In defense of the radio

Embrace the hits, have a better life 

There are few things in music considered less “cool” than listening to the radio.

I get it—the corporatization of it, the “Clear Channelling” of it. The same songs are played over and over, the spins based wholly on money—much of them soulless, autotuned, “easy.” Dumbed-down DJs, bad ads, a lack of original programming. I get it, this FM disdain. I’m here to do what only the bravest of us will do, though: Defend the radio.

Yes, as wrong as it may seem, it’s only right to accept that even the soulless, fumbling corporate fingers of Clear Channel can deliver real, incredible jams to the masses. It’s time to admit some difficult things, like the fact Miley Cyrus has a great song. Yes, Hannah Montana’s hit is legit.

Whether it be the unexpected, absolutely deserved success of the longtime scene stalwarts of fun. and their single “We Are Young” or the absolutely, completely manufactured R&B bangers of Usher, the radio manages to fit in a few songs that are actually indisputably great between all the LMFAO-like slog. Sure, even I get tired of the latest Rihanna single after the twentieth play of the day, but that doesn’t make the song any less good.

Take it in short bursts between CDs, or, if you’re riding really old school, cassettes.

Scan the dial a bit. You may risk hearing the latest boys-are-evil banger from Taylor Swift (which, it should be said, could be great if it wasn’t so tween), but be strong. The Kelly Clarkson will soon be with you.

It’s best to embrace the radio, friends. It’s so much more fun to seize the opportunity for obnoxious sing-alongs with friends rather than bitter dialogues about the radio dial’s decay. It’s time to take up the mantle of Ke$ha, the great hit-maker and feminist of our time. No medium that embraces a voice like Adele’s can be all bad.

When I hear talk of ignoring the Top 40, I wonder why people hate the potential for joy so passionately. It’s not as if loving the latest “Call Me Maybe” will ruin your appreciation of “good” music (though listening to Chris Brown might); I’ve been listening to “Die Young” and the rest of “Warrior” on repeat for weeks, and I’m still an elitist jerk about music. You may even open the door to the idea that maybe, just maybe Kanye actually is the genius he thinks he is.

Make room in your life for a little pop love. Get some friends, some jams that everyone knows (that they can’t help but know, despite their best efforts) and maybe something to loosen everyone up. Find that Soundcloud link for “5 Seconds of Every #1 Billboard Hot 100 Hit From 1993-2011” and just let loose. There’s a reason it has 1,404,935 listens. It’s outstanding.

This brings to mind the three songs that dominated last year: fun.’s “We Are Young” (featuring the magnificent Janelle Monae), Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and of course that summer jam you will never, ever forget, Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe.” Overplayed, over-incorporated, and over-orchestrated, respectively? Absolutely. Bad songs? Not even a little bit.

There’s just something about singing (or lip-syncing like Beyonce, but with more exaggerated facial expressions) and emoting to these songs. Be like Nike and just do it. It’s guaranteed to increase life quality and the ratio of good to bad days by at least five percent.

Love the radio in short doses. Hate it for what it is, yes, but don’t you let some of the most fun times you’ve ever had singing a song with a bunch of (possibly inebriated) friends pass you by simply because it’s “popular.” Also, I feel not mentioning Lady Gaga in this article is criminal. So there’s her, too.