Sometime between the moment I am provided with a research grant and the moment I’m dead, I’d like to investigate why and how music impacts thinking and cognizance. To wit, you’re in some fog or funk or rotten mood and you hear a song on the radio (or TV, MP3, download, load it into the CD player, whatever) and suddenly your head is clearer, the sky is bluer, the traffic is lighter, the kids in the back seat are absolute little angels, and it’s all because you heard some music.
The song triggers a memory, or perhaps a promise, a promise of what’s out there besides whatever is testing your coping skills.
The current gadgetology of music delivery suggests on-air radio is a dying medium, at least for access to one’s favorite tunes (the radio is more the place to find blowhards named Rush, and less the greatest hits of Rush), and perhaps it’s true. Then again it may not be the medium’s fault.
It astounds me to observe how many people I know listen almost exclusively, when they listen to radio, to Canadian radio. Current rock, oldies rock, jazz, news, sports talk, classical – your format of preference is available from Buffalo radio stations, but those who find the material beamed from over the border seem to stay with it. Somehow the advertising is less repetitious, the programming is fresher (Canadian content laws require stations to play music by Canadian artists occasionally, making for a format familiar yet with a few surprises tossed in) and the entire experience seems aimed at pleasing the listener instead of informing him/her of opportunities to spend money.
The crowd with which I run tends to offer varying levels of hipness, and if the majority of them find something preferable in the atypical model of another country’s radio stations, well, they’re onto something.