HITS Daily Double
RIGHT THOUGHTS, RIGHT WORDS, RIGHT ACTION: Let me interrupt my usual Tuesday rant with this completely self-aggrandizing announcement: KROQ JUST ADDED TAME IMPALA’s “ELEPHANT”!!!!… Now we may return to our regularly scheduled whining. Thank you… Do you remember the tail end of the Grunge era, when major label A&R reps decamped to the Pacific Northwest in their Perry Ellis flannel and Gucci creepers to sign every band that had ever opened a four-band bill at the Off Ramp when Nirvana headlined? Or there were the bands that had stalked Jonathan Poneman until he magnanimously gave them a singles deal at Sub Pop, which afforded the band instant credibility, and also made them catnip to the label reps. And wasn’t it mandatory that the band had “Super” “Imperial” or “Deluxe” somewhere in their name? Maybe you also remember that NONE OF THEM HAPPENED? One factor is the onset of fatigue for a certain “sound,” especially when it’s been mined to the second and third tier (next year’s inevitable onslaught of “bands with banjos” should be interesting). Also, the next two “generations” of bands had NO STARS and NO MEMORABLE SONGS. There was no “next Kurt Cobain” or “next Eddie Vedder” (sorry, Scott Weiland), despite the labels’ collective designations that their new signings were The NEW Voice of A Generation. And for all of their efforts to make this meaningful, wasn’t it a kick in the teeth that the stars to emerge from the post-Grunge movement were Jonathan whatshisname from Korn (I refuse to Google, on principle) and Fred Durst? Take THAT, Modern Rock radio. That is what you got for thinking that Radiohead was a one-hit band, or for playing all the bands you KNEW weren’t fit to share the airwaves with the bands that MADE YOUR FORMAT VIABLE. And guess what, YOU’RE FUCKING UP ALL OVER AGAIN. Maybe 25% (being generous here) of the little girl Pop records you’re playing will make the slightest sales dent, even when you play them in hyper-rotation. You can’t have an entire playlist of unfamiliar, untested, unimportant SONGS when you’re still trying to pretend that you only care about Males 25-34. Instead of playing 10 of these records, why don’t you pick a few and MAKE THEM MEANINGFUL. Or REALLY play the bands that are IMPORTANT, like Vampire Weekend (“Diane Young” should be #1, no question) and Macklemore & Lewis and Mumford & Sons and (of course) Tame Impala, Queens of the Stoneage and Phoenix, all of whom have sold more records individually than the combined total of the dozen stupid records you’re playing. How is your audience supposed to care about the glut of new bands you’re playing, when you haven’t designated which ones they should like. It all sounds alike, and that sound is fine, BUT NOT GREAT. Where’s the GREAT? Yes, you have to play SOMETHING until there’s a new Arcade Fire, Foster the People, MGMT or Of Monsters and Men record (or other bands that Modern Rock can take credit for breaking), but shouldn’t it be AWESOME, instead of just fitting a sound (or suit, like Johnny Bravo on The Brady Bunch)? Although your ratings are doing well now (and I attribute that to the songs you were playing a year ago: Mumford, The Lumineers, AWOLNation, fun., etc.), unless you break some ARTISTS in the next six months, and reestablish your point of view as the arbiter of “what’s next,” the format will be as compelling and meaningful as Hot A/C… Although I made a joke about the next wave of “banjo bands,” your audience still LOVES Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers (whose set at Bonnaroo was said to have the biggest crowd). Modern Rock can OWN “Babel” and “Submarines” and you KNOW you’ll get immediate call-out, audience love, etc. Besides, your audience already knows EVERY WORD to both songs…. I am proud to say that I now own EVERY Nine Inch Nails record, thanks to Jim Guerinot. “Came Back Haunted” is already Top 15 and it’s one of my favorite songs on the radio right now (the others being Tame Impala’s “Elephant” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”)…. In either 9 or 13 day’s time, you will be graced with the new Franz Ferdinand single from your friends at Domino Records. You will be happy….. SONG TO HEAR: Divine Fits “Ain’t That the Way” (the best use of the power chord to start a song since The Raspberries’ “Go All the Way.)
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