since I was last excited
by a stupid song.
This must be why the classic rock radio format exists.
This must be why the pop oldies radio format exists.
This must be why the old school jams radio format exists.
This must be why “we play everything radio”
plays nothing but classic rock, pop oldies, old school jams…
a certain layer of the population
wants to be reminded of what mattered once,
wants to be reminded endlessly of being surprised
and thus changed
by one stupid song.
No one listens to the radio for surprise anymore.
No one wants to be surprised, really.
They tell each other what to hear.
They choose their music on line.
They watch videos on line.
They watch the videos and listen to the music
then box it all up and carry it around
so they do not have to be surprised, ever.
Let me say I know how stupid today is.
Let me say I know that the radio is stupid now.
Let me say I know how good it is to carry with you
a cache of anti-stupid and to have it near at hand.
But I pity you too —
for this will not happen to you
nearly often enough:
Monday. Tuesday. Saturday night.
Driving 95 north through New Jersey.
The 405 or PCH in the Southland.
New England backroad, border of MA and RI,
not sure which state you’re in minute to minute.
Under full moon, Card Sound Road, FL, going flat out,
due west back through mangroves
toward US 1
and then out across the Gulf.
It’s…gin and juice.
It’s monkey toward heaven,it’s domino, it’s loser smile,
it’s low-placed friends,
it’s black metal keys,
it’s the noise, the music, the shit,
the jam, the bomb.
“Is this the new Seger or the new AC/DC?
The new Prince, the new Boss, the new
Wu-Tang? It doesn’t sound like
it should be but it — I know what this is,
this is the new goddamned WHO!
Who the fuck’s playing drums, on the mic,
when did this come out, is this the new album,
the new single,
where the hell did this come from,
when did this drop,
turn it up
turn it up
turn it up some more —
and if that is as loud as it goes
that’s not enough
so I will be selling this car as soon as we stop — ”
You pull the good, warm body next to you closer
and smile like a clown, not caring
as your smile is as large as the music.
I wish you all just once this joy
of having the stupid radio deliver you
from the evil of the stupider world.
I wish you just once
to be surprised by the radio
with no earbuds in
to make it a private revelation.
I wish you the joy of looking stupid in public
as you fall forever into the arms
of one perfect, stupid song…