The allure of top 40

I’m feeling strong enough to admit it.

Yes. I listen to popular, top-40 radio.

I can say this now because I know there’s no shame in it. We all listen at some point. There’s a secret desire to do so – to discover what it is that the masses flock to, to sniff the opiate that seems to defy taste and class and talent.

Hi. I’m Corey. And I listen to Avril Lavigne on the radio.

Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I started doing this recently for a few reasons.

1. My neighbors at work listen to it, so the songs were slowly being drilled into my head – enough that I actually recognize a few of them.

2. I have written a good chunk of the advertising that is being played on our top-40 station – the venerable HOT 104.7 – so it’s purely work related.

3. I’ve found that, at times, it’s not that bad.

It’s true – hear me out. Over the past two days, I’ve heard two former Left of Center (the Sirius indie-rock channel) standbys on our local super-cool top-40 mix station. Amy Winehouse is the most recent addition. Panic at the Disco is a rather older one.

Not only are these songs familiar to me – delivered through the ether from a former radio experience, it sometimes seems – but they are on heavy rotation. See? Good music can indeed become popular! Coldplay was an earlier example of this, as was Gnarles Barkley. Panic at the Disco (as much as I find myself annoyed at the singer’s voice) has three songs on rotation currently. It’s amazing.

Sometimes I also find myself drawn to the complete train wrecks – the songs that, as I’ve told countless people countless times, prove anyone can be famous with the right beat and the right voice manipulation.

For example: the aforementioned Avril Lavigne’s new song – “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” or whatever it’s called. Horrible. Brutal. It pains me to hear it.

But I can’t look away. It’s a sociology experiment gone awry. Same with Fergie – the talentless piece of Black Eyed Peas eye candy that somehow has weaseled her way into a solo career that involves spelling her name and adding “icious” to her name. And The Pussycat Dolls. Don’t get me started.

It’s not healthy, this new top-40 obsession. But don’t hold it against me. Sometimes, I’m intrigued. Often, I can chalk it up to work. And sometimes I can’t look away.

This is how it starts, isn’t it?

Next stop – reality television.

This was lovingly handwritten on July 9th, 2007