30 Songs in 30 Days: Day 18
day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio: Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Snow”
I like this question. In this day and age, where just about every song is available instantly at the press of a button, you would think it wouldn’t matter if something came on the radio or not. When I was a kid it mattered. If it wasn’t on the radio, you didn’t hear it. But I find it still matters to me. I like the randomness of radio and the possibility of hearing something new. I like the Russian Roulette game of spinning the dial (And yes, my radio has a knob. Digital tuners take all the fun out of it for me.) – will it be something you like or something you hate? That’s something I could get from programs like Pandora too, though. But there’s one thing that radio brings to the table that Pandora doesn’t: a sense of community.
I like that when I listen to the radio, other people are listening too. My neighbor and I like to complain about the afternoon DJ on Chicago’s WXRT, but then we might follow up with, “But did you hear that new song…” Even without talking to someone out there, when I listen to the radio I’m part of, to borrow a term from Benedict Anderson by way of an ethnomusicologist friend of mine, an imagined community. Listening with others changes the experience, even if you don’t know exactly who the others are. It’s why when I’m driving long distances alone at night (which I don’t do often any more, but used to do fairly frequently), I prefer the radio to CDs or an iPod. It’s not just music. It’s company.
When I was a kid, I’d wish for things on the radio because it was the only way I’d get to hear my favorites. But I don’t wish for airplay much any more. There are too many other ways to satisfy my musical needs. The instant gratification of iTunes has spoiled me.
AJ, though, is all about the radio. So I thought I’d let him pick the song he wishes were on the radio. He answered with no hesitation: “Snow” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Why’d you pick that song?
I like the guitars in it and how the singer sometimes sings fast and sometimes slow.
What’s your favorite part of the song?
The “Hey Oh” part.
Why is that your favorite?
I just like the tempo.
Do you sing along to it when you’re listening by yourself?
I hum to it. Actually, yeah, I sing.
Why do you like to sing along with the music?
I don’t know. I just like singing.
Okay, so he was a little taciturn today. But music is something AJ and I actually talk about a lot. It’s kind of our thing. It’s nice to have a thing. And he’s interested in this meme. After we were done talking about today’s song, he asked me to read him the other questions so he could think about his answers.
What’s Your Favorite Song?
Seven Nation Army
What’s Your Least Favorite Song?
Um, I can’t think of one.
What about something by Justin Bieber?
[insert eyeroll here] Yeah, “Baby.”
Some Justin Bieber song all the girls like.
What song makes you happy?
On the 54 [by the Dandelions]
What song makes you sad?
I don’t know. Can I go watch the baseball game now?