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The Evils of FM Radio
It’s lunch time, and the topic amongst my friends is of one which often comes about: music, of course. The chatter includes what current songs we like, which might entail on-the-spot performances, some of us talk about Country (which, for the most part, I can’t stand), some R&B.
Then someone mentions the song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.
I smile and like a mechanical reflex say, “I love that song!” Then, the friend who brought it up says something to the effect of, “I used to love that song too, but it got so overplayed on the radio.” So basically, she got sick of it. I thought nothing of it at first.
But then this thought came to me: where does the radio get the right to turn a wonderful song into musical aversion? The song is catchy, easy-listening and has wonderful lyrics (not to mention multiple scats by Mraz). But the stations decide to play the heck out of it and it makes people sick. Who can blame them?
I’ve never been a radio listener. The only thing I do listen to is NPR. I love the way they talk: so smooth and quiet. I love hearing the interesting stories and weekend shows. It seems like listening to music on the radio is too much work and inconvenient. You have virtually no control over what song or artist is being played. I would much rather listen to my songs through a CD or by some other medium.
Well this recent discovery has given me another reason to hate the radio.
And after doing some thinking as well as recollecting on this subject, I realized that this is not the only case of a good song being in danger of the ‘overplayed’ status. I would be sitting happy if I got a dollar every time some one said the words “That’s a good song but its old.” Old.
It seems that FM radio has taken the job of making praise-worthy songs tacky, overplayed and annoying.
It makes me wonder if disc jockeys are aware of this epidemic. Are they trying to make people hate the songs they play every fifteen minutes? It’s a ludicrous thought.
But if you think about it, this problem can go both ways. As well as hearing of songs being overplayed and therefore driving the listener to hate the song, I’ve heard of cases of people hearing a song so much on the radio and elsewhere that they once hated it and then grew to love it.
This actually happened to me quite recently. Although not so popular now, the song “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry was the song on the FM airwaves. At first, when everyone was so ga-ga over it, the song made me want to drill nails into my ears. The lyrics drove me insane: I kissed a girl and I liked it...the taste of her cherry chap stick.... Why would I want to hear about one girl’s club night gone wrong?
But then the inevitable happened: I started to love the song. The infectious beat and Perry’s unconventional voice are what drove me to actually turn on my prior belief (Notice that “I’m Yours” has a much higher calibration than Katy Perry’s tune, which makes this case even more troublesome.)
It makes one wonder if this can be calculated in a somewhat mathematical formula, or theorem: “If a person feels a certain way about a song, the feeling will change upon hearing that song a bazillion times.”
It’s silly, yes. But true, I think, as well.
It all depends upon the musical personality of the individual. The radio DJs can’t control whether the listener will grow tired or smitten with the popular song of the moment.
All they can do is play what the people want to hear. Until they love it...or want to shove their radios into a meat grinder.
Cornish, New Hampshire
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