Monday, February 18, 2008

The Music Test

Hi there boys and girls! I have just returned from completing a delightfully delicious music survey. The process took a mere two hours and I was paid fifty dollars in return for my efforts. All I was required to do was to listen to short ten second song clips, decide if I was familiar with the song, rate it, and say whether I thought the tune was overplayed, underplayed, or three little bears perfect. That seems like pretty good pay for simple work, doesn't it? In reality, the music test was two hours of virtually unendurable hell that could not be considered worth any amount of money. I was given a pencil to complete the necessary forms, but at times it seemed that little stick of wood could have done a lot more good if I had broken it in half and jammed the pieces into my ear until the eardrums were as useless as the guy that hands you a towel in the restroom of an upscale dining establishment.
The survey in question was administered by a group that runs three different channels in my current city of residence, Greenville, SC. The recordings I was cursed by Satan's minions to hear were composed of the tunes played on 93.3, which is the "new" music station here in town. I put the word new in quotes because this channel is nothing of the sort. I would divide their playlist into three separate categories. First, they play classic rock like Zeppelin, Floyd, AC/DC, etc. Great musicians surely (except for AC/DC who sucks the taint of a hermaphroditic orangutan), but certainly nothing there that could be considered new - unless you are a former resident of the Jurassic period recently thawed out of the ice cube you have spent the last couple milennia trapped inside. Then, maybe, it might be slightly hip. The second grouping of music they spin is composed of the grunge revolution. Some pretty good stuff from the early 90s, when there were a lot of original bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden, for example. Again, however, this music can not be called new by any stretch of the imagination. As much as it might pain those of us that remember the release of "Ten", it came out over fifteen years ago. Now may be a good time to sit down before you trip over your walker in shock. If you can think of tunes that ancient as new, then I have a brand new 1992 Camry to sell you. Being new, you can count on it being in good condition. Remember, hubcaps are highly overrated. The final dish of music served at 93.3 consists of groups like Creed, Staind, Puddle of Mudd, and Seether. These folks have been putting out albums over the last decade and I not going to argue that you couldn't call at least some of the stuff played by these douches new. I would, however, argue with the classification of their output as music. It is more an assault upon the ears, but even more so upon human dignity itself. They have not a shred of talent between them so don't go listening for a new chord, much less a song about anything meaningful. These folks are either still in high school or those halycon years were the peak of their emotional growth. Their cumulative cookie cutter craptacularity can't even add up to an opening slot on the upcoming Motley Crue tour. At least those guys openly admitted they didn't give a shit about the music and just wanted to get laid. Out of over 600 songs I listened to, at least 200 were of this variety and frankly I did not rate many of them because I could not tell the songs apart or even bear to hear the full ten seconds. Some people say that the feminists and queers are to blame for everything that goes wrong in this nation. If we are going to point fingers at a group for earning the USA the wrath of God, then I would prefer if we could choose these no-talent ass clowns. I hereby proclaim that 9/11 was Nickelback's fault.
Sadly enough, many stations with similar formats exist all around the country. The main culprit is Clear Channel Communications, a megalithic corporation that owns a huge portion of the radio market - in fact, with 1200 stations to their credit, they control more of the industry than any other company. It is very easy to spot one of their "new" music channels, no matter where you are in the United States. They will play the exact same garbage listed in the previous paragraph with very little variation. Could the survey I filled out help to change their playlists? Although I assure you that I did my best to give their music the lowest scores possible when I thought it appropriate, I doubt very much that my opinion will really matter very much. Even if those in charge came to the realization that the members of Disturbed are borderline retarded, the process didn't allow for those taking the music test to make any comments. I was given no opportunity to ask how they could fail to play bands like At the Drive-In, The Shins, Placebo, Les Savy Fav, and many others. In fact, I suspect that those at the top are just going through the motions - they don't care at all what we think. I remember being taught as a young student that America was a Melting Pot, where many different peoples from all over the country came to find a better life. They would, over time, assimilate into our society, leaving the part of their culture that made them different behind. In reality, things haven't gone down quite like that. This country has been, throughout our history, a place where different cultures and ways of thinking were able to subsist side by side even if such coexistence was tenuous at certain times and places. Ours has been a country like no other in the world's history in that regard. Some of that uniqueness is dying, however, as powerful segments in our society like Clear Channel push a menu that is lacking in variety and in substance. We truly our melting together into an Orwellian world where those in authority know best and their is no need for us choose from a variety of possibilities. Culture is watered down and spoonfed to us in formats that have been predetermined by computers and surveys that decide what the "average person" wants, then tailor programs and playlists towards the middle. You have to work very hard to find that which is exceptional and different. The majority of people just don't have the time necessary to search outside of few available options. As a result, creativity and quality are slowly being bred out of the system until they may disappear altogether.

P.S.: Who knows, maybe other people who took the survey like what the channel plays. If so, I am moving to Canada.


Anonymous said...

Hilarious and insightful commentary on the sad state of the music industry in our nation. As David Cross might say, "if you listen to Nickelback, then the terrorists have truly won."

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