A Mystery Unveiled

I have a five hour commute twice a week, so the scan button on my car radio gets a vigorous workout. Too often, I find myself asking “Who listens to this s**t, anyway?” Stupidity doesn’t suffice as an explanation. There aren’t enough cretins to go around; and besides, the cretins I know are Ramones fans. Or leftists.

Now we come to find out that Sony actually has to pay radio stations to play Jennifer Lopez, Good Charlotte, and Jessica Simpson. This comes as a relief. I have a higher opinion of the American people than the playlists at the various “KISS” radio stations across these fruited plains would warrant.

Next: Will Eliot Spitzer find out that they have to pay people to watch “reality TV” (whoa, an oxymoron rush!)?

13 thoughts on “A Mystery Unveiled”

  1. Gabba gabba we accept you, we accept you, one of us!

    Dude, give up on the regular radio.

    I hear this XM thing can be good. Wouldn’t know, myself.

    Short commutes, various tapes. That’s my thing. That plus a Muffs bootleg I listen to over and over again. Live at Tower Records. Awesome.

    I don’t think I have ever heard any songs by any of the awful people you mention.

    Speaking of girl singers, my next big purchase is going to be the reissue of the Nikki and the Corvettes album. Three free songs here, scroll down.

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  3. The problem here is that the $10M fine is lunch change compared to the figures used in articles about national tour promotions, etc. The government has basically told the ad people at Sony to take a couple of weeks off.

  4. I guess I’ll be pegged as a snob or something but why don’t you find a classical music station? If you’re not familiar with classical music it’s a great opportunity go get to know some of it. Or you can play CD’s or you can just turn the thing off, nothing wrong with silence sometimes.

  5. J Lo is bad enough to find on the radio. But heavens, is there nothing more punishing than a steaming pile of rap, endlessly repeated?

    I have to agree about the lack of listenable radio around. Classical is okay in small doses, but tends to put me to sleep. I suspect my interests are far too small a market to make it worth anyone’s while, so my forays into radio became more and more infrequent. CDs and tapes saved my driving life.

    But just once in awhile I like to hear radio, for the pure serendipity of the music. As soon as I am pelted by Ginuwine or Nelly, off it goes. (Unless my daughter’s in the car. Nothing ruins a song like having your arrhythmic atonal 44 year old white guy dad rapping and dancing along with it. In the car. With other people looking. Sure, it’s wrong, but I don’t want to be right.)

  6. I had my current vehicle for two years before I needed to find out if the radio worked. (There was a tropical storm coming in…) Mostly, I have a vast collection of cd’s. I rip ’em and mix ’em the way I want. The greatest tribute I had to all of that was when my eldest deployed to Afghanistan, and told me he needed mp3’s of everything I had. I’ve gradually progressed backwards thru rock, and now am backfilling with lesser appreciated groups like the Ventures and the Tijiuana Brass. I may be a dinosaur, but I’m a happy dinosaur.

  7. A gratuitous shot at reality TV was unnecessary (redundant I know). The show Rockstar INXS has been very entertaining, The Amazing Race shows you wierd places around the world while spouses yell at each other (something I need to see to feel like my spats are not uncommon), and The Apprentice let’s you play with the contestants in entrepreneurial activities. Since I had to give up 50% of my sports viewing to keep my then engagement and now 16-year marriage intact, this artificial world of competition is a welcome replacement for Saturdays with college football, Sundays watching the NFL and all boxing, bowling and other sports I used to enjoy viewing.

  8. But heavens, is there nothing more punishing than a steaming pile of rap, endlessly repeated?

    Yes, yes there is: Tejano. This is basically German oompah music played to a peppy Latin beat, accompanied by passionately warbling tenors. If that doesn’t sound so bad, it’s because you don’t realize that it’s all the same song, played over and over and over and over and shoot me now and over again.

    It is particularly bad late on a winter’s night, when you’d like to sleep with the windows open, and some idiot is trying to get through the security gate, but hasn’t bothered to get a key card (in case management finds out ten people are living in the apartment). He parks to one side and waits for someone who does have a key to come through, and in the meantime oompah-pah-pah oompah-pah-pah ay, mi corazon! is booming from his speakers and your windows are bulging inward and cracks are forming in the ceiling. Mind you, rap is not any more appealing under those circumstances.

    Fortunately the gate is broken about 2/3 of the time, so this doesn’t happen very often.

  9. Fumbling for another CD or mini-disk on 95 in the dark is not a good practice. It shouldn’t be so hard to hear something good. I blame Clear Channel.

    I actually have very wide-ranging tastes in music (Mozart, Rancid, Otis Redding, Toots & the Maytals, …) and enjoy listening to unexpected discoveries. I remember hearing a song in Kreyol on a Haitian station. Eventually, to my complete delight, I realized it was a barely-recognizable cover of “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender.

  10. I have found IZ and Hawaiian music to be very calming. He was truly a giant, and his Theme From Gilligan’s Island is pretty good humor once you get past the intro. We went all over Guatemala on our trip, hoping that one of the local marimba bands would know the American TV Classic – nope.
    I always throught the Tejano-German Oompa Music must have come to Mexico with Maximilian of Hapsburg, the Austrian.

  11. Hey Ho Let’s Go!

    Mitch, do what I do on long distance trips: Get an MP3 player and car adaptor kit, then digitize some cds. It doesn’t take that long and you don’t ever have to change discs. Makes a trip far more enjoyable than the foul mediocraty of modern radio.

    Angie, I fear your winter unpleasantness is blinding you to the fact that Tejano is completely awesome. How can one’s heart not be brightened by that perky polka beat or the cheerful tones of the accordian. Makes one long for a cold cerveza on a long hot summer day like today.

  12. I’m afraid, like Angie, I find both Mexican & Czech polkas tiring – but the rest of my family loves them. Is there a chance, Captain Mojo, that you drink a lot of coffee? Still, there’s nothing like the grand march to make a newly married couple feel, as one of my daughters said, hugged by the whole community.

    Is Captain Mojo a Brave Combo fan?

    My husband once gave a paper at a 3-day academic accordion conference (with Tejano, Cajun & Czech polka bands playing each night and including a workshop on the folk art of constructing accordions). Of course, there was much talk about the role of Maximillian’s Czech band. The speaker on Tejano music argued that talk of genesis & influence wasn’t important, accordions were universal, kind of plucked from the aether, with the polka somehow in the oversoul.

  13. BTW, all you polka fans should give a listen to John Prine’s polka hit “Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian.”

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