This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years. This time around, I’m focusing on the Music Question, which asks teams to identify songs on the basis of short snippets edited together.
The sprawling pavement of the superhighway where information travels brought major changes to the 90FM Trivia contest. Suddenly, top-of-the-head knowledge didn’t have quite as much cachet when a skilled Google searcher could rapidly unearth all manner of minutiae. One of the main reasons I so appreciate the Music Question is its enduring capacity to reward internalized cultural information. Most of the sliced-up segments are too brief to be identified by the music recognition tools speckled into our various gizmos, so the main strategy is dedicated listening. More importantly, it contains the possibility that every member of our team might be the one who heroically responds with the correct answer. Several years ago, there was one sliver of song, sweet and sedate, that proved peskily elusive to our sub-crew that took the Music Question as a shared personal mission. Then another team member took a break from the main contest to put her ears on the snippet that remained a mystery. With inspiring immediacy, she named it as “Private Dancer,” the title cut from Tina Tuner’s career-reviving 1984 album. Her certainty stemmed from her bygone use of that particular album to help drown out some of the more unpleasant sounds of dorm life during her first year of college. Even without the salacious backstory, we were all overjoyed that she came up with the high-point answer. To use a comparison drawn from another competition of the springtime, it was akin to the excitement felt with a player takes a turn as pinch-hitter in a clutch situation and cracks a game-winning hit.
More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.