Apr 17, 2013

Iheartradio, we need to talk.....

One of the things I have done to take back control over my life is limit what I listen to in my daily life.  I turned off the news years ago but was still surrounded with some very strange stuff that also made me crazy on the radio.  So I started being very careful about where I keep my dial tuned.  It has improved my life dramatically.  Actually, that's an understatement.

One of my favorite things in this battle is It's a free music service, where you give them a general idea of what you like and they just keep throwing stuff at you to judge whether you like it or not. If you like it, it plays again. If you don't like it, it never plays again.  I mean never.  The best part, though, is that there are no commercials or idiot DJ's to make you crazy.  In case those things have that affect on you, that is.

Everything was going really good until I decided to "make" a station called Orleans, after the soft rock group you may or may not remember.  Whether you remember them or not, I'm sure you know the song Still The One.  This is a basic idea of what I was looking for.  I guess because they were popular in the 70's, the powers that be go by the genre and the time period to throw more stuff at you.  If you are picky about your music, this may make you crazy anyway.

I had always known was picky about music, but I like so many different kinds that I doubted this would be much of a problem.  Always the optimist, that's me.  Not really, just seeing if you are paying attention. So I "made" my Orleans station and it threw out the Bee Gees, Bob Seger, Gordon Lightfoot, Van Morrison, Carole King, the list goes on, but all were good with me. I "liked" them all.  THEN it started throwing Linda Rondstat at me.  I down arrowed her.  The first time I didn't think much about it.  But it kept throwing more at me.  I down arrowed them ALL and I realized a couple of things.

1)  I am not a Linda Rondstat fan.  I never knew this before.  She can sing, don't get me wrong. She has a great voice and great control. It's just that her songs........well, her songs get on my nerves.  All of them.  You have to be in a certain mood for almost all of them.  They are all so intense, they wear me out.   Take You're No Good, for instance, please! Been there, done that, done WITH that, quite your whining, Linda, suck it up and move forward like the rest of us have. Probably your friends and family knew it all along!   I guess I'm just never in those kinds of moods anymore. I lack the energy and have learned that this, too, shall pass.  But Iheartradio did not seem to be getting the hint.  It's not about the songs, it's about the artist, and I am here to tell you, Iheartradio, I am not a fan of Linda, so you can quit putting both herself and I through this embarrassing rejection.  Enough already!

Which leads us to:
2) that there were only about 3 women who were even singing (successfully) at that time.   Besides Linda (cringe) and Carole King (give her to me all day long) they started throwing Melissa Manchester at me. Now, I had actually forgotten all about Melissa, who also can sing very well, but does not "do" it for me. Never did, never will.  I may have forgotten about her, but I can say that I never even knew she sang so many songs!  I was exhausted before I got them all down arrowed, and in desperation I just "made" another station.   It turned out pretty much the way you would expect.  Some good, a whole lot of bad (at least to me), and a few that I had forgotten about.  You might be saying "Couldn't they have thrown in some Heart?" Good idea, just a few years too early.  

The worst thing is that never, NEVER do they play some of the best songs that an artist ever did, if they were not commercially successful.  Take Jackson Browne, for instance. I "made" a Jackson Browne station, but do you think Sky Blue and Black ever came up?  Maybe Fountain of Sorrow?   NO! Know what did?  Lawyers In Love! GIVE ME A BREAK IHEARTRADIO!!! I KNOW YOU ARE JUST A BUNCH OF KIDS GOING OFF TOP 40 LISTS AND HAVE NO IDEA WHO HE EVEN IS!!

So, now that I have outed Iheartradio, and every other music program I have tried, I will give you some advice: ITUNES, baby!  Go to Itunes, find your music, and it is there for you forever. You can make playlists or play it anyway you want, all day long.  Yes, you have to pay for it, but only once and it is WORTH it!  You can also make any kind of CD you want once you have the music.  My boys have memorized their favorite CD's of mine, whose titles are "Trip To The Zoo" or "Summer 2010" or "Mellow" or "STRAIGHT UP ROCK" or, more sensibly "The Mills Brothers".  OK, not the Mills Brothers.  If you are below the age of 50 I doubt you even know who the Mills Brothers are and I will tell you that they won't be found on Itunes.  They are probably a bunch of kids also.  You have to go to Youtube for The Mills Brothers, but it's free and they are a classic.

What I will say for Iheartradio is that it's a nice change, if you work in a metal building and all your radio will pull in is the local station that is nothing but Top 40 (or perhaps 20) syndication.  That crap about drove me to riot in the streets before I took control and got back in charge of what my head was filled with.  The twins still want to listen to that station, and any time I turn it on, they automatically start singing along, no matter what song is playing, like Pavlovian dogs.  It's kind of scary.

I still felt kind of bad about it until I heard a commercial, when the twins were in the car, by a very deep voice telling us all about the wonders of testosterone enhancement.  I don't know who might need testosterone enhancement, probably older men?  But I was terrified that it might seem like a great choice for teenage boys.......  That was it for me. I know things are tough all over, but when you have to stoop to accepting money to run commercials like that (and I do feel for you, my brothers, but perhaps you could consider you programming?  Good programming could lead to better advertisers?  Just a thought.), you are on your own.  I am done mindlessly driving along while my blood pressure rises listening to bad music and worse life choices presented as if they are sane, which they are not, to people who don't even have enough sense to turn the station.  All this zombie talk is not about nothing, you know.  They are real, just not in the way they are being portrayed by the entertainment industry to part you from your hard earned dollars.   And they are everywhere!

I am frequently tuned into American Family Radio (AFR), found in this area at 91.5, which is Christian based talk radio.  There is no music here, but it's a really good source if you want to know what is actually going on in the world as opposed to who won on American Idol last night, which seems to be being discussed on *some* radio stations as if it were actually news.  Perhaps, to some of America, it is.  If you would like to give it a try you might want to prepare yourself beforehand, depending on where you usually get your news.  In any case, I can pretty much guarantee that you will be aware of things at least 2 weeks before the so-called "press" mentions them, if ever.  Oh, and your children will never hear anything you wish they wouldn't. I promise!  At night they often have sermons that just last about 30 minutes.

One evening, I turned it on as I was making my piles of bills to go through, and I just sent up a prayer that consisted simply of "Lord, you know my needs".  I sent that prayer at the same instant I turned on the radio, which was turned to AFR, and I immediately heard a deep voice with a Texas twang say "and stay tuned for our next segment on What To Do When Thinking About The Future Is Making You Depressed".  I laughed out loud and looked up and was floored because that was exactly what my "need" was at that moment!  Sometimes I feel like He doesn't answer prayers, but this time there really could be no doubt.  I was so very glad that I had heard that instead of a song about some kind of sexual practice or other!

That is how low the bar has fallen, folks.  If you haven't faced that yet, I suggest you listen closely to what is constantly playing in the background of your world.  It's the background of your life.  Choose freely but choose wisely.  Especially if you have kids.

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These are my thoughts, which sometimes drive me crazy and sometimes keep me sane, but are always entertaining. I call this Lace Your Days With Hope because I can't find enough hope to make an entire quilt out of. Stay tuned, and add your own!