Embarrassing songs

Embarrassing songs

Can’t get you out of my head…

Holly Kirkwood stands up for the songs you know you’re meant to hate but can’t help liking. Thank you, earworms…

Despite peppering songs with pillow-bitingly painful lines such as ‘And now your sheets are dirty/The streets are dirty too but /You never look back on what you’re gonna do,’ I can’t help but like Razorlight.

It’s not through conscious choice, I assure you. It’s not because I think they’re cool, or attractive, or original, but they are apparently the only group at the moment which satisfy my need for full-blown earnest fake rock and rollery. And they won’t leave my brain. It’s not something I’m proud of, but this yen seems to be part of my genetic make-up, along with similarly unexplainable appetites for oatcakes, or impoverished men of a musical bent.

In fact I had no choice in the matter at all… a little while ago Golden Touch just would not, to quote a remarkably fine example of what I’m talking about, get itself out of my head. Now their new song, whatever it’s called, is up to the same tricks. And there is nothing else for it but to buy the blessed thing and try to exorcise it by virtue of having it on rotation 24/7.

I’m not sure what it is which makes songs stick in your head. I have heard it mooted that the Kaiser Chiefs instilled themselves in the consciousness of the nation purely by writing choruses which are mindnumbingly repetitive and therefore impossible to banish from the cerebral cortex.

Do we have a choice? Was there a subliminal message in that Gnarls Barkley song which commanded us all to go forth immediately and purchase?

Academians are actually studying the phenomenon at some university or other, looking for a cure for the so called ‘earworm’ which injects songs into our brain irreparably (apparently women are more susceptible to this phenomenon than men, because they tend to be more pathological or some such rubbish, but that’s a whole other article).

Razorlight are only, of course, the latest in a line of cringe-inducing bands with which I have thrown in my lot over the years. Embarrassed at the trauma of buying Rocks, by Primal Scream in public, I think I then progressed on to bribing my little brother to buy me the Black Crowes’ Sting Me. At least computers have saved us from the near death-by-embarrassment experience of having the fit, albeit loserish, person behind the counter do that sideways glace which says so much more than words ever could about the cruel assumptions they’ve just made about your life entirely based on your purchase. But there we have it, it can’t be helped. I like complete rubbish sometimes: it makes me happy.

And I know I’m not alone. It may not be Razorlight, but everybody has particular bands or songs, old and new, which they sneak onto their i-Pod and listen to relentlessly without, ahem, mentioning it to anyone else in the hope they’ll soon recover.

Here is the list quickly put together following a haphazard straw poll of friends and loved ones:

On Our Own from the Ghostbusters II soundtrack – Bobby Brown
Winds of Change – the Scorpions
Hindu Times – Oasis
Gotta Get Through This – Daniel Beddingfield
Jailbird/Rocks – Primal Scream
Sk8r Boi – Avril Lavigne
All The Small Things/What’s My Age Again – Blink 182
Ballroom Blitz – Calibretto 13
Knights of Cydonia – Muse

So should I fight the good fight and, instead of terrible songs penned by somebody who I happen to have it on good authority actually thinks he’s a better songwriter than Bob Dylan, listen only to Peel sessions of Ivor Cutler pre ’85, and outtakes from Shiny Beast in an effort to retrain my brain?

Personally I think I’ll take the rubbish and I suspect you may too. While I am generally speaking a paragon of healthy-eating virtue, every now and then it does feel pretty darn good to nip into southern fried chicken on the way home from an evening out and get covered head to toe in ketchup and grease. It’s only nice if it’s naughty anyway.


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