Track of the Day: 'Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime' by Beck

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Caroline from Los Angeles—“a long-time reader, first-time poster”—writes:

Most people, like me, probably experienced Beck’s “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” for the first time in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry’s haunting sci-fi fable about the desperate things we do to pretend that awful things didn’t happen. This fan video of the song is showing its age, but it’s maybe kinda cool and appropriate that it’s faded and blurry with time.

Beck did an unplugged version for some telethon or something, and it’s powerful that way, too.

What surprised me was that Beck’s version is a cover. The song started out as a 1983 synth-pop reverb-fest by an outfit called The Korgis. (Trivia note: James Warren said he wrote it in 10 to 15 minutes—it just came to him—and yet he we are.)  

The Beck version was also used in the Omega episode of the short-lived Fox TV series Dollhouse, scoring the moment when Echo started to reclaim her identity. But Eternal Sunshine will probably be how most of us remember it, to the extent that it lasts in our imperfect memories.

(Submit a cover via hello@. Track of the Day archive here. Pre-Notes archive here.)