Tuesday, March 20, 2012

top ten Tuesday: ten songs for ten situations.

I don’t know about you, but I get a ton of songs stuck in my head. Every single morning, I wake up with some tune rattling around in my brain, and the only way to get rid of it is NPR.

It’s not just the mornings, though. I have songs stuck in my head all day, every day. I feel like a defective radio station. Many of these songs get stuck in my head at random; I haven’t heard some of them for years. Out of the blue, I’ll wake up one morning with some N’Sync song floating through my head. Who knows where that came from (frankly, in cases like that, I don’t WANT to know). However, there are a number of songs that pop up more often than others, and always in specific situations. Call them the Billboard Top 40 of my subconscious. These ten are the most frequent, probably because I find myself in triggering situations more often. Good luck not getting them stuck in YOUR head, as well.

The Rolling Stones: “She’s So Cold”
situation: when I get hit on at work
This is my favorite Rolling Stones song of all time: it’s so upbeat, and the lyrics are really funny. It’s about a man who is in love with a woman, but she won’t give him the time of day. My current job (and the job before it) is in public service. As a young, decent-looking person, I hear all sorts of comments. I’ve been asked for my phone number, told that my shoes were “hot,” and I’ve heard remarks like “I like your eyes.” Keep in mind, this is ALL in a professional setting, so it’s wildly inappropriate. So what am I supposed to do? Almost always, I simply ignore the commentator and go about my day, and “She’s So Cold” immediately pops into my head. Sure, I’m being cold, but it’s really the best thing to do. I don’t always ignore the statements, though: one time, I was actually asked on a date. I answered with a flat “no.” Stone, stone cold.

The Animaniacs: “50 States and Their Capitals”
Situation: traveling through state capitals
I honestly would not know all my state capitals if it were not for this song.  It’s sung to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw,” so it’s not only educational, but catchy as well. The Animaniacs are clearly genius. Every time I get near a state capital, I can’t help but think of this song. I once spent a week in Hartford once, and I couldn’t help think “Hartford in Connecticut, so pretty in the fall,” as that is the line in the song. Other state capitals that I have visited include Baton Rouge, Pierre, St Paul, Denver, Phoenix, Washington DC, and Jackson, and each and every time I visited one, I couldn’t help but think of The Animaniacs.

Commander Cody: “Hot Rod Lincoln”
Situation: riding in my parents’ Lincoln
“Hot Rod Lincoln” is about, you guessed it, a hot rod Lincoln. The guy races a Cadillac and wins, but ends up in jail for his efforts. My parents drive a Lincoln – it’s no hot rod, but it does ok. Whenever dad passes someone, he’ll hear the engine rev and say, “Come on, Lincoln!” (He has said this to all his cars; this is his first Lincoln, so it was usually “come on, Ford!”) That causes me to think immediately of the opening line of the song (especially if Dad is speeding): “You’re going to drive me to drinkin if you don’t stop driving that hot rod Lincoln.” I think I just enjoy being able to rhyme “drinkin” with “Lincoln.”

Queen: “Bicycle Race”
Situation: riding my bike or wearing my bicycle necklace
Spring is just around the corner, so that means it’s time to pump up my bike tires and hit the streets of Sioux Falls. I rarely rode my bike in Minneapolis; my neighborhood had incredibly narrow streets and no bike lanes. Riding on the sidewalks is illegal, so you were doomed to the street, which meant you were pretty much asking to get run over. Minneapolis did have some wonderful bike trails; I will give it that. My new Sioux Falls neighborhood has wider streets, and the bike trails aren’t too far away. Riding my bike is always accompanied by “Bicycle Race” stuck in my head. I get this same song in my head whenever I wear my penny-farthing necklace (which, by the way, is awesome).

