Earlier this year, an $8,000 judgment in Santa Ana, California drew national media attention not so much because of the amount or because of the merits of the suit — even if one law professor expressed “some concern over the award.”
No, it drew attention because of the circumstances involving what’s widely considered the most annoying tune ever created. (That said, there’s one survey of 559 college students that begs to differ. That particular song was down at No. 10 on a list of “Top 10 Songs Stuck in Your Head.”)
Disneyland, the “happiest place on earth,” was tagged with a lawsuit over its supposed failure to immediately evacuate a paraplegic man stuck for 30 minutes on Disneyland’s ‘It’s a Small World’ ride. The ride had broken down and everyone else got evacuated except for this one disabled man. So the upshot was that disability laws were violated because the amusement park had not adequately provided for handicapped egress from the ride.
But those facts aside, it was that song playing on an endless loop while the disabled man awaited rescue in the “It’s a Small World” boat that prompted the tongues to wag and the keyboards to clack over the ear torture of having to hear that song played over and over again. Doubtless, he had the mother of all earworms as a result.
Earworms are those annoying songs that get themselves stuck inside our heads repeating interminably. And because of the well-known infamy of that “It’s a Small World” tune, people mistakenly believed the judgment award was for the plaintiff’s pain and injury attributable to that infernal song.
The worst songs.
Yet when it comes to the music trapped in our heads, the problem is the unpredictability of what annoys us. The tunes probably start out likeably enough, that is until they become an inescapable cerebral loop.
For example, there are lists and then there are lists of songs that aggravate, even if they’re purely subjective. There are polls and surveys but ultimately, it’s always individual likes and dislikes.
One person’s “Worst Songs in the History of the World” may include another’s all-time faves. For every Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” there’s, The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace or Question Mark & the Mysterians – “96 Tears.”
And “somebody’s going to hurt someone before the night is through” for those who hate the Eagles'”Heartache Tonight” or Three Dog Night’s “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog.” Also see Stereogum’s list of “The 22 Most Annoying Songs.”
But when it comes to earworms — it’s no easy matter regardless of how much you yell “I Can’t Get You Out of My Head” or plaintively ask, “How do I get that tune out of my head and get rid of that earworm?”
A while back I gave myself an earworm while blogging. Granted, it was poetic justice. I was cracking wise about Judge Wade McCree and for days after, I couldn’t get Clarence Carter’s “Strokin'” out of my head.