There is this gas station/convenience store at which I occasionally stop, usually to conveniently purchase gas, but sometimes, since they have a clean and easily available restroom, to conveniently expel some gas, that plays fairly wretched music. I am no musicologist, of course. I was a DJ for my college radio station, and that station sometimes played wretched music, but the groaners that came out of that basement studio never matched this tripe.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no curmudgeon or anything. I tend to think that any music is good for you in some way. When kids sing it would win no American Idol competition, but I still encourage it. Makes the soul bound, if you know what I’m saying. This establishment, the one that I don’t quite frequent, is generally blaring, louder than such a place should blare anything, modern country music.
I grew up in New England, and when I did so, it was hard to find such music. There was maybe one radio station out of dozens that played it. There were more on-the-air preachers (Friends! We realize compassion when we come to passion. When we share the passion of Christ. When we share with our neighbors. When you share what you can to keep the Word coming to you on this station. And so on…) than country music stations. I thought of it as bad music, but harmless. Oh some people might enjoy that crap, those poor simpletons, but really, how could it ever catch on?
Eventually, as everyone knows, it crept north, spreading like kudzu, taking over the local flora. I came of age in the 80’s, when there was a lot of crappy music to be found, but I am still in denial of this invasive species. Granted, any big country music star has talent, but why waste that talent on simple repeated chords and hackneyed lyrics? Like some art, I can’t help thinking that my pre-schooler could have created it. The nasaly twang that pours out these tales of woe that force my eyes to roll involuntarily can be heard in way too many places.
This market is one of them. Sometimes when I go in there, to grab some coffee after pumping my petrol (fuel for the large polluting commuting machine, fuel for the medulla oblongata) I almost laugh at the seriousness with which the overly loud singer dumps out his or her syrupy schlock. Are you serious, I want to ask? But I would both get no answer and insult the meagerly paid woman behind the counter. She chose this station, after all, and that is one of the few pleasures of this job that requires only a high school diploma.
I still go in there. Just like I tune in to the preachers at times, I like to stay keen on my schlock. Plus, I like to be able to mock it appropriately when I get the chance. If only I could just mesh the two, it would cut down on my listening time. Perhaps something like this, heard with the appropriate voice, and you know you know it:
I’m a radio preacher and no one sends me dollars.
My blue jeans are threadbare and I’ve got stains on my collar.
Why does my Christian lady have to tune me ow-oo-out?
Now that’s bad music. Good thing I’m not in the biz. But then again, maybe that’s just what the biz needs.