Honestly, I don’t mind Top 40 music. There is a time and a place for it. When I was a kid, I loved being able to find the latest hits just by flipping between two or three stations on my transistor. I knew that once the new Duran Duran jam had debuted on my favorite station, I would only have to wait ten minutes tops before I could hear it again, on my other favorite station.
As I grew older, my tastes became (slightly) more refined, and I drifted away from the mainstream radio stations. Now that I have access to mp3s, I find mainstream radio to be completely obsolete. Plus, the music itself has grown arguably worse in the post-grunge, post-metal, post-hip-hop (yes, hip-hop is dead, folks) era. Unfortunately, the Top 40 has lived on, and now there are entire satellite radio feeds dedicated to regurgitating the most brain numbingly irritating hits of the past three decades.
I recognize that this music has its place: On top 40 radio stations, in dance clubs, or in the private homes of people with horrible taste in music. But why does it need to be pumped into every single public space at top volume? I should be allowed to eat my lunch outside in peace without being bombarded by songs about love, sex, and dancing. Of course this makes me seem like a bitter old man, and I’m reminded of the Robert Crumb cartoons where the artist would rail against the ubiquitous nature of popular music. At least when Crumb first started bitching about it, the music was actually halfway decent. I think even he would admit now that The Doors are infinitely preferable to…uh…I really have no idea who any of these “artists” are. They all sound the same to me.
What’s that you say? Obama wants to feed me to robots? Speak up, sonny! I can’t hear you over the din of this horrible popular music!