February 08, 2007

An Open Letter to America's Radio Personalities

MEMORANDUM

TO: American Radio Personalities

FR: Benjamin Kepple

RE: On-air music descriptions

Dear Radio Personalities and Associated Personnel,

AS THE OWNER OF an older automobile, I don't have many of the newer accoutrements which come with cars these days, such as satellite radio, high-definition radio, or even a compact disc player. As a result, I rely heavily on my AM-FM radio for news or entertainment while I drive. (I also rely on a small and rapidly-decaying tape collection, but that's another post entirely).

Due to this heavy reliance on the radio, I have noticed over the past few weeks that you, the nation's radio personalities, are promoting weird and unnatural ideas in connection with the music of the Eighties, Nineties and Today. Specifically, I refer to the weird and unnatural idea that Oasis' "Champagne Supernova" is a "blast from the past," as well as the horrible thought that any S Club 7 song, much less "Never Had a Dream Come True," was something that would jog one's memory.

I mean, come on. "Champagne Supernova" was released in 1996, which was all of ten years ago. I was in college, for God's sake. Even under the most generous of circumstances, this is not what one would consider a "blast from the past." Oh, no.

Generally speaking, I think it's fair to say that "blasts from the past" have to have some age to them -- two to three decades' worth, at the very least. Not only that, but the songs have to rule -- and, as such, playing these songs must generate some nostalgia for them among listeners. "Champagne Supernova" wasn't a bad song, but there's no way that thing has the nostalgia power of ... oh, "The Power of Love."

What's that? Yes, I did just cite Huey Lewis & the News. Any song from Huey Lewis & the News counts as a "blast from the past" because Huey Lewis & the News ruled, whereas Oasis arguably hijacked the Beatles' legacy and cheapened it for their own material gain. But you can see, radio personalities of America, where this is going. So, let's review:

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BLAST FROM THE PAST: Jefferson Starship
NOT A BLAST FROM THE PAST: Hanson

BLAST FROM THE PAST: early Bob Seger
NOT A BLAST FROM THE PAST: Blessid Union of Souls

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Crowded House
NOT A BLAST FROM THE PAST: Third Eye Blind

BLAST FROM THE PAST: early James Taylor
NOT A BLAST FROM THE PAST: 98 Degrees

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I hope this list proves useful going forward, particularly when faced with tough questions about whether middling stars should be introduced with the same respect and cheerfulness with which one would introduce, oh, shall we say, Springsteen.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at February 8, 2007 11:34 PM | TrackBack
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