Wednesday, June 17, 2015

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 17: A Song You Hear Often On The Radio

I do not abide total silence well and so, as a consequence, it is hardly ever completely quiet in my living space  I turn on NPR first thing in the morning, I listen to music or news-programming when I'm in the car, I always have something playing in my home or office while I work, and most nights I fall asleep with either music or the television on. For many people, this sort of constant "background noise" is a distraction. For me, silence is deafening.

I just can't concentrate or focus in total silence.  That isn't to say I'm always "actively listening" to whatever is playing, but I need it playing anyway in order to think or sleep. Sometimes, after work, I'll come home and sit in front of the television or turn on a podcast and discover, after a half-hour or so when the programming grabs my direct attention again, that I cannot remember what it was that I was watching or listening to. I once explained it this way in re TV: I'm not really watching, I'm just letting the television "occupy my face," by which I mean it's keeping my senses busy, something that (perhaps counterintuitively) allows me to think more clearly.

Because of this need for constant sound, I frequently listen to the radio. (According to the Pew Research Center, so does the vast majority of Americans.) A few months ago, here in Memphis, one of our local radio stations (WKIM 98.9FM) switched its programming format from talk to classic hip-hop and since has become THE BEST RADIO STATION EVER.  The "tagline" for The Vibe-98.9FM is: it's like someone broke into your house, stole all your CDs, and started a radio station.  (For full effect, you have to use the radio-announcer voice when you read that last sentence.) My pick for today is a song that I probably hadn't heard more than once or twice in the 20 years before 98.9FM recently put it back in regular rotation, but now that I'm listening to 98.9FM all the time, I hear it almost every day.  It's an oldie, but oooooh such a goodie.

Here it is, Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks":

The IRS says it wants to chat and you can't explain why you claimed your cat. Break it up, break it up, break it up.

Only tangentially-related: of the most hilarious collaborations in the history of music, imho, is the one that Kurtis Blow did with Bob Dylan for "Street Rock."  Bob Dylan raps. It's almost NINE MINUTES long.  It's so bizarro bad that it's almost good.  It is also a track that I can pretty much guarantee that you will never hear on the radio, so I mention it here today just to let you know there is a thing like this in the world.

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