The car that I have recently been driving these days unfortunately does not have a good way to play an iPod. Thus, I have gotten back in the routine of listening to the radio a bit more regularly. And I use the word routine very intentionally. Radio stations are nothing if not routine. They have simply just become a cesspool of the same stinking few songs with their insignificantly tiny and terrible playlists. It is hard to find any sort of real variety or anything of real substance on the air at all. Although this does come in handy when I am in my Ke$ha, T-Swift, Katy Perry moods (which let’s face it, I’m always in the mood for these ladies), the rest of my times on the radio seem to be confusing and frustrating. Even classic rock stations have such small playlists, that it makes them unbearable to listen too regularly. So, in an effort to rid us of these stale, repetitive tunes, I will now direct my frustrations into another segment of “This NOT That”.
For one reason or another, Lil’ Wayne has never had the draw with me as he has with others. I admit he comes up with some potent lyrics more often than not, but his overall nasally sound and repetitive demeanor get old fast. Besides, his lyrical drawl has no weight with his more recent singles such as “How To Love” and “No Worries” which are just abysmal, and are played on heavy rotation. How people consider him the greatest rap genius of our time when he drops tracks like these is just beyond me. A$AP is the much better choice in this scenario, bringing a uniquely intriguing and more intelligent sound to hip hop while not losing the intensity or edge appeal.
-HEAR THIS –
Mumford and Sons
If folk-based, pop-infused, harmonious ditty’s with a heavy focus on percussion is what tickles your fancy, jump off that M&S bandwagon and hitch a ride with the Local Natives. They offer up a bit more complexity to their music, and as a result, not every one of their songs sounds identical. This will give you a bit more variety, while also challenging you a bit more whilst trying to tap your toes to the beat. Look for their new album out this year, or happily resort to their debut effort, Gorilla Manor.
-HEAR THIS –
The brutality of Bruno must stop. One of his 10 songs that is constantly circulating the airwaves is sure to be playing at all times, and they have all become unbearable. Frank Ocean is nothing new at this point, but if you are looking for an R&B/Pop alternative to Bruno, Frank is a huge step up. Not only does he offer better vocal range with his booming pipes, but he is also not so musically one-track minded as Bruno.
One Direction has been dominating radio play for the past year and show no signs of slowing down. God help us all. In terms of sound, this comparison is a bit of a stretch, but if you are looking for fun, poppy, danceable music, look no further than the sounds of Stars. These Canadian pop-geniuses created a sound so catchy and captivating, it’s hard not to love them. Their newest album The North, went a bit unnoticed in everyone’s “end of the year” lists, but its still great nonetheless.
The most shrill sound on modern radio has got to be Adam Levine’s voice as he belt’s out “I’m on a payyyy phone …” How about a falsetto voice that won’t make your ear drums bleed? If you haven’t heard of these guys yet … well, that’d just be shocking. They seem to be everywhere these days, including many commercials, just like Maroon 5. But it is not completely unwarranted, unlike Maroon 5. Their songs are just as well produced, but with even more of a dynamic sound, and every bit more danceable than Maroon 5 to boot. You don’t need “Moves Like Jagger” to get down to Passion Pit, and better yet, you don’t have to listen to that f**king song ever again either.
I once heard Phillip Phillips described as “pure man music”. I didn’t want to inquire, but I still don’t know if the quoter in this instance meant it as someone who is “pure” in heart and soul, or simply meant “pure he-man” type music. In either case, you won’t get what you are looking for there out of Phillip Phillips, but you will receive both from Todd Snider. Where Phillip Phillips is more an opportunity to bridge the gap between Mumford and Sons and Dave Matthews, the sounds of Todd Snider are what I would imagine it would sound like if Ron Swanson or Davy Crockett received a music lesson from Robert Johnson. Now that’s “pure man music” anyway you slice it.