drag queen Vicky Boofont! Enjoy 'em.

Artists: The Wellingtons, 1964; The Weavers, 1950; Arlo Guthrie, c. 1978; Mink Stole/Vicky Boofont, 2005.
Written by: Issachar Miron, c. 1941; English lyrics by Gordon Jenkins
Rating: Warm

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2010 Review: Artists

Hey kids! Wanna know which artists dominated my mental air waves in 2010? Here's a couple handy-dandy pie charts for ya. More statistics might follow in subsequent entries. I don't have the wherewithal to post one long detailed entry this time, but you can read the 2009 Review for shits 'n' giggles, and, you know, scientific inquiry (snicker).

A quick summary of 2010:

Number of entries: 143 (about 49% of the 292 entries from 2009). I'm averaging about 2.75 entries per week or roughly 12 per month, which is a reasonable clip, methinks.
First song blogged in 2010: Magic Dance by David Bowie
Last song blogged: Love Walks In by Van Halen
Oldest song: The Riddle Song, the origins of which go back to the 15th Century.
Newest song: Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire. Definitely an up-and-coming artist on my mental jukebox.

So here are the top artists in my head, 2010:

And here's a compiled pie chart for 2009 & 2010, together. As you can see, REM made the biggest jump in numbers last year (they went from 4 entries to 11), but our boys in Sloan, so far, are still way on top. Historically speaking, their lead can't hold more than another year or so.

Keep tunin' in for more stats on 2010's ratings spread and other ephemera that you absolutely need to know!

Yesterday Once More, Redux

I had this song in my head a year ago, almost to the day. This has happened a couple times before, as well. Not sure if it's some sort of cyclical memory, or just a coinkidink. It arrived on my mind the night before I woke with it, because of hearing a certain Belle & Sebastian song that reminded me of the melody.

Happy New Year, y'all!


Artist: The Carpenters
Year: 1973
Rating: Luke Hot