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At the risk of sounding like a complete nutbar...
A few days ago, my girlfriend and I were having a conversation about songs that we dislike; not necessarily songs that we have a shared dislike of, but just songs in general that would make either of us instantly change the radio station, or plug our ears, or run out of the room if we heard them. (We all have at least a few of these “gems” that spark such a reaction.) It was an innocent topic until the conversation quickly took a turn toward the land of “for a million dollars, would you….” and countless other hypothetical scenarios. It was humorous and silly, but when we inevitably arrived at “how long could you listen to a certain song on repeat until you couldn’t tolerate it anymore and had to turn it off?”, it got me thinking...
I remembered that about a year ago, a local radio station held a contest in which different participants had to partake in different challenges for a chance to win a certain sum of money ($40,000 I think). One of the challenges was that a girl was confined to a room in the basement of the radio station and was forced to endure the chorus of Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, played on repeat for three days straight (Friday morning to Sunday night). Of course, she the appropriate amenities were provided (food, bathroom, etc.). If she was able to make it through to Sunday night, she’d be entered - along with other winners of their respective challenges - for a chance to win the forty large. Yes, a chance – she wouldn’t automatically win the money. (If you’re curious, other challenges included someone making out with their sister for two minutes; some guy had to sit in all 16,000 seats in Edmonton’s hockey arena Rexall Place within a period of 24 hours, etc.) All for a chance at $40,000. I’m not sure what’s more sick – the radio station or the people who entered the contest. But I digress.
The girl was very enthusiastic about the challenge, claiming that it would be easy and guaranteed that she’d make it through the three days of Green Day on repeat.
Well, she didn’t.
She lasted about four hours, if I remember correctly. When the station interviewed her after letting her out, she stated simply that she couldn’t take the song anymore – she was “going crazy” and that the possibility of a 40G paycheque wasn’t enough to keep her motivated (that, and not surprisingly, she would never be able to listen to the song again.)
Anyway, the combination of the conversation with my girlfriend, the radio contest and this video have made me curious as to how long I could personally tolerate a certain song played on repeat. Call me crazy, but I’d like to take a song (one that I’ve never heard before, probably from the AM 3000) and see how long I can last for. If anyone else is interested (watch the video!), maybe we can come up with some rules, and together, put ourselves through this bizarre musical torture experiment, and report our progress back here (that is, if the experiment takes place over several days. And it could - I’ve brainstormed a few ideas!)
I think something like this could be really entertaining and enlightening. Ask yourself - how long could you last? And how great would Bob Dylan/Radiohead/R.E.M./Hank Williams/The Beatles sound after you’ve listened to the same song over and over for an extended period of time? I’m just throwing this idea out there; it wouldn’t have to begin right away.
Now, who’s on board with Crazy Anthony?
Sweet, I'm obviously in. I've had a bet like this with someone once, who could listen to the badger song (http://weebls-stuff.com/toons/badgers/) longest. I won after he gave up 2 hours in.
However, lets not pick a song anyone of us actually loves because it might very well be the last time you're listening to it.
Knew I could count on you, Neo!
Of course, it can't be a song a person already loves (or even enjoys moderately.) The song should be unknown to the participant, so everyone is starting from square one.
Seems like it's just you and me Anthony.
Yeah, that's cool.
When do you want to try this? (I'll need a few days to mentally prepare...)
Probably best during a weekend, next saturday or something? Might give people a last chance to still participate too.
How about listening repeatedly to Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music until you exactly know how to hum to it? You nuts..
I want in.
Another sucker for punishment! Great!
We need to establish some rules. Neo, thoughts?
Well.. I have no thoughts on the song, but as far as the experiment itself I suggest the following:
- We all start at say.. 9 AM our own time (we could all start at the same time, but that would be midnight for some as I don't want to start too late.. might be a long match). That does mean that I would for example already be listening to a song for 6 hours when Anthony is just about to start, not sure if this is a problem.
- There's no real way to control whether someone is really listening, so we'll just have to trust in the fact that we're honestly listening
- I suggest we post something on our feelings every hour or maybe every 30 minutes though.
Some troubles though.. what happens if we make it through 15 hours or so (midnight), can we go to sleep or what? And then there's the song ofcourse.
I like the idea of starting at 9am (our own time) and posting our progress every hour (or whenever).
Of course, there’s no way to tell if someone is really listening, but as Seinfeld says, I think we’re all comfortable within the confines of the honor system, right? (I don’t see any reason to cheat; I’d really like to see how long I can last, y’know, for my own curiosity.)
