Listening to the Radio

Yesterday I went to pick up Neptune from pre-school at 5:00PM: driving during drive time. “Drive time?” you may question. Yes: radio stations have premium content during rush hours: buying a commercial is more expensive, and getting your song added during “drive time” is every label’s wet dream. Because we are captive, in a car, trying to get home from work (presumably), and stuck in traffic. For this very reason I usually try to not be in my car during drive time. I live against the grain like that.

So yesterday was a treat(-ish), to be stuck in my car, driving across TMR, scanning through the FM radio waves for something to listen to. I stopped on what I initially thought was CHOM (our classic rock station) because there was this song that sounded new-wave but who’s production sounded too, uh, today. I listened on and got into the chorus, thinking: “Oh my god this HAS to be Canadian,” like a Burton Cummings/Neverending White Lights collaboration: an anthemic chant “I love this city tonight!” in a 12-part harmony including one voice singing an ultra-high impossible-falsetto. Methinks: “This is a song about Winnipeg.” As the song broke down for the ending, my reaction was: “Oh no they didn’t!” as the rock radio break down of just the vocals for a round, then just the lead vocal for a round with tons of delay. Cue lasers and station ID. I was listening to CISM, one of our college radio stations.

Still driving, I had to know what that was. The clock hit 5:00 exactly, so I had to sit through ten commercials for indie rock shows the station was promoting – another mind-boggling exercise, hearing snippets of all these bands that are “on the scene.” Barf. I hit the scan button a few times. I wanted to find Richard Tefry’s show on CBC Radio 2 but they were breaking for the news, too. I kept scanning. On the next station I heard synths: lots of layered synths – like Daft Punk or Depeche Mode – and I was kind of into it, but thought the song would be really, insanely heavy if there were real drums (instead of the 808, techno kick). I imagined a band that wrote orchestral, synth rock as I made a turn into some really dense Decarie traffic and learned I was listening to The Killers new single, “Human.” Not sure about that lyric: “Are we human, or are we dancer?” But it’s a little sci-fi, so I’ll let it pass.

This morning I woke up determined to find out who wrote the former eye-opener. I tapped the lyric: “I love this city tonight” into Google and there it was: Snow Patrol. “Really? Not Canadian at all.” A lot of unconventional, unexpected songs get “chosen” to play on the radio…its an exclusive club…although CISM and college radio stations play us a lot so I can’t complain. Last night, as I was making dinner, we did a really long interview with a radio station in Hawaii. Listening to the radio is like an experiment…maybe I’ll hear something interesting, revealing, terrible, laughable, unbelieveable or amazing.