Perfect Ten: Earworms

Khabazela Mkhize

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So my editor tasked me with putting together a list of my perfect ten things in life. I could have chosen from a million other themes for my list but I just thought this list should be interesting. I mean… I love music! I can’t do anything without a soundtrack blazing in my earplugs or […]

So my editor tasked me with putting together a list of my perfect ten things in life. I could have chosen from a million other themes for my list but I just thought this list should be interesting. I mean… I love music! I can’t do anything without a soundtrack blazing in my earplugs or just in the atmosphere. So the sounds are not the problem it’s that annoying little fellow that stays behind inside my ear that’s the villain. Yes I decided to put together a list of my perfect ten earworms. You know those tracks that cannot seem to leave your mind and lips for days on end? Ever find yourself humming or singing and you don’t know how you got to singing that song? Well these are the worms that go dig in my ear:


#10: “I think I’m paranoid” Artist: Garbage Mix: Figure Dubstep Is Cool Again.
This bass crazed worm has found residence in my ear canals since Sid (editorial assistant at Live Magazine) threw the track my way. It’s that Shirley Manson vocal that cannot escape me and the Figure Dubstep Is Cool Again wobbles are too out of this world!


#9: “WHOA” Artist: Earl Sweatshirt
“Chick, chronic thrift shopper, thick like the Knicks roster/ Stormed off and came straight back like pigs’ posture/ Pen? Naw, probably written with some used syringes/ From out the rubbish bin at your local loony clinic/ Watching movies in a room full of goons he rented/ On the hunt for clues, more food, and some floozy women/ Bruising gimmicks with the broom he usually use for Quidditch/ Gooey writtens, scoot ‘em to a ditch, chewed and booty scented/ Too pretentious, do pretend like he could lose to spitting/” …need I say more? Young  Earl Sweatshirt is one mean beat maker too. This worm is fully armed with a Tyler The Creator chorus.


#8: “I Am Music” Artist: Common
Please do not get me misunderstood; Common is a great mcee but its Miss Jill Scott on the chorus that’s got me dazed. Find me just 2 minutes after I wake on any given day and I can sing you my worm inflicted version.  The fact that my crew is always bumping this track in the car does not help either.  

Big L

#7: “Ebonics” Artist: Big L
So it has been fourteen years since Lamont Coleman was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Harlem, USA. This track was dedicated to the slang Coleman used to hear while growing up in the streets of Harlem. He goes on to translate: ‘A burglary is a jook, a wolf’s a crook/Mobb Deep already explained the meanin’ of shook/ If you caught a felony, you caught a F/ If you got killed, you got left/ If you got the dragon, you got bad breath/ If you 730, that mean you crazy/ Hit me on the hip means page me/ Angel dust is sherm, if you got AIDS, you got the germ/ If a chick gave you a disease, then you got burned/ Max mean to relax, guns and pistols is gats/ Condoms is hats, critters is cracks…’ Heads all over might argue that Big L is the greatest rapper the world has ever seen, all I know is that this Ebonics track just will not leave my head.

Afro Blues

#6: “Afro Blues” Artist: Robert Glasper ft. Erykah Badu
Taken from his Grammy award-winning Black Radio tape, this worm is armed with all sounds funky and jazzed out.  Robert Glasper plays one futuristic piano roll and lets the phat Lady Belle sing to her soul’s content. Erykah sings a Diane Reeves original and dreams of the land her soul is from. This worm is a sweet fat one that I dream can never leave my ears.


#5: “Alone In A Strange Place” Artist: Sipho Gumede
This is a worm that first creeped into my ear holes when I was thirteen. The reason it’s still frolicking in my head is because my younger brother plays Sipho Gumede’s Blues For My Mother album every morning…I’m dead serious, he has been requesting I put this album on for him each morning since 2002.  


#4: “Thug Waffle” Artist: Flatbush Zombies
I really like this new age rap style. Coined ‘Trap’ this genre has its origins in the townships south of North America. Inspired by brass band and extreme poverty the youth of the then Mississippi County found an outlet through expressing themselves and speaking about the life they faced daily on the streets: drug dealing, crime, music making and improving bad living conditions. So when modern day kids in Brooklyn started rapping trap I just had to hear it. The Flatbush Zombies are a modern day Run DMC but ten times more gnarley and acid-fed.  They produce their own beats through the super talented Erick Arc Elliot, they record their own music videos, do their own management and publicity, do their own publishing; they manage all this and the oldest member is not even over twenty three.  

Summer Daze Nick Holder

#3: “Summer Daze” Artist: Nick Holder
I don’t know why this worm is stuck in my head but it is.  

jimi hendrix experience 3

#2: “Purple Haze” Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Mr Performer of magic! Mr scared as to death! It is no secret that I am a Jimi Hendrix fan, who is not?  This worm is a golden one, fixed with concrete and earwax to the walls of my ears and I am not complaining. This song was the soundtrack to countless demonstrations and protests from the hippie wave (California 1960s) to London 2011. A disoriented Hendrix sings and strums to the frantic beat of Mitch Mitchell’s drum and the laid back bass of backing vocalist Noel Redding. “Purple Haze” sought to question the slaying of countless American youth by the then American government by sending the inexperienced soldiers to the Vietnamese frontline.


#1: “Jiva” Artist: Brenda Fassie Flashback
It’s 1999 and I’m in a smoke clad Soweto tavern and the air is full of female giggles and the scent of Castle Lager, Mam’Thandi (the shebeen ower/queen) skids towards the Elmo Cassette Player at the middle of the room. She smiles and scans the room full of just adults and a eight year old me, then confidently she nods and clicks the play button. The room goes wild, everybody jumps onto the dance floor and hits a dance move that seems to suggest that all troubles a forgotten. My father has this calm expression on his face and smoothly slides across the dance floor with only his hip moving, a strange dance that only his friends understood but I instantly realised that only he knew how to dance like that because everyone was now watching him.  This worm has been in my head since that day I think my father nods from his grave when I write: R.I.P to Mabrrrr.

So, music loving Livemaggers! Are your heads full of worms? I want to know what earworms have permanently found residence in your ear ways. Let me know @LivemagSA #MyPerfectTen