My plan is to choose a song this week, and beginning Saturday, have it play on repeat through my house. If I need to leave for whatever reason, I’ll have it on my iPod and/or burned on a CD so that wherever I am (car or street), it’ll be playing. Heck, I may not even last that long, but I’ll still plan for contingencies.
If it so happens that I last to the end of the day, I’m wondering whether to keep it playing, or turn it off until 9am on Sunday...
I'll be staying home and sleeping with my headphones on.
As for the song, should it be an "universally annoying" song?
Well, that’s up to you.
Personally, I’m not choosing a song that I already enjoy (for obvious reasons), so that leaves either a song that you actively dislike, a song that you’re indifferent to, or a song that you haven’t heard before (which is the group that I’m picking from).
I need to try and find a one-off from the AM 3000 that I haven’t heard before (eg. a one-hit wonder). Let’s just see what we can find here...
I am probably gonna be at home too, but if I do have to leave I can put the song on my phone no problem.
So.. shouldn't we all listen to the same song or what?
We can all listen to the same song, but it doesn't necessarily have to be.
Whatever the song is, by virtue of this experiment, it will become annoying after several listens. I'm not really interested in who outlast who; I'm more interested in the progressive psychological turmoil.
But I'm easy. If we do the same song, it has to be one that none of us have heard before.
I thought we should all listen to something really annoying, like Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," or Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"...
Or something like that.
What are your thoughts?
We need to start on the same level playing field.
2981. Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
2982. Led Zeppelin - The Battle of Evermore1971
2983. Eddie Kendricks - Keep on Truckin', Part 1
2984. Beenie Man - Who Am I?
2985. Primal Scream - Miss Lucifer
2986. The Pretty Things - S.F. Sorrow is Born
2987. The Beatles - And I Love Her
2988. The Notwist - Pilot
2989. Nas - Made You Look
2990. M People - How Can I Love You More?
2991. Chic - Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah)
2992. The Heptones - Book of Rules
2993. Roxy Music - Mother of Pearl
2994. Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
2995. Pat Benatar - Love Is a Battlefield
2996. Black Box Recorder - The Facts of Life
2997. Bob Dylan - Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
2998. Sebadoh - On Fire
2999. Phoenix - Long Distance Call
3000. Otis Redding - My Girl
Never heard #2991 or #2994. But they look interesting.
You've heard all of the others there, Anthony?
But either of those two look like worthy contenders. Neo?
I'm fine with anything on that list but Dylan (great song) and the Beatles (I'd loose).
Yeah. Me too.
I just told my wife about what you're up to
No apparent reaction
Big drop of value for AM shares in her esteem I'm afraid
Ahh, shucks. I was really hoping that your wife, of all people, would understand something like this. Perhaps you failed to mention the tremendous research value that a psychological experiment such as this carries?
(We should do the Chic song! I've never heard it before but it seems silly enough that it would become ompletely annoying in a matter of plays. If you guys have never heard it before, then that should be the one!)
Alright, count me in. I've never heard it either.
I just want to add that I think this is a completely masochistic idea and I want no part of it. I pride myself on doing my best not to listen to the same song twice within an entire WEEK.
I still remember the pain caused during my freshmen year in college when I had to get a 3-hour car ride from someone I didn’t know very well in order to get to my grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving. He put on a “Top 40” radio station during the drive, and 2-hours in the crappy pop songs started repeating themselves! ARGH! There was no escape except the sweet bliss gained by jumping out of the car at 60 mph. But I wasn’t brave enough to sacrifice my body to save my ears.
Keep the sharp implements away from yourselves while you do this guys.
With such a title, yes, you should do it
Do me a favour... choose the Chic song. I'm really curious about the impact of a decent überportion of Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah's on human brain cells..
What a bunch of party poopers! This is all in good fun.
(Wait, did I mention I have a psych degree? You guys are in good hands! Muaha, muahahaha!!!)
The Chic song sounds like a great choice.
Haha, just listened to it now for the first time. It's guaranteed to drive me nuts on repeated listens.
This is going to be awesome.
Whoa! This song is 8+ minutes long!!
Sinder - what length is your version?
Do Black Box Recorder-Facts of Life. It's a great song that not many people have heard and still is stuck in my head even though I haven't heard it in at least 3-4 years.
The "experiment" would be a little flawed if you chose a song that some people might not like from the first listen! Sorry, I'm a not a huge Chic fan. Yowsah.
A bit of research reveals that yes, the album version of this song is indeed over 8 minutes long.
