Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musical Offence

Over the past few months, we've had a parade of contractors move through our house. This parade has provided its own music, from a series of beat-up radios covered in paint, varnish, plaster, the badges of each contractor's trade. Not too surprisingly, there's been a fair amount of what passes for country, and various other genres--one guy, who I thought for sure would be airing either country or rightward-leaning talk radio, surprised me with NPR. It's been mostly survivable, though I kind of despair for the state of country music since Merle Haggard's heyday.

The worst musico-contractorial experience, though, was a radio playing this weird pop station. The station had apparently disposed with DJ's. Listeners could text the radio station, and request a particular song or artist and even include a message. A computer--I assume there was no human involved beyond the programmer--would queue up the tracks, and a speech synthesizer would crudely burble the usual DJ stuff with the usual weird pronunciation and missed accents: "This GOES out, to BarBARAfrom Jessee. Number four on the charts WITH a ROCKET it is Nicki MINAJJJ."

How could this soul-sucking experience be worse? Easily--all the songs sounded pretty much the same, musically vapid, pushed by the exact same drum-machine beat. And every single goddammed song was auto-tuned, so even the humans didn't sound human. It was a robot radio station, with music by robots. The next logical step in this progression is to have robots listen to the stuff so we don't have to. It would be an improvement.

For a good long read on the human heart in music, go see Jeremy Denk.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to tell myself it's the next extension of Dadaism. I wonder what future history books will call the cultural offerings from this period?