The word “earworm” gets thrown a lot to describe pieces of music that stick in your head. I am terribly susceptible to these. The worst kind for me are advertising jingles, especially from my childhood. You have no idea how much restraint it takes for me not to share every damned jingle that pops in my head. I did this once a few months ago: one day while writing my dissertation, the jingle for Dispensa’s Castle of Toys (“Oakbrook Terrace…ill…in… oyyyyy!”) got stuck. I shared the TV spot to the consternation of many Facebook friends. I remain not sorry for this act and threaten to do it again. (I have the Kiddie Kingdom ad at my disposal and am not afraid to use it.)
This song is a fantastic earworm many times over. From the repeated riff to the poor-quality sample of Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden” (1970), there’s a lot here to get stuck. Back on the college radio show I preferred the longer 12″ version of the song with the dialogue between the couple that we assume are breaking up in the course of the song. (It remains a mystery to me exactly what they are saying in the conversation. And why is Don Pardo on this record, anyway?) The line that stuck in all of our heads, however, was in the middle. To us it sounded like “Do you want my —hole?,” which I don’t think is the real lyric. But with this song, anything’s possible.
The band isn’t notable in the United States, but up north is a different story. Kon Kan was named as Can Con in reverse. Can Con is short for “Canadian content,” which is a requirement among Canadian broadcasters. As condition of their license, stations in Canada must feature a minimum percentage of Canadian artists on their playlist. (As one who looks at playlists for data, this can be an exciting exercise in “What the hell is that?”) Yes, Kon Kan is Canadian, so technically Kon Kan is Can Con. You get the picture. The band won the Juno award (think Canadian Grammy) in 1990 for this song and again in 1991 for “Puss In Boots/These Boots Are Made for Walking.”
The combination of earworms made it required content on my college radio shows on both WLRA and later on WIUS. I likely would have put it on that “Obnoxious Cruising Music” mixtape I referenced in an earlier post, had the chronology been better.
You too can have this stuck in your head by following this link.
Want more? The 12″ club mix, complete with conversation and Don Pardo, is here.