Why Crappy Music, Why Now?
A Eulogy for Channel Z
By Peggy & the Peeples in her Head
How odd it seems that "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" is flying off the shelves. Sure, the Offspring are a great band... But then, that would make you think that they woulnd't sell at all.
"What," you may ask, "are you talking about, Peggy?"
Well, I might reply, Cheese. But that is, in fact, not what I am talking about. I am actually talking about how the popular music has decided to suck. Of course, Courtney probably knows a lot more about this than I do. In fact, the readers probably do, too. This is a completely research-free article, with the exception of sensory data- that is, stuff I notice on my own. And I won't cite anything, either, just to piss off my English teacher. I am rebelling against the MLA and research papers in general.
As I sit here typing away, I am listening to Kiss 107 FM, Cincinnati's answer to the Top 40. Or, rather, the top ten or so... Because they play the same things over and over. Now, if you don't live in Cincinnati, you have no idea what I'm talking about when I rant about the suicide of Channel Z, which is what Kiss replaced. Let me sum it up.
Channel Z played alternative rock intermixed with a variety of 80s songs and oldies. They didn't play the same ten songs over and over again, like the unchallenged Satan of the Cincinnati airwaves, Q102. But slowly, in the summer of '98, those of us with menial, boring jobs like mine noticed that our one and only pastime, the radio, was beginning to suck. One fateful day, we even heard Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."
It was the beginning of the end.
Now, I don't hate Will Smith. In fact, he is one of the very, very few hip-hop type people that I can stand. But my beloved Channel Z was not the type to play any song whose title involved Ebonics. Period.
A few weeks later, the infiltration was complete and Channel Z announced that it was now "the NEW Kiss 107 FM, playing all of today's best music..." Or so they claimed. Rather amusing, in that they play none of today's even semi-decent music.
More like the Kiss of Death, bastard child of Q102 (the evil Top 40 Pop Station) and the Wiz (the evil hip-hop/rap station). Yuck.
So what has become of all of those promising bands whose songs were overplayed by the Kiss, Q102, and similar Top 40 pop stations in other cities? They're gone, probably never to be heard of again, their songs living in notoriety... Like the Macarena, but slightly less hated. Why must they do this to their listeners? They can't possibly believe that we like to hear the same four songs over and over again.
Of course they don't. They just want to manufacture hits- crank 'em out- and when it's over, it's over. Who cares that these songs won't be fondly remembered? They've got their money.
But then a band like Offspring comes along and renews my faith in the possiblity of mankind's survival as a species. Because thanks to all of the annoying teenie boppers are buying music that ridicules themselves.
© Peggy & the Peeples in her Head (Feb. 17, 1999).