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"Easter Time... Easter Time... Chocolate Time... Do all your shopping at Wal-Mart!" [Jan. 18th, 2008|02:48 pm]
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[music |The Most Unwanted Song]



I read Cat and Girl through RSS, so I missed Dorothy linking to Komar and Melamid and Dave Soldier's The People's Choice Music, which is brilliant.

Take a musical survey, ask people what they like and dislike, and then use the results as directions in composing The Most Wanted Song and The Most Unwanted Song. It's really worth reading their results before you listen to the music:

The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commericals and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance—someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example—fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.


Of course what makes the Most Unwanted Song so much better than the Most Wanted Song, is that these elements in combination are great. An operatic soprano rapping about the open plains of the old west? YES PLEASE.

This looks like it came out way back in 1997, so it may be old gnus to some of you, but it was "gnus to me".

Guys what if I used the same idea to generate The Most Wanted Comic and The Most Unwanted Comic?

look for a survey soon
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: caladri
2008-01-18 07:58 pm (UTC)

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I think The Most Unwanted Song could be a big hit with They Might Be Giants fans.
[User Picture]From: talcotts
2008-01-18 08:29 pm (UTC)

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That would explain why I like it.

Now I'm trying to figure out why I like this better than Frank Zappa's stuff.
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[User Picture]From: hannahlikesmath
2008-01-18 08:00 pm (UTC)

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This was actually featured on NPR way back when, so I listened to it in my parent's kitchen - I still remember the kids singing a song about Labor Day, and the opera singer going "hip hip hop.."
[User Picture]From: garyt
2008-01-19 04:12 am (UTC)

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This American Life, episode 88: Numbers.
[User Picture]From: howeverbrief
2008-01-18 08:14 pm (UTC)

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Oh, man. The most unwanted song is hilarious. I can't stop laughing.

DO ALL YOUR SHOPPING AT WAL-MART!
[User Picture]From: spectralbovine
2008-01-18 10:26 pm (UTC)

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Yom Kippur!
Yom Kippur!
Self-reflection and atonement!
[User Picture]From: twig_tea
2008-01-18 08:22 pm (UTC)

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I think nedroid already got started on the "most wanted comic" sort of here, though if you did it survey-style rather than just including everything everyone wanted it'd be different. You can use the suggestions as a start for a survey though!
[User Picture]From: qwantz
2008-01-18 08:24 pm (UTC)

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Oh yeah! I missed that. I'm going for survey-style there and I think the unwanted one will be the focus anyway, but I'll keep that in mind!

i don't want to step on nedroid's toes
[User Picture]From: knastymike
2008-01-18 08:28 pm (UTC)

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I will be keeping an eye out for surveys! Any chance of a most unwanted comic?
[User Picture]From: qwantz
2008-01-18 08:29 pm (UTC)

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most definitely
[User Picture]From: mentalmakeup
2008-01-18 09:08 pm (UTC)

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It is also worth noting that the most wanted song friggin sucks.
[User Picture]From: jitterro
2008-01-18 09:12 pm (UTC)

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Agreed. Then again, I never was much for love songs.
[User Picture]From: cheesegimp
2008-01-18 09:13 pm (UTC)

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The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition.

In other words, Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
[User Picture]From: ohtowant1thing
2008-01-18 10:58 pm (UTC)

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That was my very first thought as well. You beat me to it. Somehow GY!BE does all this and still tends to be full of awesome on every record.
From: wupperware
2008-01-18 09:17 pm (UTC)

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I downloaded both songs. And I will never listen to The Most Wanted Song again. However, I will most definitely listen to The Most Unwanted Song. And memorize it. And perform it while intoxicated. In front of a live audience.
[User Picture]From: mr_z
2008-01-19 03:59 am (UTC)

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This would make the BEST KARAOKE SONG EVAR!
[User Picture]From: sinatra_1742
2008-01-18 09:29 pm (UTC)

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You know, except for a really painful part with the opera singer and an organ in the middle...I liked it. It made my day. Especially the political megaphone lady part. And the end! It was such an epic end. Someone should make a whole musical like this.



thank you for being consistently awesome Ryan North
[User Picture]From: spectralbovine
2008-01-18 10:35 pm (UTC)

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Where was the political megaphone lady?

Oh, I just got to her. This ending is totally different from the rest of the song! How calm.

Whoa, totally epic end!
[User Picture]From: chickensnack
2008-01-18 09:31 pm (UTC)

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The only part about most unwanted song that I dislike is CHORUS OF CHILDREN. THAT REALLY BUGS ME IN SONGS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE. But bagpipe+synth automatically cancels out anything bad.
[User Picture]From: spectralbovine
2008-01-18 10:24 pm (UTC)

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Oh, I think the CHORUS OF CHILDREN totally makes the song:

Ramadan
Ramadan
Lots of praying
With no breakfast
Ramadan
Ramadan
Do all your shopping at Wal-Mart!
[User Picture]From: rfrancis
2008-01-18 09:51 pm (UTC)

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100% of friends, including myself, agree: The Most Unwanted Song is AWESOME.

