Friday, 13 September 2019 14:19

COLUMN: When browsing for old songs online, be careful out there

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I get bored pretty easily. When I do, I have a few go-to things that I do when I get bored. 

Often, I am awake late at night and we all know that late-night TV isn't so great. A lot of the time, I will dig out some headphones from a drawer and plug them into either my phone or laptop and listen to music on iTunes or YouTube or wherever I can find music. Before long, one music video leads to another and you find yourself in the far reaches of YouTube and listening to bad cover versions of popular songs, television theme songs, novelty songs, and what have you.

There are side effects to this. A lot of the time, I find myself listening to multiple versions of my favorite songs. Whether listening to the original artist, a cover artist, or an amateur, I have discovered I have listened to the same song about a dozen times, if not more. It's not so bad until the moment you realize you have listened to every possible variation of the theme song to the 1980s sitcom “Gimme A Break.” I mention this one specifically, because I was watching a video of a medley of old theme songs, trying to be nostalgic, when that particular one played and it was not the one I remembered. An hour or so later, I had heard all versions from all seasons. What's goofy is I never really cared for the show or the theme song. I think it was more about being led down the rabbit hole of YouTube than actually wanting to hear all versions. Don't bother searching for them. I've heard them all so you don't have to.

About 30 years ago, there was a television show that tried to blend a gritty crime drama with musical theater. Yes, you read that right. It was created by the same guy who created “Hill Street Blues,” so what could go wrong?

 I went searching YouTube for clips and found more than I bargained for. For my viewing pleasure was a musical version of an LAPD roll call, complete with a song called “Let's Be Careful Out There.” Basically, it is a song where a police lieutenant runs down the plan for the day in song. The chorus of the song repeats the same list of crimes over and over again. It's catchy, it's dumb, and it sticks in your head. It sticks in your head for days. It does not go away. Ever. If you are brave, go to YouTube and look for it. I'm sure you will be amused. 

The earworms, or songs that get stuck in your head, are the biggest hazard of this. It happens to me all the time when I am listening to music and I fall asleep. For most of the morning the following day, the last song I heard before I fell asleep will be in my head. Sometimes it's not so bad. For a few days, I had “Do You Know The Way To San Jose” in my head. It's not awful, because I like the song. We all know how I feel about “The Pina Colada Song,” and that was stuck in my head more than once. It gets bad when it's a song you definitely don't want in your head. This is what happened to me with the tune from “Cop Rock.”

I'm treading on thin ice here mentioning the song. I'm certain it will pop back into my head and I will be singing it in my mind nonstop for the next few days. Consider this a warning. This will infect your brain and drive you insane. This particular song has invaded my subconscious, my conscious, and my everyday life. My wife has forbidden me to play it, even as a gag. She has caught me whistling it once or twice and shot me a dirty look. I know a lot of you are now curious. Listen to it at your own risk. I will not provide a link for it. If you must explore and find it, you are on your own. I will not be of any assistance. Don't blame me if it gets stuck in your head. 

Put on your headphones, find the link and click if you are brave. If you are, be careful out there. 


Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he (usually) writes on the lighter side of family life.


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