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Change the record: five songs I need to stop hearing

It doesn’t matter where in the world I go. It seems that in the last year, only five songs have been written and are subsequently being played in a never-ending cycle. Can somebody please change the track?

Nacpan Beach Mad Monkey speaker5.  Rockabye baaaaby, rockabyeeeee

I really liked this song when I first heard it. Then I heard it again. And again.

Clean Bandit must have a major fanbase in south-east Asia, because we’ve been subjected to a non-stop marathon of Rockabye since we landed in Singapore a month ago.

On the upside, this has reminded me of the existence of ‘Lullaby’ by Shawn Mullins from the 90s, a song that also says ‘rockabye’ repeatedly. Now that was a tune! Maybe somebody could make a mash-up of the two rockabyes.

4.  The one about the back seat of your Rover

“So baby hold me closer in the back seat of your Rover ner ner ner ner ner ner ner ner like the tattoo on your shoulder ner ner ner ner ner we ain’t never getting older.”

It goes on and on and on and on, and it’s possibly the most irritating tune I’ve ever heard. Why, then, do bars and radio stations persist in playing it at least five times a day?

A Rover isn’t exactly the most romantic of vehicles anyway, is it? I guess it’s the only one they could think of that rhymed. “Baby hold me closer in the back seat of your Z-type” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But if you’re going to make it about gritty young love, realistically it should be something like “in the back seat of your K-reg Vauxhall Corsa”.

And don’t get me started on double negatives…

3.  Don’t be afraid to catch fish

I am, of course, actually talking about ‘Feels’ by Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams and Katy Perry. But for quite a while, I could have sworn the lyrics were about catching fish. What does catching feels mean, anyway?

I’m sticking with fish. Once you’ve heard that, you can’t unhear it. Try it next time those bouncy vibes kick in. You probably won’t have to wait long.

2.  The shape of scrubs

I really don’t know how this one got through. It’s hard to believe that, with all the checks and balances that exist in the music industry, somewhere in the process from writing to recording to mixing to production to distribution, somebody didn’t take Ed Sheeran aside and say “hey… doesn’t this sound just a little bit like that TLC song with the scrubs?”

Try singing the words of ‘No Scrubs’ along to ‘Shape of You’. The melody is nearly identical. After I noticed this, I discovered that there has actually been a court case on the matter, and the writers of No Scrubs are now credited on Ed Sheeran’s plagiarpiece, as well as getting a handsome payout.

In South America I heard ‘Shape of You’ nearly as often as the song that tops this list. Since we moved over to Australasia in November it has eased off a little, only to be replaced in frequency by another Sheeran ditty; that one about ‘dancing in the dark, you between my arms, yadder yadder, you look perfect tonight’, which is lyrically and thematically very similar to Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’. Honestly, Ed, can’t you come up with something original?

1.  The song I don’t need to name

Aaargh. Aaaaaaaaaaaarrggh. Please stop. Please. Stop. I can’t take it anymore.

You all know the song of which I speak. There are about 152 different versions of it, and since last June I’ve heard it approximate seven million times. There is no escaping it. I thought that when we left South America it might relent, but no. It’s still playing everywhere we turn.

Deeees…. paaaaa…

Despacito. (Sorry.)

So all-consuming has been the effect of this confounded song that because of its success, it has inspired a tidal wave of copycat songs mimicking its style. So in those rare moments that Despacito isn’t playing, the chances are that something very similar will be.

The thing about Despacito is that if you translate the lyrics into English, it’s quite creepy. I doubt it would even be allowed on air. Here’s a little snippet:

Yes, you know that I’ve been looking at you for a long time

I must dance with you today

I saw that the look in your eyes was calling me

Show me the path that I will take

You, you’re the magnet and I’m the metal

I am getting closer and making a plan

Simply thinking about it makes my heart race

The singer is behaving rather stalker-ish here – the person he’s singing about might want to take out a restraining order on him. I wish I could take out a restraining order on the song; after all, it does follow me around everywhere I go. Imagine a world in which Despacito wasn’t allowed within fifty miles of you? Ahhhh… bliss.





  1. i really want to say amen to rockabye baaaaby, rockabyeeeee… i mean, i live in indonesia and i could assure you that this song is so overplayed that not only it is on the radio, but whenever i go to some cafe just for the sake of free wifi, i can also hear that song. wow, i didn’t notice that the struggle is real until i came up here! 😛

  2. Thank you for this Alex! I laughed so hard with this article as we do have our very own list of forbidden songs too! Actually, we wish they were forbidden, obviously they’re not! As for Despacito, it’s still on in Greece and in versions I don’t even dare to mention, haha!

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