One Track Mind: The Kinks, "Around the Dial" (1981)

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On the way to work, I indulged in a little college-era nostalgia: Give The People What They Want by The Kinks. Aside from this being a fantastic slab ‘o power pop, there’s one almost shocking (depressing maybe, you be the judge) musical fossil buried in the song “Around The Dial”:

Well, you were my favorite D.J.,
Since I can’t remember when.
You always played the best records,
You never followed any trend.

My favorite D.J.?: If we’re talkin’ about radio these days, then this is a real head-scratcher. A meaningless concept. Does anybody really have a favorite D.J. anymore? Does anybody even listen to the radio? Back in the 1970s and ’80s (and to a lesser extent, the 1990s), it was possible to find a lot of cool stuff out there. This was back when D.J.’s were actually allowed to make their own decisions instead of being shackled to the corporate playlist. Now that the monolith that is ClearChannel has succeed in sucking the life out of most radio markets (college and community radio excluded) it has become nearly impossible to think of radio as a form of musical entertainment.

I can’t remember the last time I heard something new on the radio. Something that made me: wait to hear the title/artist announcement … to later run out and buy a CD.

So when I hear idiots spout off the patented line about how CD sales are down because of all that evil downloading … well … it makes me want to scream. Just how are people going to find out about music if only a tiny fraction of it is exposed to the airwaves?

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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