Friday, January 31, 2014

All I want is someone to help me

I recently bought a new car. As I was looking at different models, brands, asking questions and taking test drives, I noticed one major theme among the automobiles: they all have satellite radio.

SiriusXM now comes as a standard three month trial. No matter what car you're getting, there's a button for that celestially magic station that gives you news and music from all around the world. Of course, you pay the price - not only the cost of the car, but then it ends after 90 days and you have to pony up a minimum of $10 a month (or $120 a year) to get "mostly music" (about 80 channels). If you want everything - be that greedy guy in the $35k BMW, you get the $19 a month (or $200 a year) all inclusive plan. It saves you $29 a year versus the monthly plan and you get the whole kit and caboodle - to the point you can stream online. You also get over 175 channels. Who needs that?! I'm lucky if I can listen to 10 minutes of normal radio in my car.

That's my problem: as great as it is to have satradio, it's a moot point for me. I don't go anywhere to warrant extending the three months trial to over a year. Sure, my other option is putting in a CD, listening to local radio or plugging my phone into the USB port (yes, cars are now coming with that preloaded option too). I just don't need it. Gone are the days when you only had radio. Then you had radio and 8 track. The 8 track disappeared and a cassette player took its place. Next thing you know, you're not listening to cassette tapes, you're listening to CDs. Now, it's XM and Sirius and local banter on the FM/AM dial. Oh, and like I said, plugging in a smart phone to the USB port in the center console. If you don't want to stream Pandora or Spotify from your phone (like I won't, as it revolves around data), you can plug in a thumb drive that has music and listen that way. Why can't we just go back to simpler ways? As much as I don't like listening to 45 minutes of commercials and 15 minutes of music a day, I'd like that better. It becomes too complicated to worry about all these "extras" when I really am only in my car for 30 minutes a day. That's the 15 minute drive to work, and the 15 minute drive home. Who needs additional features?

All that aside, I'm not trying to give the radio a bad review. I've actually heard some good music on the various stations. I had on Classic Vinyl one night and heard David Bowie Space Oddity. Another rock station during the day had the Traveling Wilburys doing The Wilbury Twist.  Yesterday on Coffeehouse, I heard a relatively new comer named Aloe Blacc.

Aloe Blacc has a new album (Lift Your Spirit) dropping in a couple months, so the song I heard, Wake Me Up was pretty good. To me, it's folky, it's protesty, it makes you want to get up and do something with your life and not be completely lost in a dreamworld. Although he wants someone to "wake [him] up when it's all over", the attempt to change the course of time / life, lays in whatever dream he's chasing. It's almost along the conspiracy theorist ideals that we're all asleep and following each other - sheeple. But there comes a moment when the realization hits he has to do it for himself - he can't carry the world in his hands because the world is too big to hold. One person at a time. Also, in a way, this song is a little (vocally) reminiscent of early Tracy Chapman (a la Fast Car). Correct me if I'm wrong!

One of his first albums, Good Things, is more in your face - politically speaking. First track out of the gate, I Need A Dollar, bounces a beat reminiscent of Mary J Blige (a la Family Affair), but pushes the boundaries of reality. He is a beggar, a prophet, a man on the corner looking for a handout but not full help.

All in all, I look forward to doing a little more research about this so called hip hop star... his music is one to be on the look out for.


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