In a wretched twist of fate this evening, my iPod’s battery died, and I keep forgetting to return the charger to my truck. To entertain myself, therefore, for the nearly two-hour drive home from Austin, I was forced to listen to the, ahem, radio. (!) And if you’ll allow, I’d like to share a few impressions from that traumatic experience:

  • This atrocious chick Katy Perry and her abominable (and, apparently, inescapable) smash “I Kissed a Girl” have got to go away. Above and beyond the fact that there’s nary a note of that incalculably stupid song that’s even remotely tolerable, Perry — even if you buy the fact (and I do, for the record) that she’s got her tongue planted firmly in her cheek for the track’s duration — singlehandedly sets the gay rights movement back about twenty-five years with just three interminable minutes of tacky, slipshod trash. I’d sooner mainline a daylong loop of Cascada as sit through eight bars of this again. Ever.
  • Boy, did I totally call “Better in Time” — featuring more splendiferous vocal work from that on-fire import Leona Lewis — being Spirit‘s second single, or what?!
  • The band to keep an eye on this summer? San Francisco-based Thriving Ivory, whose self-titled debut album (from Wind-Up Records, the same label that sent Evanescence into the stratosphere five years ago) is available exclusively at Best Buy in physical form (and digitally, at all the major online stores), and whose jaw-dropping first single, the transcendent and moving “Angels on the Moon” (here’s a handy Thriving Ivory - Thriving Ivory - Angels On the Moon link), is fixin’ to touch off a multi-format firestorm at radio. Sung with majestic, awe-striking power by the riveting Clayton Stroope, whose raw, scratchy voice is unlike anything I’ve heard in the two-plus decades I’ve been paying attention (I’d give you a comparison to play against, but I most seriously can’t conjure one; his vocal style is that singular and unique), I haven’t been this captivated — save, of course, for that oft-mentioned “Northern Town” cover — by a song after one listen since I first heard Marc Broussard’s “Home” three summers ago. (Before my initial exposure to “Angels” — the music video for which can be viewed directly below this paragraph — was even half over, I was thinking to myself, “Boy, isn’t that pompous prick Chris Martin gonna be pissed when he realizes some ragtag group of Calla-forny kids are totally taking him to school with their very first single?”)
  • Speaking of that mangy twit Martin — whose recent ridiculous antics with the British press only made me dislike him even more than I already did (and who the hell knew that was even possible?!) — and his insufferable band (tha’d be Coldplay, for all you Buzz virgins), my thoughts on Viva La Vida are indeed forthcoming, but allow me to scoop myself with a pointed question: When you’re known primarily as a vocal group, what does it say about your group’s trajectory — emotionally, creatively, commercially, you name it — when the finest and most compelling track on your new album is a gorgeous, sleek instrumental piece?
  • Anybody else out there freaked plumb out at how utterly cool is “Summertime” (again, New Kids on the Block - Summertime - Single - Summertime is our friend), the triumphant (and fast-rising) comeback effort from (!!) New Kids on the Block? Sherry Ann asked me my opinion of it last week, and I deferred judgment because I hadn’t heard it yet. I now have a conviction: as escapist pop goes, it’s freakin’ brilliant. Stripped completely free of the calculated prefab feel of all of the hits these guys had in their heyday and constructed, instead, around a relaxed, easy vibe, “Summertime” (again, music video down below) gives each of these now-fortysomething men (!!!) a chance to shine (even — and especially — Joey, who was always this group’s secret weapon, all you Jordan lovahs be damned) and serves as a flawless reminder — Miss Katy Perry, darlin’, you’d be wise to start takin’ notes right about here — that there’s a distinct difference between mindless and brainless. (And, indeed, that the gulf between the two is roughly a lifetime wide.)

3 responses to “when you can’t find a friend, you still got the radio”

  1. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    My local radio station has four songs that they play over and over again. They are all some sort of Chris Brown/Rihanna combo and then this Katy Perry fiasco. (Would that be her name if she married Lupe Fiasco?) So trust me when I tell you that things could be alot worse! This place is why XM radio was invented!

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    For those of you who don’t know, Sherry Ann lives in Stinnett, Texas, a tiny little town roughly an hour northeast of Amarillo. And the radio situation in Amarillo is not short of hellish. There are, like, fifteen country stations, a classic rock station, a couple of Tex-Mex outlets, and a HORRID top 40 station. Back in the day, we had Z-93, which was a fabulous contemporary hits station that — even though we all bitched about its narrow playlist at the time — we all loved listening to. (The station folded at least ten years ago.) I bet everybody up there would take Z-93 back in a heartbeat if they had known what they’d be getting instead! To quote Miss Celine, that marvelous sage of the age, “Don’t you find that ironical?”

  3. the buzz from Christianne Sanchez:

    Hi B,
    (1) I haven’t heard this Katy Perry thing so I went to iTunes to catch a listen. Yikes. What a mess.
    (2) Loved the Thriving Ivory song.
    (3) Didn’t know about your hate for Coldplay. Used to love them, now…I am kinda over them, so eager to read your take.
    (4) Couldn’t bring myself to listen to NKOTB. Some things are better left in the past.