It’s as inevitable as getting sunburnt the moment you ignore your mother’s warnings about not wearing sunscreen. It’s as catastrophic as going your whole life believing that it’s actually butter. It’s as crippling as learning you had a long-lost twin all along, but also learning that this twin is in no way evil. What is being described is the “Curse of the Catchy Song” (for efficiency purposes we will just call it the “Curse”). The Curse is a growing epidemic. With the recent release of songs like “Friday” or “Call Me Maybe” it has come to fruition that the Curse is again alive and kicking, and that we, as a nation, must do our best to fight it. Intense scientific research, using science stuff, is currently being administered across the country in hopes of finding a cure for the Curse, but for now all that can be done is to hope and pray you don’t fall victim to hearing one of the latest catchy songs.
The Curse has existed, for the most part, since the beginning of time. Some of the earliest forms of writing contain nods to a certain disease that crippled entire populations due to “music-related insanity.” During the Classical Era even some of Beethoven’s work was banned from performance after it was deemed “too memorable.” Without going into further historic detail, because at some point examples become meaningless, it is clear that the Curse has affected our ancestors since the dawn of time. The Curse does not discriminate between race, gender, or even the amount of feathering in one’s mullet. From the creation of music, the banging of sticks and rocks, the Curse has given our daydreams a soundtrack and our friends a reason to hate us more (due to our humming of the tune, not the total lack of personal hygiene the majority of us experience).
The reason the Curse is being written about and discussed today can be blamed on one Canadian singer, Miss Carly Rae Jepsen. While Miss Jepsen may have graced the world with an American Top 40 masterpiece, she has also brought the world one of the most horrifyingly catchy tunes in history. This is of course a reference to her song “Call Me Maybe.” While “Call Me Maybe” is a song of zero meaning, it carries a hook that becomes ingrained in the listener’s brain within seconds. Miss Jepsen seemingly mastered everything that makes a catchy song and placed into one, thought-deafening tune. In order to further breakdown the song’s success and utter brain-melting fame, News4Mass created some criteria that all catchy songs seem to have in common.
#1 – The lyrics, out of context, make zero sense
For this think of Rebecca Black’s song “Friday.” Following the opening barrage of “yeahs” Miss Black goes about describing her morning. Now think, if it wasn’t for the neat tune playing in the background no one would give two shits about what Rebecca Black does at 7 am. To be honest we’re all glad that she’s “gotta be fresh,” but to be Clark Gable for a second, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” And neither should you!
Now examine “Call Me Maybe.” Looking at the lyrics it could easily be assumed that Miss Jepsen is describing an experience with a male prostitute. Skeptical? How about the lyrics “pennies and dimes for a kiss?” Sounds a bit prostitution-ish, doesn’t it? And the entire song is about how she barely knows a guy, but is willing to flaunt her phone number around. Did her parents teach her nothing!? It’s 2012, the world is full of weirdos, yet she is totally willing to give her contact information away as though it were a handout for Bingo Night at the local nursing home. Also, the song is based on Miss Jepsen’s lust for looks in a guy she just recently met. If they were actually close friends they would have each other’s numbers by now anyways. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, that guy you just handed your number to may also be the owner of that weird, unmarked van you always see parked outside your house.
All in all, a closer examination of the lyrics to your catchy song will leave you with more questions than answers and a quizzical sense of “what the hell am I listening to?”
#2 – It must be a good walking pace song
Now this may sound ridiculous, but it’s true. Almost all catchy songs can be sung at a good walking pace. The songs make you want to get up and move, not sulk and think about how you had to flush your pet goldfish down the toilet when you were five.
For an added bonus of fun listen to your favorite catchy song and watch people walk by. This is extremely fun to do while people watching. A personal favorite is Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It,” try it out, it’s sure to make you laugh. Below is the music video, after watching it and laughing at the 80s play it again and watch people walk by. If you don’t laugh we have a serious problem.
#3 – When sung in public, the song must make you sound like an idiot
No one would question your manhood, or your sanity, if you started singing “Stairway to Heaven” whilst at the gym, but you do get weird looks if you begin humming “Single Ladies” during a workout. Why? Well it cannot be scientifically proven, but it seems to be a trend among catchy songs that they are not the types of songs you want your friends to hear you listening to. Catchy songs have become a sort of guilty pleasure, the type of music you play very softly through your earbuds while you hunch over you desk, hoping no one can hear you listening to “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People.
This is why very few rock ballads, or just meaningful songs in general, are catchy. Bob Dylan may be changing lives and talking about social change, but Eiffel 65’s “Blue” is the song you’ll be thinking about for days on end.
#4 – The song must cause considerable anxiety/stress to the listener
This does not mean causing stress during the actual listening of the song. We’re talking about 36 hours later, when you’re laying in bed, wide awake, while Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” pounds in your mental speakers. We’re talking about going days without eating because you can’t think straight with Spongebob Squarepants going into another verse of the “Campfire Song.” Whatever added stress may infiltrate your life, it is surely the result of a catchy tune.
WARNING: Whatever you do DO NOT listen to the song stuck in your head during the time that it is bothering you. While you may think this is a good idea and will help get the tune out of your head this is not the case. Under no circumstances does listening to the catchy song actually help your psychosis. In fact it will actually increase your recovery time by re-energizing the annoying part of your brain that makes you think of the song over, and over again.
United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” While that may be the case for financial crises, world wars, or potential bed bug invasions, that is NOT the case in terms of catchy songs. We have everything to fear from a new One Direction or Rebecca Black song. If you haven’t already built an underground, sound proof bunker you should be on your way to Home Depot this very minute. Being prepared is key, because you never know when the next catchy song might hit the radio waves.