Warning: This article contains content that may cause severe psychological annoyance. For better or for worse, these are songs that enter the deepest recesses of my subconscious and squat the land of my cerebral campground like an unwanted relative around the holidays. These are not necessarily “bad” songs. However, upon hearing them in one’s head for the ten thousandth time, the lines between “good” and “bad” become nonexistent. The songs become, instead, perpetual at best.
My mind is a psychotic radio dial. When I wake up in the morning, music immediately begins to swell in my head whether I press the play button or not. I do not have a radio alarm clock; it seems as if I was born with one already installed. Some days this is a blessing. Who wouldn’t want to wake up and start the day with Elvis Costello or Norah Jones crooning them through their morning routine? Or maybe a bit of Madama Butterfly for a dramatic edge to the day? I like these days.
Then there are other days, or sometimes even weeks, where I find myself waking up to an immediate crescendo of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” from Thriller. I couldn’t explain it at first; I hadn’t heard this song in years. In an attempt to force it out of my head, I tried listening to it over and over again throughout my daily activities. Brushing my teeth, I had it playing in the other room. Smearing butter over toast in the kitchen, it was blaring away. Leading a 1970’s disco troupe in a synchronized dance-off in my living room, you bet it was playing. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your sanity to put a spring in your step.
How did I eventually cure myself of this Michael Jackson madness? A chance encounter with Mott the Hoople’s 1972 smash hit, “All the Young Dudes.” I didn’t stand a chance against this song: from the mighty and infectious guitar solo in the opening bars, to the glam-rock bell tones of the chromatically descending chorus, the song loops in my head like rock and roll funeral march. The song was written by David Bowie specifically for the band upon hearing that they were on the verge of breaking up. (Fun fact: the song that Bowie had originally offered the band was “Suffragette City,” which would later become a hit on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Mott the Hoople turned it down.)
Speaking of glam-rock, we come to the greatest ear-worm of them all: “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” by The Darkness. This 2003 release is almost a caricature of itself; ear-piercing falsetto vocals and over-the-top guitar and synth transport the listener to the heyday of the 1970s. The chorus is catchy to the point of being almost unforgettable. In my own case, I literally cannot forget it. And I think I’m okay with that.
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Grant is a Communications Intern at Murfie. He has played the guitar nearly his entire life, and his music and writings have been featured in international publications. He makes his home in both the United States and Italy, and will always be traveling in search of something.