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A pedant writes

September 19th, 2013 · Posted by Skuds in Music · No Comments · Music

Tonight I was listening, as I often do, to an internet radio station called ‘Made in 80’s Radio’. I do this when I want something in the background that is mostly familiar. There is plenty to not like about it.

  • It is one of those dreadful channels with no presenters: just music chosen by computer with channel idents every now and then.
  • The pool of music from which the computer chooses is a very small subset of all the music in the 80s so you do tend to hear the same songs quite often. For example most days you will hear Blue Eyes by Elton John or Running in the Family by Level 42 but never anything else by them. Once the computer played the same Phil Collins song twice with just one other song inbetween.
  • The channel idents haven’t changed in the 3 or 4 months I have been listening to it.

So why listen to it? Well there is no chatter or news to distract you. Even the little jingles are in French so easy to ignore. And then there is the nostalgia element. For my tastes, the 70s were miles better. The heyday of punk and prog plus great reggae and people like Elton John and Stevie Wonder chucking out their best work in large quantities, not to mention Doctor Feelgood, but the 80s was my time. It was when I left home and had enough disposable income and few enough responsibilities to have a very good time, which all the music reminds me of.

I could get all that from a British 80s station, but a French one gives it a different slant. Although the big hits here and in France were mostly the same ones there were some songs that didn’t do much over here but were a lot more popular on the continent so you do get the odd song that would be too obscure for a UK station. And you also get the odd French song.

The French songs are fascinating. They sound familiar even though you have never heard them before because they have the same 80s instrumentation and production as the British artists – lots of prominent fretless bass, synthetic drums, the same keyboard presets.

What really winds me up though is that, with all the 80s to choose from, they play something that is not 80s. Like Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell. That is from early 1979. I remember listening to it at school so it brings back a whole other set of memories – not bad ones, but not right for the mood I’m in. The same goes for Funkytown. Even though it came out in 1980 it is really a 70s disco record despite all that.

That is probably why I can only take Made in 80s Radio in small doses before switching to MMM-FM Sydney, Planet Rock, 6 Music or Radio Veronica. I could really do with some recommendations for other internet radio stations. Maybe something good for electronic music, dancehall or roots reggae, African pop or metal that delves into album tracks and not just the obvious tracks. Any suggestions?


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