Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Profanity and music

Funny how music works. Two of the catchier songs I've heard over the past couple of years will never be played on the radio, which is why I don't tend to listen to music on the radio anymore. God bless the internet, no matter what Stevie Nicks says.

Commercial radio in North American, for example, was never going to play this delightful bit of political profanity from Lily Allen. Profane, catchy as hell and making a point. Wonderful stuff. The music video, alas, is lame. But I guess you can't have everything.

And then we have the internet phenomenon released last week by Cee-Lo. Mainstream media are catching on to it a bit late, but they're getting there. Here's the thing though, "Fuck You" really is the best pop song I've heard this year. Easily. And I'm guaranteeing you I will never hear it on Raven Rock.

Here's hoping that still works. YouTube has been slapping versions of the song behind a wall, making people verify how old they are because of the song's lyrics. sigh...

They're both great songs, but the thing is, 20 years ago I probably never would have heard of them. Hell, I remember being shocked when I first heard Liz Phair's stunning "Exile From Guyville" from a friend who worked at the college radio station. As long as they're being clever with their use of profanity as Allen, Cee-Lo are and Phair was, I have no problem with it.

Which is why so much of commercial radio is so boring. I only listen to Raven Rock and Capital FM in Iqaluit when I'm going back and forth to work. And even then only because I'm too lazy to set up my iPod in the car. I want clever and that's so rarely present on those stations. Or any commercial station.

Although I will say this much about Iqaluit's newest radio is deeply weird. It's build as a classic rock station, but it's not. Not really. It's an old rock station. Classic rock operates under the assumption these are the greatest hits of yesterday. So lots of The Beatles, Stones, The Who, etc. Which is fine if you're into that. I find a little goes a very long way for me.

Capital FM just plays weird old music I've never heard before. I like to think I have a decent amount of musical knowledge. I won't be writing for Pitchfork any time soon, but I'm not bad. And yet, it is nothing for Capital FM to play five songs in a row that not only have I never heard of before, but I've never heard of the artist before. Obviously they're old songs; you can tell just from listen to them. It's just that I have no idea when they were popular, if ever, and who they are sung by.

I'm not sure if you can have a new classic rock station, but Capital appears to be trying it. Still not sure I actually like any of the music they're playing, but at least it's....different.

Last Five
1. Sleazy bed track - The Bluetones*
2. Toast - Tori Amos
3. Spirit in the night (live) - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
4. Casimir Puaski Day - Sufjan Stevens
5. When anger shows - The Editors

1 comment:

pSRjKt said...

I like Australia's national youth radio station "Triple J". Its like a mature university or community radio station with lots of financial backing. They always play a variety of genre, new artists, and alternative music without alienating everyone.
They also keep me young :)
Now, if only I didn't fear going over my NWT internet cap ...
listen live: