Music Quarterly

Longing for Night

Meet the Producers

What Remains

Armstrong's Revenge


Highway Ambition

Riding the Fader

The Past Takes It Back

Riding the Line


Behind a Glowing Television

Forget the Producer

Allan Steed's Little Boom Box

When She Backs Up She Beeps


Let's Get Ready to Rumble

The Two Together Couldn't Ruin It

TV Without Pictures

Prank #3: Fan vs. Band Vengeance

One Hundred Shades of Blue

Loud Motherfucker

Same Shade of Blue

Touch That Dial

Prank #4: Band vs. Audience Vengeance


CD Review Revue

Among the Ghosts

Prank #5: Intra-Band Vengeance

Que venga la noche

Movie Review Revue

The Warm 106.9 challenge, as I foolishly chose to accept it, was to actually allow "Seattle's favorite listen-while-you-work station" guide me through an entire day, via "soft favorites." Warm is the local station that aims to be your one and only, promising to help you "get through your workday," and then counsel you on your relationship in the evening. Listen if you dare.

Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson sing "Beauty and the Beast" to remind the debutante (who now massages the scalps of minor socialites all day at Mr. Pearl's House of Curls) that her decision to marry the dishwasher against her father's admonitions was not the stupidest thing she ever did. It also strikes me that Clarice and Hannibal can consider this their song, too, now that they are lovers.

A woman sings, "I know you're telling me the truth, and no, it's just no use, I can't stay away from you," while hot on the heels of this ode to wrongheadedness comes Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine," making for a one-two punch of infidelity and the conscious decision to ignore it. "Just one of the many songs we play to help get you through the workday," chirps the announcer afterward. Her repetitive, reassuring message creeps me out as she cajoles the cuckolded into violent daydreams of vitriolic revenge.

Neil Diamond sings "Hello," that shaky-voiced tune about late-night dialing, clearly about an inebriate who lacked the forethought (or cowering shame) to hide his phone before he opened the booze.

Next, in voice-over, a woman named Delilah says invitingly, "Join me for stories of love," plugging her hokey call-in radio show and book featuring the best of her recollections and anecdotes of her idea of love--a little Thorazine for the simmering cauldron of bile stirred up by the day's heartache and Warm's constant reference to it. "Each night I do my best to ease some of the stress of your hectic day," promises Delilah. Thanks, bitch.

The promo is immediately followed by Enya's "Only Time," another station promo, and then a new song that I proudly don't recognize, although I am sure it's soon to be featured on the Muzak that entertains shoppers at Value Village. (Value Village is the sole reason I know every word to Faith Hill's "This Kiss," a Warm favorite, and Aerosmith's latest, "Jaded," with its grammatically annoying refrain, "I'm the one who jaded you." Whew, obsession is launched easily, it seems.)

At this point, my paranoia is mounting, and I have an enraged sense that I'm being led down a dangerous path. I don't want to work anywhere near people with borderline personality disorders, currently in rocky relationships, who sit in their tiny cubicles at their shitty jobs and listen to song after song of obsessive-compulsive "you-done-me-wrong-and-now-I-can't-live" bullshit. Especially if "Another extra-long set of continuous favorites is next on Warm 106.9."

Jim Croce's "Operator" furthers the theme of regret with a song about a guy whose girl and best friend ran off together. Still not over it, Croce wants to call to try to convince them otherwise, but now he's crying pathetically all over the number on the matchbook. This is followed up by another promo, and then it's the Backstreet Boys, who want it "that way," despite the fact that someone's two worlds apart and it ain't nothing but a heartache and a mistake.... I may not understand what that song is actually about, but I've come to learn that at "Seattle's number-one listen-while-you-work radio station," "less talk" apparently means talking up the supposed virtues of the station between every single song.

I come to realize that Warm is all about solo artists and studio musicians--with the exception of Chicago, whose members are all surely session musicians today. If I'm positive of one thing in my now questionably sane existence, it's that I have always hated Chicago, perhaps not as a city but certainly as a band. All day I've been bombarded by "warmth" and I keep getting crabbier, and now Bread's "The Guitar Man" just makes me feel old and tired. Thank God Delilah's just around the corner, right?

To hell with Delilah and "Warm" and you all and anyone who dares to cut me off on the way home--and yes, thanks to Warm's "on-the-way-home traffic report," I now know exactly which routes would prove the most catastrophic should someone wish to leave a wide swath of destruction in a pissed-off wake....