Proselytized in my Car

January 31st, 2008

There are more radio stations than you might think in the rural, remote stretches of northern Utah and central Idaho. If you happen to be driving through, you will rarely be at a loss for a signal.

Interestingly, many of the stations I found on my most recent trip had play lists built around emo-core, metal-inflected, industrial rock – but with surprisingly well-articulated and soulful lyrics. A lot of intelligently worded songs ground out by boys who sounded like they were very, very bad. A lot of homage to 80s guitar-centric music, but with contemporary, sophisticated, nuanced production values. A lot of stories about love, without the self-hating/other-blaming/furious/cheating/betrayal and general amourous mismanagement one expects from a rock song. It was like discovering a whole new country that had accepted Linkin Park’s sound, but not their whining. And all this in one of the most conservative, and unpopulated parts of the country? Who would have guessed?!?

Good music facilitates the suspension of disbelief, so it took a while for the near-subliminal nuances to accumulate until they started spilling over my threshold of obliviousness. I was planning my relocation to Idaho based on the musical selection alone, when the alarms started to go off. “Wait…this guy has said the word ‘devotion’ twenty-seven times in one song; is that normal? Is that healthy? He keeps thanking his lover for ‘saving’ him – it’s kind of killing my romantic buzz. What does he mean, ‘he didn’t have a life before he found this love?’ Oh no, did he just say ‘rapture?’”

There it was; I’d been had. All those gravelly-voiced bad boys on the radio were emoting about “You” with a capital and omniscient “Y”, not “you,” the earthly object of their adoration.

Rocking out just isn’t quite as satisfying when there’s an agenda.

Entry Filed under: Observable Phenomena

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