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The Most Unwanted Song

January 21, 2008

Being a frequent visitor to the indispensable UBU.COM, I’m surprised I didn’t come across this earlier:

Komar & Melamid and Dave Soldier “The People’s Choice Music” (1997) A poll, written by Dave Soldier, was conducted on The Dia Foundation’s web site in Spring 1996. Approximately 500 visitors took the survey. Solder used the survey results to write music and lyrics for the Most Wanted and Most Unwanted songs.

I naturally gravitated right to the Most Unwanted Song, either to see how out of touch I am with America’s musical zeitgeist, or to confirm some theories about the latter.

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…

I found it absolutely hilarious. Beautifully unlistenable. It’s what your normal friends and coworkers think all your music sounds like. It reminds me of listening to an old advertising firm’s jingle demo reel; there’s so many representative styles present here and all executed with deliberate deviations in taste and musical convention. It has a veneer of timeless nostalgia from some indeterminate era.

Check it out here.

UPDATED:

Jima, from the lovely looking Empty-Handed brings us the following:

You might be interested in the episode of the radio program “This American Life” with interviews of Komar & Melamid talking about the process of making the most wanted and most unwanted song. More info on the program here:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=88

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3 comments

  1. You might be interested in the episode of the radio program “This American Life” with interviews of Komar & Melamid talking about the process of making the most wanted and most unwanted song. More info on the program here:

    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=88


  2. Thanks so much for that!
    I shall bump this up to the main post.
    Nice blog, by the way.


  3. Oh gawd… the “most wanted” song is absolutely awful… oh, just gross! hahahah i’d much sooner listen to the “most unwanted” song… at least its interesting! so much for that indeed



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