Friday Filler – What’s A Little Earworm Among Friends?

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

As many of you have pointed out, one of the nicest surprises with this Event is the “new music” that plays in the background. I put “new music” in quotations for a reason…mainly because it isn’t new...just new to us.

What?? You play with your sound turned off?  Then you are missing one of the best features of the event.

I agree that sound can get crazy when grinding every 4 hours, and my wife would be the first to scream, “can you please turn the sound off?” as she is trying to sleep through one of my 10:30pm grindfests.

But, this music serves a purpose beyond entertainment. It is a little earworm of a tune that runs with a time signature and running time that is perfect for tagging, or just keeping track of how long you are tapping.

And most important, if you let it become a true earworm, it can be a bit of a soundtrack for the rest of your life!

But, who wrote it??? 

This bit of music, was written by Tim Wynn, who was one of 4 composers on the original “Simpsons Game” for Playstation in 2002. That’s like a thousand years ago in game time.

Tim actually won a GANG award for his work in this game.  What’s a GANG award? It is the kind of award that very specific talents in the gaming community made up to recognize one another, because the rest of the industry ignores their parts in making productions better. Trust me…I know about this.

GANG stands for the Game Audio Network Guild. Need I say more?

I did some game music design “back in the day.” But, my “day” was way before gaming became sophisticated ( I wrote music for some of the first multi-player fantasy games, that ran on AOL), so therefore, had never heard of GANG.  But apparently, it was formed in 2002… the same year that Tim received his “GANGY.”  According to their web site, The Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2002 by game audio veterans in the Interactive Entertainment Industry. We are the leading organization for those involved in game music and sound design. Our membership is comprised of AAA publishers and developers, composers, engineers, and voice over actors.” 

Well…I’m just going to guess that as the rest of the entertainment industry treats these guys as “Other,” in the awards ceremonies (The Oscars and Emmy Award have “alternate, non-broadcast awards ceremonies, as I found out first-hand when we won the Emmy for the Claymation Christmas Celebration), the GANG awards is likely held in the basement of a Howard Johnson’s.  But, it IS an award…and Tim Wynn won one of the first ever in 2002! But, I digress…

So, as a music composer, I admit to loving the piece in our game. It is called Bart’s Ride (according to “Shazam”).  But, I have to admit, that it is a bit derivative of Danny Elfman’s work, who in my book, is the “Mack Daddy” of great contemporary soundtracks.  If you have a doubt, take a listen to the soundtrack for Edward Scissorhands from 1990. And come on…did Tim Wynn cut his teeth with a seminal new wave band like Oingo Boingo?  Danny did.  But, I digress, again…

The fact is, Tim’s “Bart’s Ride” (say that 10 times fast), is an earworm. If you hear it a couple of times, it’s going to stick in your head. And in this case, the Earworm Is HELPFUL!!

How?  By helping you control your tapping time, by knowing the length of each section of this mini-concerto. And there are THREE distinct sections.

The Intro (around 6 seconds) … The Chase (finishes right around 30 seconds) ...the Cooldown( finishes around 43 seconds).

You’ll hear all three sections in this video, as I show you how perfect this bit of music is for timing your tagging.  As I said before, if you have 100 neighbors, and you want to visit every single one, even spending 30 seconds each can end up taking over an hour with the load time between neighbors.  And, when you are hunting for tagables, you can lose track of time. So…this music is perfect!
The Intro gets you started in a little less than 6 seconds…the main chase section builds and repeats to fill almost exactly 30 seconds…with a 12 second “cool down.”  Bottom line…you want to clear each neighbor, or just tag out, in 30 seconds or less.

This bit of music runs at around 124 beats per minute…which gives it a natural, romping edge that builds to the end.  What is amazing about music, and beats per minutes, is that over a very short time, your body will lock into beats, actually increasing your heart-rate.

I found this out, when I did a ton of music for NordicTrack®…the company that does ski machines, ellipticals, and workout bikes.

These compositions were very challenging…45 minutes of music (3 workouts) that each had to start at a low beat per minute, build to 140-160 BPM, and then cool down again…all without sounding super boring. I did close to 40 of the damn things. Paid a lot of bills in the early 90s (yes, those are VHS tapes!)

But…I digress, again!

The fact is, even if you aren’t play the game, earworms, if they are good ones, can get you through the day. A good day starts with a prelude…has a lot of action…and then a wind-down. Just like Bart’s Ride.

Bad earworms are the stupid jingles (which I used to produce as well…) which just stick and stick…no matter how inane.  Like…say…the ridiculously simple “jingle” for Liberty Finance. Wait for it… Liberty, Liberty, Liberty…Liberty. 

