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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: "I Feel Beautiful" by Robyn Hitchcock

Earworm Weekly: "I Feel Beautiful" by Robyn Hitchcock

Not all earworms are former Billboard Top Ten successes, well-known by everyone who hears even a few notes of their melody. Some earworms can be obscure songs that come to have personal meaning to the listener. They get burned into…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Seals and Crofts' "Get Closer"

Earworm Weekly: Seals and Crofts' "Get Closer"

These days, after writing this column for so long, the earworms practically generate themselves. As I wrote my previous column on the Ghostbusters theme, for example, I listened to a lot of songs where Ray Parker Jr. played session…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Daniel Powter's "Bad Day"

Earworm Weekly: Daniel Powter's "Bad Day"

Some songs become earworms due to their utilitarian value. They cheer you up when you're down, they get you through your morning routine before the coffee kicks in, they help you time your reps at the gym. These songs…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly – “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Earworm Weekly – “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

No, I haven't seen the movie yet. Don't ask me why. I hear you all saying that it's fun and feminist and all that good stuff, but it just hasn't happened yet. Chalk it up to the contrarian impulse. One…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: "She Drives Me Crazy" By Fine Young Cannibals

Earworm Weekly: "She Drives Me Crazy" By Fine Young Cannibals

I can't stop the way I feel. This tune's so catchy, it just doesn't seem real. Won't it ever set me free? It's everything an earworm should be. Translation: This song drives me crazy. I really want to like…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: The Many Versions of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You"

Earworm Weekly: The Many Versions of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You"

I'm out of town on vacation this week, and my “beach reading” is Mark Binelli's new novel Screamin' Jay Hawkins' All Time Greatest Hits, a fictional retelling of Hawkins' life story. The title is a sly little joke, because Hawkins,…
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Music, All Shook Down

Earworm Weekly: "Let's Pretend We're Married" By Prince

I've been avoiding writing about Prince for weeks, partly in overcompensation. Left to my druthers, I could probably pen a year's worth of Prince memorial earworm columns easily. Whether you all would read them, though, would be another matter. Nonetheless,…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: "We Will Rock You" by Queen

Earworm Weekly: "We Will Rock You" by Queen

I was all set to write about Queen this week, inspired by Chuck Klosterman's glib dismissal of the band as likely to be forgotten by future historians of rock music. Are you kidding me? Queen were masters of the earworm form.…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: "I'll Be Around" By The Spinners

Earworm Weekly: "I'll Be Around" By The Spinners

No matter what the calendar may say, summer has arrived, and here is how I can tell. I was standing in front of the Macarthur BART station after work this week when a vintage convertible rolled to a stop at…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: "The Bad Touch" By The Bloodhound Gang

Earworm Weekly: "The Bad Touch" By The Bloodhound Gang

I went out dancing on Friday night, at a small club in West Oakland. In fact, the club was so tiny, and I arrived so early, that for a good while my sweetie and I were the only two people…
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Music, All Shook Down

Earworm Weekly: Shocking Blue's "Venus"

If you live long enough, and make certain life choices, it is more or less inevitable that you will find an earworm from your childhood being used – unironically – as a teaching tool in an elementary-school curriculum. (I still…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: The Bangle's "Manic Monday"

Earworm Weekly: The Bangle's "Manic Monday"

I'm not ready to write about Prince yet. I'm not ready to distill his immense body of work down to one eulogy. I can't yet find the words to sum up in a tidy little column even a slice of…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Kylie Minogue's "Can't You Get You Out Of My Head"

Earworm Weekly: Kylie Minogue's "Can't You Get You Out Of My Head"

There's no point in pussyfooting around about it. Kylie Minogue's “Can't Get You Out of My Head” is the Platonic ideal of an earworm. If this column were to have a theme song, this would be it. Does this song…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Beck's "New Pollution"

Earworm Weekly: Beck's "New Pollution"

I have a theory about Beck. I believe that his career illustrates the transformation of nerds into hipsters – in other words, the mainstreaming of geekdom. This transition began in the 1990s and has had profound effects well into the…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Fun's "We Are Young"

Earworm Weekly: Fun's "We Are Young"

When Fun’s song “We Are Young” first broke in early 2012, I took an instant dislike to it. This was partly because it sounded slow, heavy and ponderous. The other part of it was that Nate Ruess' braying voice…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Knock on Wood

Earworm Weekly: Knock on Wood

After years of absence the rainy season finally rolled in this week with authority, announcing its presence with the kind of stormy weather we rarely see in the area. Last week it was thunderstorms over the Oakland hills; this weekend,…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: “Skyfall”

Earworm Weekly: “Skyfall”

Sam Smith's new single “Writing's on the Wall” is the worst James Bond theme ever written. I don't care if it hit number one on the U.K. charts. I don't care if Rolling Stone called it “elegant,” “sumptuous,” and “a…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: "Wuthering Heights”

Earworm Weekly: "Wuthering Heights”

Why hasn't anyone published a book-length study of Kate Bush's music yet? We've seen a couple of biographies come and go, and if we're lucky, Ann Powers' book-length examination of Bush's album The Dreaming will be published sometime before the…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Accidental Mash-up Featuring Johnny Rivers vs. Dion

Earworm Weekly: Accidental Mash-up Featuring Johnny Rivers vs. Dion

It must be autumn and harvest season, because my ears are full of corn. Hybrid corn. That's right, at the moment I have not one but two songs stuck in my head, welded together by the miracle of matching time…
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Music, All Shook Down Earworm Weekly: Whose “Sexual Healing” Is It Anyway?

Earworm Weekly: Whose “Sexual Healing” Is It Anyway?

I love the music of Marvin Gaye as much as I love the music of any musician. Not just the widely acknowledged genius of the album What's Going On or his definitively menacing version of “I Heard It Through the…
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