I’m bugged. Somehow, things are getting into my brain, messing with my ability to concentrate while out on the road, and generally driving me nuts.
Those things are earworms.
If you haven’t heard the term before, it refers to those songs that play in your head — over and over and over. If you try to drive them out, they just get louder.
Now, I normally wouldn’t mind a song in my head. I like music. The trouble is, the songs that have been playing lately are unwelcome, because they’re a) irritating, b) bad songs in general, or c) bad biking songs in particular.
A bad song is anything that I never enjoyed listening to, even if it was a hit. Most pop songs of the ’70s and ’80s fall into this category, but there were some real gems from earlier than that. Do you remember “A white sport coat, and a pink carnation…I’m all dressed up for the dance”? Or, “Honey,” by Bobby Goldsboro? “See the tree, how big it’s grown…”
Not only are they awful songs, but they’re particularly bad for biking. When I’m out on the road, I want something that helps me maintain my pace: Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild,” or most anything by the Rolling Stones. But those songs never invade my cranial innards.
Motown? I love Motown! At first blush, it might seem like the beat is a tad on the slow side. But “I Can’t Help Myself” by the Four Tops (“Sugarpie, honeybunch”) has a beat that you want to hit on the downstroke of your pedal. I have been known to sing “Tears of a Clown” out loud while pedaling down a lonesome country road.
The bad songs don’t have that kind of beat. Or, they’re way too slow. Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady” is a great song, but you don’t want its syrupy strains spreading through your head when you’re trying to keep up a 15 mile per hour pace.
The worst one, though, was the one that got me last week. It wasn’t even a song, but a commercial jingle. For a regional chain of liquor stores.
Got cheer, all through the year — Chocolate, coffee, cheese — And a case of cold beer
Okay, it’s kind of catchy.
Spec’s fine spirits and finer foods — World class service — It’s all about you
But there’s a major problem with it:
Shop Spec’s — Low price amazing — Here’s to you (shout!) — Here’s to savings!
It’s only 30 seconds long! If I’m out for a two-hour ride on the weekend, and that’s the only thing playing in my head… it’s enough to drive a cyclist nuts.
How do you deal with earworms on a ride?
(If you’re not from Texas, and you’ve never heard the Spec’s jingle, here you go — but don’t say I didn’t warn you!)