Friday, April 29, 2016

Radio Rules

My job takes me an hour north to Indianapolis at least once a week.  I make this trek in the car my dad used to tow behind his RV - a 2004 Saturn.  What I love about this car is that it is drop dead basic - it's got absolutely no frills.  No power windows, no power locks, no digital anything.  It does have a very temperamental CD player, which I loved. I got to dig out a buncha old 90s mix CDs I had made, and it was great to revisit tunes that in many cases I never bothered to rip to my computer.  (Usually because it was some low quality recording that I had downloaded from Napster or because it's a song I need to only hear like once a year.)

Anyway, of late, the CD player just won't play anything I stick in there.  It's sort of a drag.  In addition to making the commute way more fun, listening to music helps keep me awake; in some cases, it also keeps me from fretting about the shit weighing on my mind (lord knows there's plenty of time for that).  I've had to resort to listening to commercial radio.  Honestly, commercial radio can't die fast enough.  It's horrible, and even among the four Indy radio stations claiming to be "Indy's only classic rock station", there is absolutely no variety.  But the constant station scanning I end up doing usually turns up at least a decent song or two a day, so it's not a total loss.  Over time, I've had some "radio rules" that have organically emerged - musical preferences that guide what gets played in the car.  Here a a few in no particular order.

1.  I end up listening to a lot of crap on the road, but I change the station/turn off the radio when the following come on (NO EXCEPTIONS):  Bon Jovi, Lynyrd Skynyrd, hair metal of any kind, "Stuck In The Middle With You" - this list is getting longer as I'm realizing how repetitive classic rock stations are.  Most advertisements I simply turn down; however, political ads make me fly into a rage and have me lunging to switch off the radio.  (You hear me, Todd Young?  Fuck you, dude.)

2.  There are a handful of songs that are pretty good, but I only crank certain parts - usually a breakdown, solo, or "freak out".  Take for example the bridge/freak out of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper", or the break down on The Knack's "My Sharona".  How about the piano solo on the Allman Brothers' "Jessica"?

3.  For high volume songs/parts, windows should be down if possible, particularly if I'm not at a traffic signal.

4.  Almost always listen to:  tunes with pedal steel guitar, banjo, 80s music and anything by the Who.

5.  Currently taking a break from the following bands when they come on - I like 'em all, I'm just pretty tired of hearing them at this point:  AC/DC, the Eagles, Queen, Led Zeppelin.  This is only temporary.

6.  In the morning on the way up, the "Bob and Tom Show" is my last resort when there's nothing on and "Morning Edition" can't be picked up. That show is almost the opposite of funny, but it is good background noise.

7.  Always crank 80s deep cuts and 80s college rock.  (Example, example, example.)  They are the rarest of gems even when they're crappy.  Indeed, the previous three examples are absolutely horrible.  But their power to take me back in time instantly is something that should be respected.

8.  If listening to NPR, I usually change when any of the following come on:  election coverage, "Noon Edition", coverage of Syria, the annual "Mama Standberg's Cranberry Relish" story in November, coverage of Israel, and any guest with NPR mouth or vocal fry.

I'm sure I have other rules, and other rules will likely arise.  But these are sort of my general guidelines for sorting through the (usually massive) amounts of crap I listen to on the commute to and from Indianapolis.
Here she is dressed up way sportier than she actually is.