March 15, 2007

$THING is so $DATE

Filed under: analog — mhoye @ 12:28 pm

Buying a coffee this morning, the radio in the place was playing some completely unremarkable female vocalist’s cover of Coldplay’s “Yellow”. It didn’t even sound like a cover, but more like a karaoke overdub.

The artist in question successfully added nothing at all to a song that was:

  1. originally released less than ten years ago, and
  2. not very good in the first place.

See also, noting that the article in question is both older and better than the song. Mercifully, having completed my coffee-for-cash transaction, I was able to put the headphones back in and insulate myself from this unhinged mediocrity, but it was a near thing.

This is why I don’t ever listen to the radio anymore.

I confess though that some vestigial recess of my primitive lizard brain, long and deeply scarred by a childhood in our cultural sinkhole of a capital city still thinks that the radio is how people find out about music. It’s not, thank-you-jeebus; I hear about music from my friends and, truly, every time I turn on the radio I love my friends just a tiny bit more.

But radio? Mon dieu, non. That’s like wading around in the sewage downstream from an abattoir to try and figure out what you want for dinner tonight. Not just craziness, but extremely low-yield craziness.

Still, I feel this visceral concern that somewhere in my ecosystem of friends there’s one poor sucker doing just that, weeding through endless hours of miserable top-40 detritus to find the occasional song worth hearing twice, or at all. Intellectually I know that just can’t be the case, that even chimpanzees of modest-by-chimpanzee-standards intellect don’t get their music by twiddling bakelite knobs and twisting around rabbit ears anymore.


I sure hope so. If not, Poor Sucker In My Ecosystem Of Friends, sir or ma’am, I salute you.

But seriously, better you than me.


  1. I concur entirely with your strings of words. I’ve long given up on finding new music on the radio. It seems that every time I turn on the radio my ears are assaulted by something more hideous than the last time I dared to tempt the radio gods.

    Whenever one of my friends says that they heard a great new song on the radio my brain instantly tunes out whatever may follow to keep me from going insane with rage. The only way to listen to decent music these days is either with the all-knowing series of tubes, or the magnificent floating marvel of technology known as satellite radio (seriously, it’s not half-bad).

    Maybe one day I will have the courage and monetary backing to start my own radio station, but until such a day, the word radio (when not preceded by the word internet or satellite) will be synonymous with “HAY DOODZ, RIIIMZ!!1~1!`!”

    Comment by Guillaume — March 15, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  2. I have started to LG-PVR (not TiVo) the “Bravo Videos” half-hour every day, and they introduce me to some pretty sweet stuff. Try it for a week!

    Comment by Quotation — March 15, 2007 @ 3:20 pm

  3. The only thing keeping the institution of radio alive right now is the default install. If cars stopped shipping with radios in them, radio would end.

    Comment by Mike Hoye — March 15, 2007 @ 3:52 pm

  4. I would go insane without my car radio given my 1-1:30 hour commute (now with an infant in the back). Course mostly I listen to public radio, not music (I admit to an occasional foray into MikeFM, which plays random pop music from various time periods. It’s crap, but at least it’s old crap that’s composted a while.). That is, when I’m not playing French children’s tunes on the CD player. Ahh, parenthood.

    Comment by Melanie — March 16, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  5. Cars come with radios so that commuters can hear the traffic report every ten minutes. When there is a better, standard way to get that information while driving, one of the necessary conditions for making radios a non-standard feature in automobiles will be met.

    People listen to music on the radio? Radio is obviously a means of delivering news to people whose eyes and hands are otherwise occupied…

    Comment by Mike Richters — March 19, 2007 @ 1:13 am

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