Radio Silence

I used to listen to the radio. A lot. Once upon a time I thought I’d be a radio DJ. It seemed like it could be quite a nice gig.

When I moved to NYC in 2005, I stopped listening to the radio by default, as I could never get a signal on my stereo in any of the multitude of apartments I inhabited.

Zoe Radio

A shirt I could only get away with in my twenties. But I did love listening to my tunes, as evidenced by my hip CDs on display.

As someone who likes to keep on the up and up with the newest hit songs, it was depressing to go into a void. I never learned what the radio stations in New York were. In fact, I still only remember the ones from St. Louis, where I grew up. Fortunately, around that time, music was more and more shifting to streaming and/or being available on things like Napster and iTunes.

I could check the iTunes Store to see what I liked and order a CD or download an album, as I became wont to do. The shift from CD to downloaded music was a subtle one but I haven’t purchased a hard disc of music in quite a few years now.

One of my favorite things in life is getting that instant gratification from sampling and downloading songs I love, new or old. Instead of hitting Record on the tape deck, I can type in any artist, song title, or album, and either take a trip through the Forest of Nostalgia or see what the kids are listening to these days and figure out if anything is worthwhile. (Unfortunately, as I get older, I am more and more baffled by the “hits” topping the charts, and I recognize fewer and fewer artist names.)

Living in New York, everything I ever needed was on my iPod, which is an absolute necessity if you are going to live in any major metropolis and commute on public transportation. My commute is pretty short and sweet these days, so if I do listen to anything on the way to work, it’s on a CD or my iPod. Add in to the fact that listening to radio commercials sets my teeth on edge and I have no patience for them anymore (thanks to the advent of the DVR), the radio has slipped into nonexistence, as far as I’m concerned.

It only occurred to me the other day that, essentially, I have not listened to the radio in eight years. What used to be a crucial item in my existence has simply faded away. The only “radio” I listen to now is Pandora on occasion, a totally evolved version of the medium. I still get to hear new music, insofar as it’s new to me, and anything I really like, I can go to my computer and get. C’est magnifique!

Anyone else out there still a hardcore radio aficionado? Or has your music lifestyle changed, as mine has?

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Side notes: I have never subscribed to Sirius Radio or anything like that, which is the “cable” of radio. My total ignorance on this topic is why I have left it out entirely. Additionally, my dude does listen to talk radio, so it’s still a big part of his life. Plus, when we go on road trips, we play a game where we hit Scan on the radio and see who can guess the name and artist of a song before it scans to the next station. It’s a nice way to pass the time, actually, and the only time the radio retains any lingering significance for me.

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$1.29 Well Spent

I don’t think I’ve written about my loyalty to watching American Idol. I have loved it since the first season — ten years ago — when I began watching at the young age of 20.

If iTunes had been recording performances ten years ago, I would have loved to get an official version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Natural Woman,” because girlfriend belted that ish out. She is still my favorite Idol but I have few other close favorites, as well. (If David Cook could release more music, that’d be terrif.)

Annnnnyway. This year, with it being New Judges Year and no Simon, I didn’t think I’d watch much past auditions. Although, J-Lo is infinitely better than Kara and I didn’t supremely dislike her, either. But my continuing to stay tuned is a testament to the talent they procured this year, because these kids are really, really, really good.

I really want a woman to win this year because they have talented enough ones in the bunch for sure (Pia, Lauren Alaina) but I think there is a dark horse that could sneak in – and his name is James Durbin.

At first I thought, okay this guy has a great back story but we’ve seen him before in the likes of Adam Lambert. But after hearing him for a couple of weeks now, he not only has a different character and flavor, but his voice is much more Axl Rose-ish and he has started to exude control over those huge pipes.

Case in point: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” the song he sang this past week, which really blew me away. I wanted to keep rewinding it and hearing it so I knew I’d check it out when iTunes finally released the singles for the week.

I sampled all the people’s songs I liked, including Casey’s, Pia’s, Scotty’s, and even Lauren’s (sorry Lauren, need something better from you) but when I had to pick where I was going to throw my $1.29, it came down to James Durbin.

As I write this, this song is on repeat. It is SO. GOOD.

Whether or not you agree with my selection, I highly encourage you to check out this week’s songs on iTunes because at least one of these kids is going to be a huge star, but it wouldn’t be surprising if there were at least two.

Unless something goes terribly, tragically wrong, I think it’s safe to say that this year’s winner won’t fall into obscurity like others have. (Taylor Hicks? Bueller?)

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to play this song a few hundred more times while I clean my house.

Update: I no longer watch American Idol. It ran its course for me. I endured the season with Randy, Jennifer Lopez (whom I actually liked as a judge), and Steven Tyler, but once they moved on to the new Loathsome Foursome, I was done. It was a great run!