All who've listened to both also agree that The Most Wanted Song sucks.

Go figure!
[User Picture]From: dachte
2008-01-18 10:05 pm (UTC)

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I'm in agreement, although I suspect once we hit the world's quota, nobody else will agree with us. Danger! If you don't want funny looks, exhaust the quota ASAP with people you know. Then we'll found a nation.
[User Picture]From: ithinkin3d
2008-01-18 09:54 pm (UTC)

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We already have a "most unwanted comic", and it is called Mallard Fillmore.
[User Picture]From: undulations
2008-01-18 10:31 pm (UTC)

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I thought it was "Family Circus." The shrieking children in the Most Unwanted Song are the spiritual kin of that comic.
[User Picture]From: deathinabottle
2008-01-18 10:09 pm (UTC)

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So brilliant. Love the creepy quiet organ bits. Very Disco Volante-era Mr. Bungle. Thanks Ryan!
[User Picture]From: mrobot
2008-01-19 05:04 pm (UTC)

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i was thinking the same, it ha that schizophrenic feel
[User Picture]From: illuminatedwax
2008-01-18 10:41 pm (UTC)

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The "most wanted song" could have benefited from better mixing. That guy's voice is way to far up in the mix.
[User Picture]From: afewregrets
2008-01-18 10:51 pm (UTC)

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I caught these through a blog some time last year but only listened to the first 5 minutes, maybe. Then I read about all the amazing stuff later on in the *worst* piece. Now I am reminded to do a re-listen. thanks!
[User Picture]From: ultrastefan
2008-01-18 10:52 pm (UTC)

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It seems that the "less than 200 of the worlds population [who] would actually enjoy this song" just so happen to subscribe to this blog.

This is the best song ever. Are you sure they labelled them right?

Edited at 2008-01-18 10:52 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: illuminatedwax
2008-01-18 10:54 pm (UTC)

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This reminds me of Loren Jan Wilson's analysis of Pitchfork Media (and subsequent Perfect
Pitchfork Song):

http://www.pitchformula.com/
[User Picture]From: mentalmakeup
2008-01-18 11:14 pm (UTC)

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That was effing brilliant.
From: bightchee
2008-01-18 11:56 pm (UTC)

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"The Most Unwanted Song" is frequently featured on "Do or DIY with People Like Us" on WFMU.org I highly suggest you listen to the podcast there.

Also if this has already been mentioned.... I'm drunk and don't know any better.
[User Picture]From: alkor
2008-01-19 12:00 am (UTC)

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I swear to God that the Most Wanted Song could have been in Rent, were it not for the solo.
[User Picture]From: marmaladious
2008-01-19 02:44 am (UTC)

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Most wanted song: Not my cup of tea

Most unwanted song: Not my cup of tea + hilarious
From: ukuhawa
2008-01-19 02:46 am (UTC)

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The "200 people" bit confused me too, at first -- I mean, it's downright catchy in parts, and my tastes aren't anywhere near that far out there that only myself and a couple of hundred other Earthlings could conceivably see that.

Then I realised: 1997. A bit over a decade ago. The Fiery Furnaces were nowhere to be seen, is what I'm saying. From where we're standing, The Most Unwanted Song is just plain ahead of its time.
[User Picture]From: destroyalltacos
2008-01-19 08:34 am (UTC)

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I actually had posted about this on the truth and beauty bombs forum a long time ago. What, Ryan, do you not read every single post ever made on your own forum? I am shocked and appalled.

Anyway, it does seem like they went out of their way to make the least wanted song thrillingly insane and the most wanted song as bland and banal as possible, but it doesn't really surprise me that the general public has a lot more variety in what they don't want to hear in music than what they do.
[User Picture]From: dasiavou
2008-01-19 11:17 am (UTC)

HEY

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Hey Ryan, it is 3:14 AM and I am laying here with a soar throat on a mission to finally catch up with all of the dinosaur comics. Right now I am on November 6, 2007, and I just wanted to say that I TOTALLY would steal the cover in panel four if I ever wanted to write a book on relationships. But don't worry. This is unlikely. Well, I'd better get back on the mission.

--Asia

(ps) I love your hair
[User Picture]From: dasiavou
2008-01-21 07:49 pm (UTC)

ALSO:

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I must say I was truly relieved at the end of this entry, as I was feeling quite small due to the fact that I was starting to really like how this so-called "Most UnWanted" song was sounding in my head. AND. I play flute, so I was all, HEY
[User Picture]From: leebenningfield
2008-01-19 04:20 pm (UTC)

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I've heard the most unwanted song before, I found it quite amusing. Especially when the kids choir suddenly came in with the "only at wal-mart!" jingle.
[User Picture]From: stokerbramwell
2008-01-19 08:54 pm (UTC)

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The unwanted song ROCKS!
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