So….simple. Must have taken all of 18 seconds to write.  But, it is a total earworm…and the guy who wrote it, is making BANK, because it plays a bajillion times a day.

But, I am very happy that the TSTO Game of Games Music came, and got stuck in my head. Because I almost always have music playing inside. Writing…walking…playing golf…mowing the lawn…and when an earworm won’t go away…it can drive you NUTS!

Like THREE SOLID WEEKS of the chorus from this song…that I caught while my wife and I were watching “The Voice,” final performances.   Simple…very repeatable…and a total HOOK! 

I loved it the first 7,000 times it played in my head.  Then…not so much.

So, when Tim’s music for Game of Games got into repeat mode in my “brain-pan-player,” I was a happy guy.  Because, it is short. Because, it has a “Cool Down” after just 30 seconds. And Because, it is TSTO.

Music. Tagging. They just go together.

WHAT EARWORMS GET INTO YOUR HEAD?  Do you listen to music while tapping? Have you ever worked out with a NordicTrack?  
Tappers want to know…

20 responses to “Friday Filler – What’s A Little Earworm Among Friends?

  1. Bangles Dupree

    Very interesting! Thanks, Patric!

    As far as earworms go, the one that sticks with me is “A Thousand Years” by Cristina Perri. It’s popular for weddings, even though it’s a vampire song.

  2. Off topic, but do you ever watch any of Rick Beato’s YouTube channel videos? “What Makes This Song Great?” is his most recognizable series, but he’s put out so much content on music writing and production. I’m constantly learning something

  3. What were some of the first fantasy role playing games you wrote music for?

  4. Thanks for the personal background on a very interesting life Patric. As an audio industry vet from long ago (spent 10 years as a touring tech and mixer in the sex, drugs and R&R days before I decided to settle down and start a “normal” life), it is interesting to remember that there can be SO much more to being a working/successful music industry professional – especially nowadays. Had these “fringe” gigs been commonly acknowledged (or even existed) in the business at the time, I might still be (happily) involved! Oh well… Keep on posting the war stories, reminisces and earworms for everyone to enjoy!

    • Thanks! Yes…in many respects, I wish I was twenty years younger. The DIY part of music and promotion offers so many more opportunities these days to own and control your career.

      It was a pretty tight circle back then. Hard to break in, with the side gigs and projects actually paying the bills. The “glory projects” didn’t pay nearly as well as the day-to-day industrial and advertising stuff.

      I made more money on five Nordic Trac video projects as I did on the entire run of an Emmy award winning TV special on a major network (CBS) and companion album on a major label (Atlantic).

  5. I also play in silent mode except when looking for Maggie. Lol. however, every once in a while I will play with sound turned on and I’ve noticed that I seem to tap faster when the music is on. Patric,, is that possible, or is it my imagination ? As another tapperr pointed out it’s just that now it’s harder to hear Maggie sucking on her pacifier. Any who Happy Saturday everybody. 😎

  6. Thank you for letting us know the composer and the title of the new music cues for this Event, Patric (I actually use it to coordinate my Tapping throughout my Springfield) 😊👍

    As for obnoxious music cues? I can’t think of anything as terrible as that 20 second (repeated continuously) music cue you can hear in those As Seen On TV comercials ! 😂

  7. Sorry gamers, didn’t know where else to post this, I’ve been playing this game since day 1 and have accumulated over 170 million cash, what can I spend this on?

  8. Great post Patric. I feel slightly educated on a new subject now

  9. I usually listen to music while playing but not the game. Music. My sound is always off. I try every once in a while to play with it on and I usually get as far as Arnie Pye and then I have to turn it off.

  10. Great post, despite my complaining about video game music, though! Thanks!

  11. I’ve always disliked video game music. If I can disable it, too keep the sound effects, I will. If I can’t, I kill the sound al together. I then put in my own playlists. The only ones I ever liked were the snow boarding and skate boarding games, but then you are getting real tracks, from bands. But my wife got to know all my favorite bands, when we first got married, and we’d play mario party or puzzle games together. No offense, Patric – I actually applied to Konami back in the day to write music for video games, so I get why they make the music they do, for video games. But my TSTO game is silent – except for when I’m trying to find Maggie. Lol

  12. Patric, that was a fantastic article! I really appreciate the embedded media files of different types like sounds, pictures and videos, even a selfie of you tagging. Impressive. I even was supporting your hunt for the third taggable! Great work. Very nice Friday Filler. One of the best. For me, as I like to read more about what is “behind the music”..One radio show I like to listen here in Berlin is called “Dr. Pop” (for Pop music) and within the show, each time the take one song and explain nearly everything. The notes, the author, the time and details about the creation process as well as the circumstances why that specific song was written. I do not like the word but I have to say – awesome!
    So, thanks for your article and happy tagging. 😊

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