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Abstract Question About Radio

Old 10-01-01, 03:02 PM
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Abstract Question About Radio

This is something I have thought about for a while. I write modern and classic rock music news for radio stations across the country and looking at the artists I write about, I really wonder how they really make it big other than just well-run PR campaigns. Those get you on the air (along with payola) but they don't neccessarily keep you there.

So does a song gets popular because it is good (or connects with a segment of the audience) or because of its repetition, which lends itself to acceptance?

Time and time again I read or hear people say, "I hated that song at first, but after I heard it a couple more times I loved it!" Is it just that the context of radio and the way a song will get played every hour makes it more attractive?

I would really like to put this to a test. To somehow insert a song into a radio station playlist that still fits with the general sound (not Captain Beefheart or anything like that), but is still vastly different from everything else, and see if it could take off. Say the Pixies on modern rock for instance. Perhaps test people by sitting them in a room and playing them the song first in that situation and then have a popular DJ introduce it.

This is a bit abstract but I think you can tell what I am getting at. So what do you fine folks think?
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Old 10-01-01, 03:42 PM
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Maybe not what you're looking for but my local modern rock station has 4 hours of new and local music every Sunday night. It also feautres about a dozen live songs from an established artist. I look forward to seeing the list of songs every week and then I go and download them and check them out. Here is the link and this past weeks list. Local music is designated with *


1) The Juliana Theory – “This is the end of your life”
2) New End Original – “14-41”
3) *Dave Pahanish – “As Fast As I Can”
4) Powerman 5000 – “Relax”
5) Paul Van Dyk – “Together We Will Conquer”
6) *Top Ten Idols – “Ian”
7) 311 – “I’ll Be Here Awhile”
8) Feeder – “Buck Rodgers”
9) *The Dougies – “Memphis”
10) Brizz – “Don’t Mean Much”
11) P.O.D. – “Set it off”
12) *Two Minute Minor – “From Pin-Up To Punchline”
13) The Chemical Brothers – “It Began In Afrika”
14) The Lilac Time – “This Morning”
15) *Strict Flow – “Don’t Stop”
16) *Paul Tabachneck – “Bigalow
17) *Distorted Penguins – “Lickety Split”
18) Days of the New – “Die Born”
19) *Rushmore – “Panic”
20) Tenacious D – “Wonderboy”
21) Crunchy – “If Only”
22) *Mercury – “Paralyze”
23) *Venus in Furs – “Fix”
24) One Side Zero – “New World Order”
25) Deena Noroian – “One Step Closer”
26) Rob Zombie – “Feel So Numb”
27) Godsmack – “Bad Magick”
28) *Loves Gunshop – “High”
29) Stabbing Westward – “High”
30) Oysterhead – “Little Faces”
31) Naked Music NYC – “Live Today”
32) *Distorted Penguins – “Lickety Split”
33) Korn – “B.B.K.” (Live)
34) Korn – “Blind” (Live)
35) Korn – “Got the Life” (Live)
36) Korn – “Beg for Me” (Live)
37) Korn – “It’s On!” (Live)
38) Korn – “Twist” (Live)
39) Korn – “Dead Bodies Everywhere” (Live)
40) Korn – “Faget” (Live)
41) Korn w/Ice Cube – “Children of the Korn” (Live)
42) Korn – “A.D.I.D.A.S.” (Live)
43) Korn – “Shoots and Ladders” (Live)
44) Korn – “Falling Away from Me” (Live)
45) Korn – “Freak on a Leash” (Live)
46) Spiritualized – “Do It All Over Again”
47) *A Week In July – “4 More Days”
48) Saves The Day – “Certain Tragedy”
49) Low – “Whitetail”
50) *This Morning – “Secrets”
51) Seven Channels – “Circle”
52) Abandoned Pools – “Sunny Day”
53) Mark Eitzel – “Anything”
54) Hoobastank – “Crawling in the Dark”
55) 40 below summer – “Falling Down”
56) Tantric – “Mourning”
57) Soil – “Halo”
58) Collective Soul – “Next Homecoming”
59) Showoff – “Waiting for You”
60) Aether – “Thousand Dolls”
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Old 10-01-01, 03:44 PM
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In my opinion a good song or a quality song does not make it popular, just look at R&B, Pop and most Rap. Most of that music is void of any creativity and workmanship. What makes it popular is maybe a song has a cute noise or a repetative phrase or hook that people can repeat to each other.

The other thing is that most people of this generation are so detached from musical identity that you could play the Pixies and they would think it was a new group. Preface the airplay of the Pixies with some sort of marketing thing like "Here is a great new band that will be appearing on TRL this wednesday and the lead singer was on Real World Boston..." I guarantee kids will be running out to buy the Pixies. I always love it when a new group does a cover of a song and people think it's a new song.

