I've quit listening to the radio, pretty much. Even in the car. For years now. Except for NPR, at the store, occasionally.
It has occurred to me that I do this every decade or so. Right at the end of the sixties, after the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, nothing interested me until Elvis Costello and the Clash. Then after that faded, nothing interested me until....Nirvana.
I was reminded of that because of the MTV Best Videos of the Nineties show, (hey, it's the holidays, all repeats.) Most of the songs, the boy bands, the girl bands, the others left me kind of cold -- though, I must admit, Baby, Hit Me One More Time sounds and looks better to me now than it did at the time. I mean, catchy pop tunes and all that.
But then they got to the final songs: Close to the top, Losing My Religion, by REM, a great song. Then, coming in at number 2, the song One, by U2, which reminded me how great the album Achtung Baby was. And then, drum roll, number one song:
Smells Like Teen Spirit, which literally sent shivers down my spine by how good it is. 17 years later, and it is still chilling how good that song is.
Now, I was in my forties when these three songs came out, and yet, I remember watching the Teen Spirit video the first time and my mouth dropping open and thinking music was saved....for a few more years.
So....I think I'm just waiting for the next great song, the next great band. There are some great artists still, Neil Young, for instance, and I've gone through a phase of listening to a lot of old time country music, and alt rock and alt country. I can like and appreciate Arcade Fire, and have a fondness for Dixie Chicks, but ... the next great song just hasn't hit for me. I'm beginning to hope that even in my fifties and sixties, I'll at least recognize greatness...I hope.
And it will be safe to listen to the radio again.
Unless rap music is it, which means I've totally lost it.