(Black Press Media file photo)

Rickter Scale: Early morning ear worm resonates

The Rickter Scale is a regular column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

I woke up early Saturday morning with a riff kicking around in my cranium that I couldn’t trace until my second cup of coffee.

Do do, do do do do do, do do do do do do, do do do.

Apologies for my clumsy attempt at sharing the melody; this would make perfect sense to those who can read musical notes if I knew how to copy them.

Turns out it was a song by the Headstones from The Oracle of Hi-Fi, one of a cluster of CDs the bride and I took home, winners of a draw prize we lucked into at a Black Press Christmas party in 2002.

One song in particular had a combination of staccato guitar and pulsing beat that I never dance to that grabbed me by both ears on first listen.

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Although I hadn’t heard it again in years, the song enjoyed a moment or two on mainstream radio at the turn of the century during my afternoon commutes back before I eschewed the repetition of classic rock stations.

Unlike my musician bride, I can’t handle full volume feedback and screaming singers first thing in the morning on the way to the salt mine.

I’ve morphed to news, weather and opinion now, perhaps proof that age is indeed relentlessly catching up to me.

I finally listened to the song again after Saturday’s to-do list was filed and I’d achieved the correct level of chemical comfort the situation called for that night.

The lyrics resonated with me so much I mused to the bride that the words we just shared may have inspired the next Rickter Scale.

After pausing for a pregnant moment, she nodded politely, holding back her “here he goes again” frown and “uh, oh” eye roll until I left the living room for a refill.

There’s much I admire in the crafting of a song that employs an economy of lyrics – part whisper, part sledgehammer – that leads the listener to places and perspectives intended or otherwise by the author.

I’ll spare you the song in its entirety, but feel compelled to share a few lines that left an indelible impression on me.

“It’s just a word I heard maybe I don’t remember, somewhere along the line I misbehaved. Missing pieces that are left out of the story painting over all the things we didn’t like. It’s got something to do with what makes us all tick, there’s something there that eats us up inside. I’m no stranger to misbehaviour, I’ve reframed every single failure…”

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


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