For me when I say that it "took a couple of listens for me to like it", it's not that I didn't like it at first but I just had to listen to it to take it all in. Usually when I buy a CD I immediately listen to the first 20 seconds of every song. I then go back and listen to the whole thing and then again with headphones on. It then stays in my player for the next couple of weeks and I usually listen to it every night. That is when I make my final opinion of how something is. Also when an artist moves in a total different direction from their last album it takes me a while to accept it.

I could list many groups in almost every type of music that just plain suck yet they are very popular. They are not doing anything creative, new, different or good for that matter but they have a catchy hook....need I say more than "rollin'....rollin'....rollin" ? I think not.
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Old 10-01-01, 04:35 PM
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I think pop music is like a drug- it's not good for you but it's addictive and mind-numbing
personally, I get very sick of songs that get played over and over again- I like some pop music but I rarely respect pop singers
as far as not liking something the first time you hear it- that is common for me (although I heard Rufus Wainright for the first time last night and I really enjoyed his performance) but I don't think I've ever started liking anything I hated at first
but I do get sick of most of the crap on the radio- I was spoiled by 99x in Atl, I used to bitch about their playlist being too repetitive but now I don't live near any decent radio stations
I think the formula is PR + sex appeal + catchy, brainless song= fame
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Old 10-01-01, 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by palebluedot
In my opinion a good song or a quality song does not make it popular, just look at R&B, Pop and most Rap. Most of that music is void of any creativity and workmanship. What makes it popular is maybe a song has a cute noise or a repetative phrase or hook that people can repeat to each other.
This goes just as much for rock as it does R&B, hip-hop and pop.


The other thing is that most people of this generation are so detached from musical identity that you could play the Pixies and they would think it was a new group. Preface the airplay of the Pixies with some sort of marketing thing like "Here is a great new band that will be appearing on TRL this wednesday and the lead singer was on Real World Boston..." I guarantee kids will be running out to buy the Pixies. I always love it when a new group does a cover of a song and people think it's a new song.


The cover bit is good. That's a nice example. There is this post-modern idea of the new original. Even though Nirvana was *heavily* influenced by the Pixies, Nirvana are the originals in most people's minds. In the same vein if the Strokes get huge they will be viewed by many to be a new sound even though they sound like Marc Bolan and the Velvet Underground.
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Old 10-01-01, 05:36 PM
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Originally posted by Yancey


This goes just as much for rock as it does R&B, hip-hop and pop.

I totally agree. I guess I just like to pick on R&B, Pop and Rap becuase IMO the bad outweighs the good(especially in the R&B world). But yes you are correct there is plenty of this in Rock music. Another group of just horrid unoriginal music is in Contemporary Jazz. It is just full of cookie-cutter musicians and music, it's really awful stuff.



The cover bit is good. That's a nice example. There is this post-modern idea of the new original. Even though Nirvana was *heavily* influenced by the Pixies, Nirvana are the originals in most people's minds. In the same vein if the Strokes get huge they will be viewed by many to be a new sound even though they sound like Marc Bolan and the Velvet Underground.
There are very few pioneers but there are a lot of imitators. It's one thing to be influenced by a certain kind of music and use what you learn to create something new. It's a completely different thing to just re-do what has already been done and not offering a new taste to it. I remember when The Black Crowes first came on the scene, I couldn't tell where Led Zeppelin ended and The Black Crowes began the music was so similar. They eventually started to create their own sound, it just took them a couple of albums.

IMO the problem lies in the fact that interesting original music just doesn't cut it anymore with this generation. The music has to be accompanied by endorsments as well.
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Old 10-01-01, 07:27 PM
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Aah, post-modernism, the bane of my artistic sensibilities. I can't say I hate all of it, just the self-winking "look-at-me-I'm-so-ironic" content out there. The idea surpasses the execution, with no reverance for actual origins. Any chance to use the past to create new art is wasted on 5 second sound bites of songs to sell electronics and cars.

Context is destroyed. What can you expect when Iggy Pop is selling cruise trips? I don't blame the artists, they sell their songs, it's their call (of course, when this is done posthumously it gets a little shady). It's just where we are at right now. The tide has ebbed recently, forcing our culture to search out for something substantial. I just hope the majority of our consumer culture looks hard enough to seek out a strong handhold to weather the eventual return.

And like the Mr. Bungle song in my sig "None of Them Knew They Were Robots."

Good post-modernism? 2 bands that pop in my head are The White Stripes and the Oblivians. They both invest/or invested heavily in the past, but also revere and respect and work with it. And now the Stripes are emerging from their influences. The progression on their 3 albums is remarkable. The Oblivians got to near perfection on their gospel album and eventually went on to other things.
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