More annoying, even, than having a stone stuck in your shoe or sitting in Mount Pleasant bridge traffic for an hour is having a song going around and around in your head. (HER NAME WAS LOLA! SHE WAS A SHOWGIRL! You’re welcome.) I mean, am I right or am I right?

Most annoying, however, is having a song stuck in your head and not being able to remember what it is. “You know — it’s that song!” you say frustratedly to bored coworkers. “It goes like this: La la la, ooh, la la, yeah…. Come on, you know the one! You must know it! I think it was on the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack once. It has a really long chorus! What’s it called?”

Your friend, meanwhile, looks at you all “Girl? You’re on your own. Dawson’s Creek? Please.”

Enter, a pioneering new voice-based music search engine that will tell you exactly what tune you’ve been torturing your friends with all week simply by hearing you sing, hum, or whistle a few bars. I mean, come on, is this the best thing since sliced bread or what? Who wants to search for something by Googling it when you can search by singing it instead? The future is here, man!

Using a complicated-sounding technology called Multimodal Adaptive Recognition System (MARS) invented by a bunch of brainy Stanford grads, the program extracts a variety of components from the tune you’ve just seared its eardrums with, including speech, pitch, tempo, and even the exact location of pauses. All this is to say it’s built specifically for amateur singers like you (and me.) You don’t have to be Mariah Carey for your song to be recognized. (And thank god for that. For any number of reasons.)

This being the age of Web 2.0, of course — and us living in the nation that practically invented capitalism — doesn’t stop there. As well as the fact that there’s a (yawn) social networking aspect tacked on to the site, once you’ve matched your song, you can, of course, buy it. To me, at least, this brings to mind the old joke that goes “Who sings that song you’re humming? The Red Hot Chili Peppers? Well, great, let’s keep it that way.”

If you’re so inclined, you can even contribute to the service by adding tags to your favorite tracks, recording yourself singing the tune — although please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t — and saving the sample to the site. You can hear other people singing the track you’ve just searched for too, which is a feature that was no doubt created solely for diehard American Idol fans to fawn over. And people like me to laugh at.

So don’t let that obscure Death Cab For Cutie tune get the better of you — thanks to, at least someone will know what you’re talking about when you whistle a few bars into your microphone. Just please don’t do it anywhere near me. You know I’ll have it stuck in my head all day.

Holly Burns would like to remind you, in case you’ve forgotten, that HER NAME WAS LOLA! SHE WAS A SHOWGIRL! Find her on the web at

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