From Wednesday afternoon of March 25th, to Wednesday Morning of April 1st, every time I was in the car I listened to the radio, specifically WOGL, 98.1 FM in the area, which always used to be called “Oldies 98.” What’s great about being old now (30 years) is that my favorite music era, the 80’s is now considered “Oldies” so I got to here a good amount of New Wave music on the Oldies station, how’s that for irony.
Normally when I’m in the car I have my iPod plugged in, and I’m usually listening to an eclectic variety of music or an audio book. I’ve been doing this since college, so listening to the radio is a very rare experience. The commercials were not too overbearing, but the problem that I had with the radio is the selection of music, I had forgotten how much music I don’t like, and there’s no way to get around it, you just have to grin and bear it.
The first song that played on the radio was “Rock the Casbah” which is my favorite song by the Clash, and also a great music video. A friend of mine told me that the Clash was the most political band of an already heavily political genre of music (punk), and rather than being focused on local or national (English) politics, the Clash went for a more global view. The music video is still relevant today.
During the week, twice I heard the song “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” which is easily my least favorite Rod Stewart song, so that was a problem. I’ve always hated this song, because it reminded me of the song “Come to My Window” by Melissa Ethridge, which is a song I enjoy, and then this song would come on and sound like it but so much worse, reminding you there are better songs out there. I realize this might not make any sense, but it’s just a personal feeling. Also the lyrics are so bad, it sets up one view with the first couple of lines, then changes the entire meaning of the song with the next few lines. And finally the song is too mellow and quite. I didn’t like this song when I was a kid and still don’t.
I did here the song “Young Turks” also by Stewart which may not be my favorite song of his, but its way up there, and it’s in the San Andreas Soundtrack. I also heard the song “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood twice, which I have no problem with. I think I like the song “Valarie” better, but only slightly, both songs are classic 80’s.
I mentioned “Music I hate” earlier. There is one specific genre within the oldies cannon that I just can’t stand and that’s Motown. Here’s the thing with Motown, I respect it as a genre, it has an interesting story behind it, and I’ll even admit that it was an important step in the historical progression of music. That being said most if not all Motown brakes down into more or less the same sound, and this in itself if not a bad thing, but I just personally don’t like that sound. In addition to Motown, there was a Marvin Gaye song that came up, I don’t remember which one and I don’t care, I can’t stand his music, it is way to over ratted.
When it comes to the 70’s and disco, it’s a love/hate relationship. Some of the disco songs I love and some I hate, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to why I should feel one way or another. I’ve recently found out that New Wave is/was a merger of Punk and Disco, and although there are a handful of songs in the genre that I don’t like, the genre as a whole is one of my all time favorites.
When I was a kid and listened to this station regularly, I remember them playing a healthy amount of 50’s music, but not anymore. In fact with this futuristic radio in my car that sometimes tells you what song is playing, the WOGL tagline says “Greatest Hits from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.” Perhaps the 50’s now being 60 years old more or less, put’s it into the category of what… Antique? I can’t say that I missed it. Again I respect 50’s music and the very beginnings of rock, for which most of the music I listen to owes its origin too, and this includes metal, but the 50’s is not an era I go to in music frequently.
All in all, it was an interesting experiment, the radio was not quite as bad as I either remembered or had assumed, I may start listening to it more often, but not all the time I’m sure. I much prefer the ability of listening to oldies, new wave, metal, classical music, techno, et al at the push of a button, without commercials or even songs I don’t like. Some things about the future are pretty good, and the iPod is certainly one of those things, but radio is not dead.