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.
Want something stuck in your head? Murfie makes it easy. Buy CDs in our marketplace starting at $2 ,and you’ll see what I mean.
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.
12/22- On this day in 1981, at a rock and roll memorabilia auction in London, Beatles memorabilia was auctioned off to fans. A suit John Lennon wore onstage sold for £2,300, a letter from Paul McCartney sold for £2,200 and a sculpture of John and Yoko Ono sold for £4200.
12/23- On this day in 1977, English singer and songwriter Cat Stevens formally changed his name to Yusef Islam. Islam will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
It’s Halloweeeen time! Even though it’s not the 31st, it’s safe to say that many folks will be celebrating the year’s spookiest holiday this weekend.
Our staffers have some great Halloween album picks for you, along with great stories to share (with pictures)!
Name: Gao Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Thriller (by Michael Jackson) has always been a favorite. In fact, my family did the Thriller dance at my sister’s wedding reception. Best Halloween costume ever: My sisters made me a dinosaur costume one year. They even built a tail! I stomped around and called myself Gaozilla. What I plan to dress up as this year: This is the first year I’ve bought a costume and didn’t make it. I’ll be a pirate. ARGH!
Name: Daniella Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas by Danny Elfman. Best Halloween costume ever: Nerd costumes have included Companion Cube (from Portal), Cthulhu, Harry Potter, and more nerdiness… What I plan to dress up as this year: This year I’m going as Lumpy Space Princess (assuming I can find myself a purple beehive wig).
Name: Tiffany Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Bloodletting by Concrete Blonde. Best Halloween costume ever: It’s a toss-up between Poison Ivy, Medusa, and a dead woman. I don’t have a digital picture of any of those, but I’ve got a picture of my costume as the Moon a few years back. What I plan to dress up as this year: Not sure yet. And even if I knew, I never reveal my costumes before Halloween.
Name: Zach Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Scary Sound Effects (because I remember ripping it). Best Halloween costume ever: Rorschach because I have a mask with an ink blot that warps because of the temperature of your breathing vs. the cold air. What I plan to dress up as this year: I’ll probably hand out candy.
Name: John Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Litanies of Satan by Diamanda Galàs (Close second: Schrei X). Best Halloween costume ever: A few years ago, my band Fambly Fun! performed a Halloween show as Will Smith. That’s right, we had FIVE Will Smiths. We played all the classics from Big Willie Style and Willennium, and even Willow Smith’s then-new “Whip My Hair.” It was a ton of fun. What I plan to dress up as this year: I like to dress up as something timely, yet unexpected. Last year, I dressed up as the Russian feminist punk rock protest band Pussy Riot. This year, who knows!
Name: Steve Favorite album for fall/Halloween:John Denver, classic fall Americana. Best Halloween costume ever: I went as a Power Ranger when I was about 9. I had a glove that makes karate chop noises when you squeezed the thumb to the rest of the fingers. It was sooooo freaking cool. What I plan to dress up as this year: The Man in the Yellow Hat. My girlfriend is going as Curious George.
Name: Noah Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Halloween’s all about the movies, right? And what’s a better combination than Bernard Herrmann’s unforgettable scores to Alfred Hitchcock’s most terrifying movies. Best Halloween costume ever: I went as Sally Bowles from Cabaret, but the makeup ended up looking a bit like Malcolm McDowell from A Clockwork Orange. It kind of worked anyway. What I plan to dress up as this year: I’m thinking of going as a Mondrian painting, but I have a habit of changing my mind at the last minute.
Name: Matt Favorite album for fall/Halloween:Watermark by Enya (music for relaxing until Halloween is over). Best Halloween costume ever: I’ll be the party pooper in the group and go on the record that I’ve never really enjoyed dressing up for Halloween—not as a kid, and certainly not as an adult. I find it a bit disturbing that Halloween has become a bigger draw for adults than children. If Halloween need be celebrated at all, at least let the kids regain the run of things. What I plan to dress up as this year: I’m not planning to dress up again this year, for obvious reasons.
Name: Marc Favorite album for fall/Halloween:The Good, the Bad & the Queen. Meticulously somber, strolling music for when chill winds throw leaves past your feet. Best Halloween costume ever: A few years over the past decade I’ve iterated a costume inspired by a recurrent nightmare I used to have. I once made a bellhop at the Concourse jump back as I crept along the street. What I plan to dress up as this year: Probably no costume, since I probably won’t have the time to put into making one.
Name: Preston Favorite album for fall/Halloween:October Project:) Best Halloween costume ever: My best? That was Satan working to recruit a manager ready to to Sell Their Soul to get in “Below Ground Level!!” managing the exclusive franchise I had just negotiated to open a line of Starbucks cafes in The 9th Circle of Hell. My pitch was that it’s “…the only place in the universe where another Starbucks can possibly improve the neighborhood.” It was a play on a joke in this animation, but you might want to watch the whole set for context. What I plan to dress up as this year: It’ll be a game day decision. One possibility is that I’ll dress in a suit with a giant American flag lapel clip holding a pacifier on a red, white, and blue ribbon, with “I <3 Ayn Rand” stenciled on an Elephant on a T-shirt underneath. I’ll blackmail people into giving me some of their candy by threatening to do something that would embarrass us both. If they foolishly give me candy, I’ll come back later, scream and cry loud enough to be heard that they have way too much candy, and whine that they won’t negotiate with me to meet me part way and give me some of the rest. Ideally, this will be a team costume and include someone who plays the world’s tiniest violin each time I don’t get what I want. If things go poorly for them, I might also just go as The Ghost of The Republican Party, or conversely if democrats cooperate in sacking the poor, I might be an old person looking for information on which cat food tastes best.
Name: Leah Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Something about Nick Drake is just perfect for an autumn stroll. Best Halloween costume ever: A tie between Pam from the Office (I found Jim on State St!) and a Frenchman (fake cigarette, I promise). Oh and I went as an old woman when I was in second or third grade, which was hilarious. What I plan to dress up as this year: A flower :D I found directions for an awesome DIY flower headpiece thing online, and my rest of the body will be the stem – a “Leahlac”, you might say.
Name: Tyler Favorite album for fall/Halloween:For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver. An album to listen to bundled up with your favorite blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. Best Halloween costume ever: Don’t know what the name of the costume is, but I was dressed as a headless guy who was carrying his own head in his hands and the head was my head. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture :(
What I plan to dress up as this year: I’ll be handing out candy this year, so no dressing up for me. But our two dogs will be dressed in Packer uniforms!
Name: Kayla Favorite album for fall/Halloween: Anything with The Monster Mash. Best Halloween costume ever: Probably last year when I was a strawberry, since I made the costume by myself. The only thing is, everyone thought I was a watermelon—even though I had yellow seeds! =\ Some other notable costumes: Esmeralda, Avril Lavigne, and Zombie Tinkerbell. What I plan to dress up as this year:Amy Winehouse (I bought a wig!). I’ll have fake tattoos, thick eyeliner, an empty bottle of Jack, and all that good stuff. My roommate and I are planning on having a séance for her on the 31st.
Big thank you to all the moms who had fun picking out pictures for this post! Have a fun and safe Halloween, everyone!