Depeche Mode: “Enjoy the Silence”
Situation: left alone in my office
This is a fairly new situation, since I have never before worked somewhere that can get so quiet. Every now and again, I end up being the only one in my office area. As I work in a library, things are characteristically quiet already. When I’m left alone in the office, the silence is almost deafening. The phones rarely ring, and I’m far enough away from the rest of the offices that their noise doesn’t carry over. The only sounds are the quiet hum of the computers and my own typing. Though I don’t particularly enjoy the silence, this song gets into my head just the same. If only I could turn on the radio.

Elvis Presley: “Cold Kentucky Rain”
Situation: rainy road trips through small towns
Though I have never been to Kentucky, I have been in the cold rain. I’ll forever remember the day my friend Sarah introduced me to this song. We were sitting on the porch at my house, eating white chocolate pudding (yes, that is a thing), and it began to rain. Sarah started to sing the chorus of this sing, and she was stunned when I said I’d never heard it. We looked it up on the internet, and sure enough, it was a great song. I now think of it every time I’m driving through small towns in the rain (which, when I lived in Minneapolis and would drive home to visit my parents, was quite often).

Rubberbandits: “Horse Outside”
Situation: seeing a Honda Civic
This song is HILARIOUS. No, really. It’s about a guy who wants to hook up with a bridesmaid at a wedding, and she has a number of other offers from guys with mediocre cars: a Mitsubishi, a Honda, and a Subaru. When she asks our hero why she should go with him instead of the guys with the cars, he sings, “F**k your Honda Civic, I’ve a horse outside.” The song itself is wonderful, but it’s really the video that makes it great. I don’t know why the singers have plastic bags over their heads, but no matter: just watch the goofy dances they do. If you don’t mind a little profanity, I highly recommend you watch this video. So now, every time I see a Honda Civic, I think of that particular line in the song… especially if said Honda Civic cuts me off.

Kelly (aka some guy named Liam): “Shoes”
Situation: buying shoes (I bet you never would’ve guessed)
I don’t remember when I first heard this song, but I thought it was hysterical. The guy in the wig, the nasally voice, the absurd shoe lyrics… it all adds up to Internet gold. I don’t even have to be shopping for shoes, and I’ll get this song in my head. Just walking past a Payless is enough to get it started. It gets even better when I’m in a shoe store with someone who knows the song. We can go through the rows, stating, “These shoes rule. These shoes SUCK.” And really, is there a better way to classify shoes? I don’t think so.

Ritchie Valens: “Come On, Let’s Go”
Situation: on the verge of being late
I have never been the most punctual person in the world. I’m not usually late, but I’m not usually early, either. I have my morning schedule timed to near perfection. I know exactly how long it will take me to get ready in the morning, so I don’t get up a minute earlier. Every now and again, though, something won’t go quite right: there’s no hot water, my outfit looks dorky, or there’s a traffic jam on the way to work. A wrench is thrown into my plans, and I am no longer timed to the minute. Whenever this happens, Ritchie Valens comes sneaking into my head. This song is not about being late, but to me, it always will be.

The Rolling Stones: “Start Me Up”
Situation: starting my car in the winter
Winter can be a trying time here in the Midwest. We’re usually stuck with six months of snow and ice, and that means scraping windows and trying to persuade your car to start in negative temperatures. We got lucky this year; there was hardly any snow, and it seems like spring has arrived early. However, we’re normally wading through mounds of snow, trying to chip the half-inch of solid ice off of our windshields. And of course, to avoid completely destroying your car (and to expedite the ice removal process), you need to let it warm up for a bit. Whenever I’d have to start my car in the mornings, I would inevitably get “Start Me Up” stuck in my head. Thankfully, my car was always willing to start up on cold winter mornings. I can’t say as much for me.
So those are the top ten songs I get stuck in my head (and the specific situations that go with them). And to think, I didn’t even go into the name songs (example: “Gloria” by the Doors… of course, I think of it every time I encounter someone named Gloria). Stay tuned (pun intended) for next week’s exhilarating story!