Radio is terrible

I always forget something when I travel. The best case scenario is to forget something that I don’t really need (like my toothbrush, um, I mean, a magazine) or something I can replace for a couple dollars (like a toothbrush). This time didn’t work out that way.

I forgot to bring CDs. Most of the time, the trusty iPod is fine, but not in MD, where every trip requires a car. “Norm,” you might say, “there are ways to play the iPod through the car stereo.” And you’d be right. But my mom’s car stereo doesn’t have a jack, and the attachments that play an iPod on an open frequency are spotty around here. So it was four days of driving to the radio, during the holiday season. Sound a little like hell?

I’ve heard a ton of crap, big steaming piles of it. I’ve also heard some decent stuff that didn’t make me reach for a pen to stab out my eardrums. But before we get to the list, I have a question:

Why does radio love Supertramp and Steve Miller so much?

Supertramp has one decent album with three decent songs that I’ve heard five times a day everyday. Steve Miller is like classic rock water. It goes down easy, but you’d rather have something that tastes better… like Tom Petty or The Police (not Sting, The Police). These acts have been all over the radio too, and I’m ok with that.

[Me stepping off the soapbox]

Here are the really good songs I’ve heard this week, inspired by four days of hitting the scan button. And by really good I may mean really bad, or I may mean really good. You be the judge. If I turned up the volume and sang along, it made the list. The louder I turned up the volume and the louder I sang (the sum of which = total rockitude, I believe), the better the position on the list.

Survivor – “I Can’t Hold Back”
Ever seen Survivor and Foreigner in the same room?We might be on to something here.

The Who – “Baba O’Riley”
No comment required, great song.

Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’”
The tighter the jeans, the higher the notes.

Kansas – “Carry On My Wayward Son”
See, geography can rock.

Boston – “More Than A Feeling”
Like I said, geography…

Guns N’ Roses – “Patience”
Being acoustic worked against them – harder to be loud.

Elton John – “Tiny Dancer”
Imagine the scene from “Almost Famous” but in a car, in the suburbs, without anyone else around.

Van Halen – “I’ll Wait”
They could have moved up with “Ice Cream Man” or “Panama.” See what you did inanely chattering DJ guy?

Gerry Rafferty – “Baker Street”
This guy is tied with Rupert Holmes (“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”) for most obscure artist who sings a song everyone would know if they heard it.

Crosby, Stills and Nash – “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”
You know, the long song with all the ‘do do dos’ at the end.

And to preempt the two most obvious questions…

I am not ashamed.

Wham – “Last Christmas” would have placed between Journey and Kansas had I heard it.

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  1. John wrote:

    Funny, I just used those two exact groups (Supertramp and Steve Miller) in my blog as an example of what I became bored with by the mid eighties. I’m going to seriously disagree with you about Supertramp. Crime of the Century, Crisis, What Crisis?, and Even in The Quietest Moments are all masterpieces. I’m assuming you are referring to Breakfast in America in your rant, but you are selling this band tremendously short. I can find you another seven or eight great songs between all the other albums in their collection that you surely have never heard either. Just my two cents. I’m not going to argue that radio doesn’t suck or that Steve Miller is overexposed, but he’s got a lot of B cuts that don’t make the radio that were great. I’ve heard worse…such as any song by Survivor (Foreigner blows them away…if only they hadn’t gone soft). And Baker Street is a masterpiece compared to The Pina Colada Song…geesh. You should have left out the Wham blurb too…it’s a credibility thing even though you get points off for it being a Christmas song. Happy New Year!

    Monday, December 29, 2008 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
  2. Norm wrote:

    I think our tastes are pretty far off from each other. I generally don’t listen to much classic rock these days, aside from the occasional Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin album. So much of my knowledge is left over from high school, when I was discovering all this stuff. This list is mostly comprised of songs that take me back. It’s not music I would choose to play over and over. I don’t even own most of these songs. But being at the mercy of DC-area radio, I was happy to hear them.

    Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 4:46 pm | Permalink