“Earworms” are unwanted catchy tunes that repeat in your head. These relentless tunes play in a loop in up to 98% of people in the western world. For two-thirds of people they are neutral to positive, but the remaining third find it disturbing or annoying when these songs wriggle their way into the brain’s memory centers and set up home, threatening to disrupt their inner peace. Read on >
Thousands of people packed the waterfront last weekend to watch Thunder Over Louisville, the largest annual fireworks display in North America.
But it wasn’t long after the sky went dark and the music stopped that — wait for it — people took to Twitter to complain about this year’s event.
The most common criticism? The music. Read on >
It's an earworm so powerful, all you have to do is look at or think about the the lyrics to the Lady Gaga song "Bad Romance" — Rah rah ah-ah-ah! Ro mah ro-mah-mah— and your brain can get stuck on repeat. Read on >
There are worse songs in the world. Songs that denigrate women, songs that glorify racism, anything that appeared on Paris Hilton’s album. But in terms of widespread, ubiquitous hate, it’s hard to top the Kars4Kids jingle. Read on >
It happens all the time. A new album comes out, you listen to it, and before you know it, you have a new favorite song. So you play it again. And again. And again. It’s on loop for days: in the car, at home. Maybe you even hum it to yourself while you work. Read more >
For residents of tornado-prone regions like Oklahoma, Texas and the southern Plains, the piercing wail of outdoor sirens in May — the most active month — is a warning to seek shelter because a funnel cloud has been spotted or is on its way. Read on >
The Listening Service - an odyssey through the musical universe with Tom Service. Join him on a journey of imagination and insight, exploring how music works.
Today - repetition. Listen to the episode >
“Dad, can you please play another song?”
The request came on a recent Sunday morning from my 14-year-old son, as I was in the kitchen listening for the 12th straight time to Wes Montgomery’s 1965 recording of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” — a whirlwind of sensational guitar playing, complemented by bass (Arthur Harper), piano (Harold Mabern), and drums (Jimmy Lovelace) that lift Montgomery’s chords into the sonic stratosphere.
But this gem of musical dervish-ness — Montgomery and jazz at their best — is only three minutes and 37 seconds long. I want the song’s feeling to last much, much longer. And I have the power to do that, by changing the YouTube URL just a tiny bit. In a few seconds, I’ve commanded my computer to repeat the song ad infinitum. Read on >
"Livin' on a Prayer." "Come on Eileen." "Fat Bottomed Girls." All of these songs, plus a handful of others, have become American bar classics, their appeal spanning all ages and locales. Kenny Herzog talks with music critics about the making of a timeless barroom hit. Read more >
With the Japanese group's Adrian Sherwood-produced album out this week on the dub producer's On-U Sound label, Ed Power examines the allure of their minimalism and hypnotic relentlessness. Read more >