Thursday, 8 April 2010

Don't try to get your song on the radio, you'll ruin it

Despite the fact that most mainstream radios just play crap these days, occasionally they can play good songs. Some mainstream artists, believe it or not, release fantastic songs. But the radio ruins them, the more successful a song is, the more its ruined.

My case in point for this argument is the song "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. Yes, we all hate that song, me included...or rather, we're all sick of it. We hate it because we're sick of hearing it on every episode of Grey's Anatomy or at every pub or on every radio station or at every home which has a new couple in it. We've heard it so many times that it invokes rage when its played.

But despite the fact that I hate listening to it, I cannot deny with any part of me that its a great song. Its incredibly well written, and its the kind of song I wish I could have written. Not necessarily for the soppy and incredibly catchy chorus, but for the structure of the song itself. Its a very intense build up, each verse and chorus taking its time, building up and teasing you with the promise of a big chorus, but then dying down and reverting to its constant gain of momentum.

Its this long buildup that I love. Unlike most modern pop music, its not in any hurry to get to the big anthemic chorus within the first 30 seconds. It gives you a teaser, a brief overview, but its not really there until about the third chorus in. By the time this hits, you're more than ready for the explosion, and it really is quite well excecuted.

But then again, we've heard this song that many times. Its not exciting anymore, we know every curve and contour of the song. Its been overplayed to death, just like Maroon 5 was - I loved Maroon 5 until the radio stations began to adore playing their songs over and over and over and over again. Then I just got sick of it. Its the same with a lot of more mainstream artists that I may actually like.

So if you write a really, really good song, don't go for radio play. If it does really well on radio, then you'll just ruin it for everybody.

Keep loving music,


  1. fail. people ruin it for themselves by actually listening to the radio

  2. You have a valid point. Don't forget though, the amount of people who still listen to the radio, and the amount of these people who are generally dedicated to the same station. Labels will usually endeavour to get a rotation on a popular radio station, meaning it'll come up again and again, and a lot of people have the radio on all day at home or work (or both!).

    Within the mainstream, the radio audience can never be underestimated!

    Keep loving music,
    Vinnie ;)

  3. I don't listen to the radio but I've still heard Sex On Fire a billion times in the last year and a half. If a song is getting massive amounts of airplay it's inescapable whether you listen to the radio or not.