And wow, it's unbelievably awful! At first, I figured that 8+ minutes might lend itself to more variety within the song, but no, I was dead wrong - it's repetitive as hell. All it means is an 8 minute wait for the blissful moment of silence between the song ending and starting again. *sigh*
John - you might be on to something. That "Facts of Life" song is shorter (~4:37 from what I've found) and isn't half bad on first listen. But I could see that theremin getting really REALLY irritating after a while.
You sure you're not in? C'mon... you know you want to!
What's the concept? Listen to a song on repeat for as long as possible? I don't know if I'd have the time to do that.
Yeah, that theremin would be Clockwork Orangesque...and hearing those orgasmic wails might turn you off sex for life. I think you should do it!
I love that Chic song! I would win!
For the sake of my marriage and my sanity during the move, I'll have to refrain from participating, regretfully.
Yeah, that's the gist of it - listen to a song on repeat until you can't take it anymore. Call it an "exercise in self discovery".
Those eerie crescendos remind you of sex noises? Is your significant other a bed banshee? I don't know whether to pity you, admire your tolerance, or give you a high-five.
I have a remix by Jarvis Cocker and Chocolate Layers that is a little different than the original. You'd know what I mean if you heard it. It's on "Worst of Black Box Recorder". It also has a cover of Seasons in the Sun on it.
Here's the beginning of it...
I seem to have some kind of short version of Dance Dance Dance, it's 3:44. The song.. well.. lets just say it's gonna be a challenge.
Would you mind sending (emailing) me your version? Thanks.
But the song sure is not.
Btw, nifty website, Neo.
And you quoted me! I'm flattered!
Ah, the McCartney part? Thanks.
Sounds like good fun :-) I still think you should consider Netjade's suggestion, though
I have the short version too!
Let's do this. We'll turn into disco monsters!
No one wants to play the game with a Yoko Ono song ?
Because it's one of the most irritating thing I've heard in my life.
I'm not afraid of anything.
But the Chic song will do great, I think.
It's going to be interesting, that's for sure.
Are we all set? The song has been chosen; is there anything else left to flesh out?
When are we doing it? This weekend?
Also, if we all start at 9 AM our time, let's tell us our timezones.
Mine is GMT +2.
GMT -7:00 (mountain time - Canada)
You guys are going to want to re-enact Comiskey Park's 1979 Disco Demolition Night when this is over...
Wow. What were they thinking? That had "bad idea" written all over it!
Unlike this, which I imagine won't result in anything too crazy. (I think my girlfriend might even participate).
I wish I could participate, because I know I'd win this one, as I'm the only one who seems to like the song!
I didn't think it was too bad, just something I could get tired of fairly quickly. Not something you can easily ignore, you know?
My timezone is GMT+1.
You guys need to post something on youtube or something - some proof...
Are you the first AMer I know on the African continent ?
I seriously doubt I'm from the African continent, nicolas.
GMT + 2 is a lot of African countries, that's why
It's also Finland, Lithuania, Romania, Turkey, etc.
yes of course
if there's a south, there has to be a north..
Forget about it
btw sinder you can answer to the "demographics" thread if you want
I'm gonna start a new one soon
So, I played the song for Cris last night – and of course (I shouldn’t be surprised) - she immediately starts dancing! “I really like it!” she says, while in a full-out, hip-moving disco frenzy.
*sigh* Of course she does.
She reminded me of a dinner invitation on Sat. night – so here’s the question: if I’m able to make it through 10 hours of “yowsahs”, am I allowed a reprieve for a few hours? (I’m not saying I’ll make it; I’ll certainly try, but I need to plan for any eventualities).
Well, okay. No reason why I should mind.
Should we take breaks too, at the 10 hour mark?
Sure, fine by me Anthony. If possible I'm gonna go to the 15 though. I don't have that much time the day after that, so if I can sit through 15 hours I consider the mission accomplished.
The closer it gets to Saturday (or maybe, the more I think about this little "test of resolve"), the more I'm unsure of how it's going to play out.
If it so happens that I'm able to get through Saturday, come Sunday morning, I'm going to keep the ball rolling by clicking play on iTunes. Basically, any time I'd normally have music playing by my own volition (which is constantly), I'm going to play Chic. At this point, it's not a matter of getting through a single day - I'm at the stage where I'm honestly wondering how many days I can listen to this song without playing anything else.
Heh. Sure, if we can get through one day, and still want to keep going, we should do that.
Did we all just forget to listen to the song yesterday? I know I did.. damn, it just hit me all of a sudden.
I didn't forget; a few things came up yesterday which prevented me from diving headfirst into this.
I've taken some holidays, so I think I may start this on Monday.
Alright, I set my alarm so I won't forget again. Tomorrow it's on.
Cool. I'm psyched!