Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Funky music

Laura and I are XM Radio fans. We like having the enormous variety of 150 channels from which to choose our music (and news and comedy). I've noticed that our musical taste goes through phases. We initially listened to the '80s alternative station (Fred, on XM44) before we shifted to to the two adult rock stations (XM Cafe and The Sounds of Starbucks, now merged to a single channel on 45). It was originally a little appalling to realize that our musical tastes centered around oldies (Fred is the oldies station for people our age) and music that's genrefied as "adult contemporary". We've been shifting to the techno/ambient electronica station (Chill, on 84); it makes great background music for almost anything, and it's actually pretty sexy.

When I'm trying to write, one of my faves is the French-language pop/folk station (Sur la Route, 102). It's not distracting, since I don't know what any of the words mean, and it's good music. Their metal station (Liquid Metal, 42) is extremely metal, but the musical quality is erratic; some of it's good, some of it's just loud. They've also got a nice classical station on 110, and the modern hard-ish rock station (Squizz, on 48) is fun listening. And, if you're in the mood for it, they've got a movie-score channel (Cinemagic, 27) that plays chunks of dialogue along with the music. Given all the cool stations they have, I'm a bit surprised that they don't have a channel for Celtic music. XM Harp, anyone?

When we decided we wanted to try satellite radio, we debated between XM and Sirius Radio. The decision eventually came down to two competing factors. First, Sirius broadcasts all the NFL games live, so Laura could hear the Redskins even if she wasn't home. On the other hand, Sirius also airs Howard Stern, and Laura is deeply appalled by the man. It's not that she was worried that she'd accidentally hear some Howard -- she just refused to patronize any service that thought hiring Howard Stern was a good idea. She hates Howard Stern more than she likes the Redskins. If you know exactly how much she likes the 'Skins, you'll understand the power of that statement....

I should mention that while I'm writing this I'm listening to the disco channel (Chrome, on 83). It's definitely disco, but I'm amazed at how little of this music seems familiar. This is another advantage of XM: it exposes you to a lot of new music that you'll probably like. I don't buy much music these days, but both albums I've bought since Thanksgiving were by artists I discovered on XM.
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Update:
Closing comments on this post. A bit tired of the vulgar, offensive (yet somehow monotonous) comments from all the Howard Stern fans....

Also, temporarily enabling comment moderation on the rest of the blog to keep the screechy poo-flinging monkeys quiet.