Radio killed the radio star.
“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles was a beautiful song until I heard it at least twice a day, every day, for what felt like an entire lifetime of suffocating, poppy bubbliness.
That song came out in 2007, and I’m only recently (within the last six months) able to listen to it without wanting to get a turkey baster and fill my skull to the brim with caulk to stop the pain.
So I generally avoid listening to the radio. I live under a musical rock. When everyone else is sick of a song, I have no idea that it’s even being overplayed, and can thus enjoy it at my own pace.
The radio station that played in the lobby at the Taco Johns I worked at as a young lad was FM 105.1, the worst culprit I had ever seen for these kinds of earcrimes. I once went three weeks in a row hearing “Paralyzer” by Finger Eleven every single day, without exception. Again, it took years of recovery for me to begin to enjoy it for the cheap, shitty pop-rock song it is.
Context for this story: For several weeks, I had been trying to call in to this alleged “radio station” so I could tell them what I think of their music choices. The day right after my 19th birthday, I finally got through.
[Dialing . . .]
[The phone continued to ring for seriously about 30-40 seconds. That’s a long time to be on the line waiting, which shows my desperation. That’s also a long time to listen to a ringing phone in their office, which shows their contempt for humanity.]
A man finally answers.
Hello? Are you serious? That’s not how you answer the phone at a business.
Me [with fake excitement] “Is this FM 105.1?”
He seemed to pleasantly match my excitement.
Guy “Yes it is!”
Me [with glee] “Hey what’s this song playing right now?”
Of course I knew what the song was.
Guy “The song playing right now is . . . lemme check . . .”
[Silence for a few seconds.]
Guy “This is ‘Lonely No More’ by Rob Thomas.”
I pretended to sound amazed.
Me “Huh… yeah I think I heard this song yesterday too!”
Guy “Probably – it’s a pretty popular song!”
I hadn’t noticed.
Me [less excited] “And the day before yesterday, too.”
Guy “Yeah probably . . .”
His voice was trailing off a bit. He was catching on. Good boy.
Me [flatly] “And I’ll probably hear it again tomorrow.”
He responded with no emotion.
Guy “. . . Yeah.”
I let the silence hang in the air for a few seconds, and then I hung up.