“Prisencolinensinainciusol,” Today’s Candidate for Best Song Ever
by Perry Michael Simon on November 5, 2012
Okay, I pride myself on knowing an extreme amount of trivia — back when I worked with Chris in radio, we even did an “Ask Perry” bit on the air in which I answered obscure pop trivia questions off the top of my head — but I have to admit that before this report from NPR’s All Things Considered this weekend, I had never heard of “Prisencolinensinainciusol.” I even missed it when Boing Boing had it a few years ago, and when Sasha Frere-Jones wrote about it in The New Yorker before that. But I have seen the light, and it has shot to the top of my personal playlist for today, and should be on yours, like, now.
“Prisencolinensinainciusol”? What the hell is “Prisencolinensinainciusol”?
This: In 1972, Italian pop singer Adriano Celentano released a song that consisted of absolute gibberish sung/spoken over a looped, hypnotic beat. A few years later, after some TV performances, it was a hit in Italy. The lyrics, Celentano says, were his perception of what English, and English slang, sound like to someone who doesn’t speak English. It is 40 years later, and it’s still pretty amazing. Proto-hip-hop? A commentary on how humans don’t communicate? Catchy as all hell? Maybe, maybe, yes. But it doesn’t matter. It still rules. Even if you can’t exactly sing along with it.