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Sep 28

Written by: Greg Runyon
9/28/2009 2:18 PM 

Every now and again, someone will ask me if I like the music I play on the radio.  I always tell them that yes, I do.  I’ve told people that when I played 50’s and 60’s oldies, when I played classic rock, and now, playing the hits.  I’ve typically been a bit of an anachronism in radio, having begun my career at age 20 playing songs targeted to entertain people 20 years my senior, and now, playing music that’s targeted to people a bit younger than me.  It’s broadened my horizons, that’s for sure.


People sometimes ask me, “What if your station changed to (insert type of music the questioner hates) format?  Would you still work there?”  The answer, of course, is “Heck, yes!”  Radio is a competitive enough industry that most people don’t get to just pick and choose what format they work in.  You play what the job requires.  This is definitely the job for me, regardless of the songs I play.  If we go country, I’m buying a ten-gallon hat and some boots, baby!


Some songs through the years I’ve liked more than others.  Some I play right now I like more than others.  I do have one issue with an increasing number of songs:  Too many artists these days seem to think they need to announce their name in their songs.


I’m peeved by this from a professional perspective, to be sure.  I exist to introduce artists and titles.  You do your job (sing), and I’ll do mine (tell the people who you are and what you’re singing).  Mostly, though, I find it annoying if not a tad embarrassing (for the perpetrator) on a general human level.


If you have a good song, you don’t need to announce who the heck you are.  The world will find out.  Y’ever hear The Beatles sing “The Beatles” like Sean Kingston has to yell “Kingston” in every damn song?  Of course not!  Don’t get me wrong, I like Sean Kingston’s stuff for the most part; I just have a tremendously strong desire to edit him shouting his name out of all his songs.


To me, it shows a lack of self-confidence.  False bravado is not to be mistaken for real bravado.  The truly confident don’t need to throw it at you.  The swagger exists at their core, not because they tell you how much swagger they have.  I see right through most “tough guys.”  Each one likely has a scared little boy inside him.  It’s similar with some performers.  The more “in your face” they act, the less gravitas they likely actually have.


The announcing of your own name during your song seems like a desperate cry of, “Pay attention to me!  Know me!  I’m cool!”  Uh, no, you’re not.  Sing your damn song, and if it’s really good, if it really moves the needle, everyone is going to know who you are. 


Here is one other song-annoyance I have:  When you remake a song, try to get the words right.  I’m thinking specifically of Mariah Carey’s remake of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is.”  Right at the beginning of the song, the lyrics are: 


I gotta take a little time
A little time to think things over
I better read between the lines
In case I need it when I’m older


In Mariah’s remake, though, she sings “colder” instead of “older.”  Good God, why?!?!  I think Mariah is a fine performer, but I want to punch my radio every time I hear her butcher that line.  I just don’t get it.  What purpose does changing that word serve, other than to annoy me?


Maybe that’s it.  Maybe Mariah Carey has it in for me, and is trying to incrementally drive me nuts.  Well, toots, you’re going to have to try harder than that.  I have a volume knob, and I know just when to fade you out for 5 seconds while that line passes.  Whew.  I’m glad I got that off my chest.



2 comment(s) so far...

Re: Have Some Self Confidence

well said, sir!

p.s.: certain iconic songs just shouldn't be remade...ie: Jessica Simpson's take of Berlin's 'take my breath away', and Mariah's destruction of that Def Leppard tune a few years back....

By (dj) steve on   9/28/2009 2:46 PM

Re: Have Some Self Confidence

And certain producers have a need to shout themselves out in songs too or have the singer shout them out. Sean Kingston's producer J.R. always has his people do that. Either that or shout out his company. Maybe they feel they have to do it because not all radio stations have DJ's to tell the listener what they are listening to.

By Mr. C on   9/29/2009 8:14 AM

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