Top 40 Radio
By Chris Gayomali
I spent the past weekend with some good people in a semi-isolated mountain cabin in McHenry, Maryland. Roughly 14-hours were spent commuting from New York and back, turning my passenger-side window into whirring dioramas of empty fields, barnside doors, tractor trailors, and other snapshots of Americana.
Our wonderful driver, in his haste, forgot to bring along his iPod connector cable, so we were stuck with nothing to listen to but the radio. On the drive home we stumbled upon KIIS FM’s Top 40 countdown, which, quite surprisingly, wasn’t nearly as bad as I suspected.
It’d been forever since I listened to the radio (which I attribute to not having a car), but it seemed as if most songs on the countdown paired a white popstar with a PG-13 rap cameo. Some were terrible (Ke$ha). Some were stellar (Gaga). And, I’ll admit, I developed a few guilty pleasures that I’m not particularly proud of (two, in fact).
1. Justin Bieber is an interesting kid. His career path will probably steer him more along the lines of Aaron Carter than Justin Timberlake, but his song “Baby” featuring Ludacris is phenomenal. Sure, the chorus is phoned in, Luda sounds neutered, and the beat was tossed together on a Macbook Pro, but (!!!)… oh, who am I kidding. I have no explanation. The song weaseled its way into my skull like an ear infection. I’m seriously at a loss for words.
2. On Valentine’s Day (or rather, the day after), I got dragged to see Valentine’s Day, the movie. It was as it was, but Taylor Swift penned the opening theme, “Today was a Fairy Tale.” To her credit, the girl can write a love song. Here’s a case where execution trumps intention — we’re not exactly looking for layers of of embedded meaning here. If I were a 14-year-old girl, this is exactly the kind of shit I’d be into. But I’m not, so I’m more than a little embarrassed with myself.
Wow. I’m probably going to regret writing this one.