Anyone who knows me well knows I deal with the constant effect of tinnitus and of the subconscious mental gymnastics that occur to deal with it
Most of the time it’s tuned to a very ignorable background of the Super Mario Brother’s theme. To this day, I have no idea how this recurring ear worm stuck since I never owned a Nintendo gaming system (although, I did spend endless hours at friends houses watching them dominate their turn in a right of survivor succession – because, let’s face it I sucked and it was their machine).
However, over time, as we’ve covered a multitude of times on this blog, it just so happens I can force-tune almost to anything I desire. And, being a musician since my toddler days, in a family of non-musicians with an unintentional musical obsession, who went on to study music at the undergraduate level, market it professionally and collect it as a hobby I have what was once calculated as over 300 consecutive days of music available to me at an intimate level (meaning a physical or digital copy printed or recorded that I’ve read from or listened to multiple times within the last three years or otherwise have studied extensively outside of that same time)
When you have a bank of music you can turn to that is that large and you have the exposure to literally millions of other random melodies that insidiously infect the average person’s mind which can also borrow into my own it’s only apropos I would eventually want to create an ear worm diary.
And, my inspiration for such an endeavor is two fold —
First, I realized the other day in doing a blog topic audit for the new year I miss doing a regular feature like what Spam Poetry used to be; and
Second, it’s the unique thing I have to write about now that my toddler is now beginning to adopt certain songs for their own. I’ll probably make their songs a separate entry, but the process of noting what songs they are becoming truly responsive to has actually taught me to pay attention to what songs I am revisiting myself. The underlying process might not be related but the idea of understanding why the Padawan is adopting an inspiration to certain songs is inspiring this recurring blog theme which I’m sure will become the foundation for expanding Padawan’s songs into their own theme.
At this point, you’re probably desperately wondering what the fuck song is producing said entry?
Is it something blissfully classic like the Beatles or Benny Goodman?
Is it a retrospective mournfulness of the anniversaries of passings like Lemmy or Bowie?
Or long past deaths like Etta James or Hank Williams?
C’mon. That would be entirely toooooooo preconceived and honestly disingenuous to craft an entry from.
It’s an embarrassing teen-retro throwback from a genre I don’t even actively enjoy: boy-band R&B
But, it’s entirely useful in trying to “sing” to a kid that reacts to “any song” that has any semblence of an upbeat melody
Thus, I find myself stuck incessantly on “S.C.H.O.O.L.” by New Edition, circa 1985’s All For Love.
Yes. Believe it or not, my mid-to-late-80s musical identity even tred on such a manufactured pop entity. Eh, my younger sister’s interests, my mom’s experimentation, and my late elementary school’s “love” interests all intersected to make this so.
It falls square in the middle of the unceremonious departure of Bobby Brown from the group and the rise of Bel-Biv-Devo in their influence before their own departure (and the group’s ultimate demise). It also showcases prominent rapping before the usage became cliched in pop songs.
For 80s music fans the single is barely a blip on their radar. For musicologists its somewhat more significant due to it’s stylistic achievements melding rapped versus and sung chorus and even more notably doing so with compositional elements that do not draw heavily on samples or quotes from previous songs.
So, why am I finding myself suddenly drawn to a song I probably haven’t heard in decades?
Like I mentioned earlier, my Padawan.
“S c h o o l, you got to go to school and beat that bell.”
If you want to motivate a kid that responds to melodic repetition to be excited about getting out of the car for daycare you sing it. And, as entirely lame as the sentiment of the song is (especially for a rock/metal kid where anti-education tropes are an unfortunate cliche) it’s catchy as fuck.
The other night the song got stuck in my head and the next day I found myself singing it to him while unbuckingling the five point belt of his seat while dropping him off. His response was so excited that the damned ear worm stuck and literally any time anything comes up about “school” or “daycare” or fucking learning in general in the last few days my brain drifts back to the craptastic lead in the chorus.
by the way, I fucking hate spelling. the last godddamned thing I want is a song about spelling stuck in my head