I learned a phrase in Italian class a few months ago that I think of whenever I hear Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" on the radio. "Tormentone estivo" literally means something like "big summer tormenter," but refers to catchy, blockbuster songs that burrow into your ears at the beginning of summer and hang on like grim death. ("Call Me Maybe" anyone?) The concept started in the '60s, and it's enough of a thing in Italian culture that La Repubblica ran a story last year called "Quarant'anni [40 years] di Tormentoni," listing (and seeking votes on) the songs meriting this title from 1972 to 2012. The article talks about how these songs get so associated with the summer they were big that they always call to mind a story, love, friendship, or memory from that summer. I don't know many Italian pop songs, but I randomly clicked on a link to one of the songs, "Tre Parole" by Valeria Rossi, and I recognized the song right off -- I guess that just shows how ubiquitous it was (though, to be fair, it was the 2001 entry, and I did go to Italy around Memorial Day that year so, needless to say, it gives me the warm fuzzies). Here's a G-rated version of "Blurred Lines." My apologies if it torments you for the rest of the day (or summer).
[Photo from La Repubblica.]