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Weekend Earworms: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

An estimated 98% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times that we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things ever.

We here at Nerdist are dead-set on bringing you those types of songs, if only for the weekend. We’ll be scouring the internet for the best earworms we can shove into your meaty brains!

Oh hey, weird that I’m still here this week despite the call for my head on a pike after I wrote about loving Blind Melon. Who knew there were so many die-hard Blind Melon fans who also refused to read any sort of words behind a headline. Someone should have warned me there are people on Facebook who get mad for no reason. The internet is weird, you guys. Am-I-right!?

Anyway, the desire to bring good music to your ear-holes still drives me, but now I have the added game to play where I pick a band I absolutely LOVE, write about how great I think they are, and then see people who agree with me tell me that I’m still somehow unequivocally wrong. This week, I’m swinging for the fences with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists! This is a band that is sincerely in my top 5 favorites of all time and one I’ve never heard a bad word about. Let’s see how this goes…

Timorous Me

Although he continues to make amazing music alongside Aimee Mann as half of The Both – this week’s article is going to focus more on my obsession of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists and the songs that never have time to leave my brain because they are continual rotation for at least the last decade. “Timorous Me” off of 2001’s The Tyranny of Distance remains one of my favorites mostly due to the composition of the song itself. Distinct and catchy guitar chords are indicative of anything Leo does but this song has a kind of slow build relying only on guitar and vocals for most of it, percussion comes in sparingly from time to and serves to accentuate the driving guitar lick that I guarantee some of you will immediately try and learn.

Where Have All The Rudeboys Gone?

For the uninitiated, I always recommend this song off of 2003’s Hearts Of Oak. While my completely biased opinion as a Ted Leo super-fan would treat every song as quintessential – including the eponymous track off the album as well – “Where Have All the Rudeboys Gone?” is a nice entry-level song to get someone hooked. Anyone who may have seen the band play live know that singing along to the outro of this song is quite a delight.

Walking To Do

If I really had to choose a favorite Ted Leo album. Gun to my head? I’d have to choose 2004’s Shake the Sheets. It has something to do with being one of those albums that corresponds with incredibly fond memories. Everyone has an album like this, for me Shake the Sheets reminds me of beach-filled days and bar-filled nights of my early 20s. It could also be that – as far as I know and PLEASE don’t crush my dreams should you read this and I’m wrong Mr. Leo – it names one of my favorite bars of all time – The Mews Tavern. For a time Ted Leo lived in my home state of Rhode Island and rumor had it that he would occasionally hang out there. Is it a complete rumor? Maybe. Could it be referring to another “Mews” entirely? Quite possibly. But hearing this album brings me back to a time where I quite possibly could have been drinking in the same room with one of my favorite musicians. If you were to randomly buy one album, I wholeheartedly suggest this one for this this track and quite literally any other on it.

Bottled In Cork

Holy crap, you guys! I did it! I shared a song in this column from THIS decade! I’m not a stupid old fart after all! [Note to Editor: Please don’t put in an editor’s note saying that I am. At least wait a sentence or two] [Editor’s Note: If you are then so am I.] Off of 2010’s The Brutalist Bricks “Bottled in Cork” is not only a fantastic song but the video features Paul F. Tompkins and John Hodgman while at the same time taking a big ol hilarious dump on a certain punk band and their proclivity for modern-day punk rock operas. Additionally, much like “Rudeboys” the outro line of “Tell the bartender I think I’m falling in love” is sing-a-long gold that is nearly impossible to not join in on. 

I’m confident that the songs listed above will get stuck in some brains and hopefully rekindle some love of an amazing band, but just in case, I came prepared with the nuclear option…

Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone

You… are… welcome.

What are your favorite Ted Leo songs? Trick question, the answer is “all of them” but I SUPPOSE you can tweet me particular favorites @theblakerodgers or let me know in the comments below.

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