With rare exception*, commercial radio has sucked ass for the past 25 years. And the ass suckage has only increased in magnitude over that period of time. There are too many commercials, which are of poor quality – I shit you not I heard a commercial on the radio not long ago where the female announcer was yelling through the whole copy, and they play the same song(s) all day long. Used to be it was a handful of times a day, but the last time I was listening to commercial radio, about a year ago while doing some yard work, the commercial / song ratio was in parity, and they played that fucking Avicci song 6 fucking times in 2 hours. 6 fucking times. In two hours. In case you’re an idiot with a 27 second attention span, or 98% of the American population, you’ve forgotten it already, so here it is. For your listening pleasure, the mainstream (aka shitty taste in popular music) feel good hit of the summer, 2013:
It’s a catchy little pop tune scientifically designed to get wedged in your craw. And it was played to death last year. Which, incidentally kiddies, is the origin of the term “Played Out”. It comes from the tendency of radio stations to play a play a popular song so frequently, even people who enjoyed it early on get sick of it.
Now I love music, and I love having some playing all day long. But it’s next to impossible to find a station that’s tolerable – few to no commercials and a decent range of preferably new songs. At the top of the cable TV station range are these music channels, and there’s seemingly something for everyone. I rigged the cable box up to the receiver so I could listen to the music without the TV being on, like an actual radio station, and put on channel 1814, which they call “Adult Alternative”. I am an adult, and when I wasn’t, “Alternative” was a label given to the artsy, original bands, and encapsulated everything from punk – metal – improvisational pop jazz. Basically it meant anything they couldn’t play on mainstream radio. Which as previously mentioned sucked ass to intolerability. So I figured this was just the thing. But I was mistaken. They tricked me. It’s just a shitty soft-rock station emphasizing positive energy songs. “Positive energy” is the industry euphemism for happy, happy, upbeat, sunshine, puppydogs & ice cream, marshmallow fluff bullshit songs created as fertilizer for the rainbows & rhododendrons growing in your belly. A variation of what comrade Marx would call an “opiate for the masses”. They’re adult lullabies. Lullabies to Paralyze**. And they fucking piss me off, man.
Here’s one of the songs in regular rotation on that channel:
“Best Day of my Life”, by some group calling themselves the American Authors. The ghey on this song is very strong. Just listen to that slop. Everything about it is fuzzy teddy bears, and warm blankies. This is a goddamn nursery rhyme, for adults. You might be saying “So what? I like to be happy & this song makes me happy. In fact, I’m going to go out and have the best day of my life, while listening to the song “Best Day of My Life””. To which I reply, you are a fucking moron. Go play with your trains now.
This is terrible because as adults, we (should) have the capacity to experience and accept the full spectrum range of human emotion and experience. When things suck shit, as they frequently do, we (should) accept it, and get pissed off enough to get off our fat, lazy asses and do something to make it better. Listening to shit like this is just passively accepting the suck.
Here’s another one:
It’s called “The Walker”, by Fitz and the Tantrums. Not nearly as objectionable as the previous example, but it’s got that happy, happy, joy, joy vibe. Absolutely nothing edgy here.
Here’s another song that’s really driving me crazy:
WARNING: DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS SONG! IT WILL GET LODGED IN YOUR BRAIN!
It’s called “Marry that Girl”, by Scott Porter. It’s as bland and weak as watered down baby formula, and it’s going to be a smashing success. He took a couple basic ska/reggae type chords and chants the same two or three lines over & over & over again. From what I can gather, some open-mic level singer-song writer guy with a very weak set and poor prospects did not get parental approval when seeking engagement with the object of his affection. And he decided to throw caution to the wind and proceed regardless. Following decades of Hollywood romantic comedy film conditioning, I guess everybody today wants to have some dramatic tension in their boring lives. Since rarely do events worthy of true crisis present themselves folks are now fabricating them so they can have something interesting to talk about for the rest of their tedious existence.
“When Scott wanted to propose to me, my father said no, but we overcame adversity and true love triumphed in the end”.
That’s exactly the script he & his fiancee will be running, ad nauseum, until the cold embrace of death liberates their social circle from this “romantic & challenging” prelude anecdote. Guess what, whipper-snappers, I wouldn’t approve either. Unless there’s a trust fund to fall back on, this dude does not have the fundamental basis for a successful marriage. And until he’s able to provide for a family, he shouldn’t be marrying anyone else. Everything isn’t going to work out fine. Following the honeymoon phase, y’all are going to struggle financially and emotionally, and will most likely wind up divorced. Please don’t bring children into your fucked up, retarded, adolescent fantasy. You’ll just be harming innocents.
Which brings us to the worst of the worst, “I Want to Get Better”, by the Bleachers:
Is life so unbearably challenging that people are reduced to this? Jeez, louise! We’ve all got problems, but is it so bad that folks are “Screaming from an overpass” that “[they] want to get better”?! What the flying fuck is that going to accomplish? If there’s something troubling you, determine what it is, and then figure out a way to fix it. Wutzzamatta cupcake? Feewing sad & lonely? Shit people, it’s not the end of the world. Go out and do shit. Socialize. Meet other people. Don’t sit there and cry about it, like a little cry baby. And that’s what this song is. It’s designed to take your mind off of whatever it is that’s bothering you. But it’s only temporary. This upbeat little number will come on, you’ll connect with that line, and you’ll feel better for a little bit. But then you’ll crash, and your life will still suck because you didn’t get off your ass and take some proactive action. Because you’re lazy, and you’re a frightened little rabbit, and you’re terrified of change. So rather than saturating your life with sappy panacea, just accept your wretched existence. You may not “get better”, but believe it or not, you will actually feel better.
And now, it’s time to counter-balance the preceeding duplicitous bullshit with some level 10 awesomeness:
* Up until the mid 90’s, quality radio programming could be found in the NYC area from stations like 92.7 WDRE on Long Island, and NYC’s 92.3, morning home of Howard Stern in his prime. There are independent, non-profit community radio stations throughout the country which offer high quality programming, such as NJ’s WMFU, KXLU in Los Angeles, Seattles KEXP, etc. These good stations can be internet streamed, and I encourage all to do so, & support what they do.
** Lullabies to Paralyze is the title of the fourth studio album by Queens of the Stone Age, released on March 21, 2005. There are a few good songs on there.