Wednesday, October 25, 2006

List Day: Ten Most Listened-To XM Stations

10) 75 - Hear Music:
I suppose I should be embarassed that I listen to a radio station that allows you to "Hear the Music You Would Hear in Line at Starbucks!", although I guess it's more embarassing for our country that such a channel even exists. You can occasionally find a good tune here amongst the dime-a-dozen folksy caterwaulers like Beth Orton. Notable names include KT Tunstall, Norah Jones, and James Blunt when I only knew his one good song.

9) 20 - 20 on 20:
This is a revolving "Top 20" picks based on listener votes, so it's mostly comprised of the latest rap, or prefabricated pop garbage. The fact that the playlist is democratic means that it's not always great, because the average human being's taste in music blows goats, and not in the polite way. This station is essentially identical to 30 - XM Hitlist, except that they play Kanye West - Golddigger roughly four more times per day.

8) 73 - Frank's Place:
This station plays nothing but American jazz vocal standards from Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra to more recent acts like Manhattan Transfer. I often play this in the background at dinner or hosted dinner parties when I want to look fancy.

7) 83 - Chrome:
Nonstop disco and funk from the 1970s -- a smorgasbord of ascending octave bass lines, whicka-wow guitar riffs, and unison strings. You may laugh, but it's great music for unwinding in the car on the way home from work. I defy you to be other than light-hearted to a tune like Sound of Philadelphia .

6) 27 - Cinemagic:
I love movie scores, even those that are completely paint-by-numbers and lacking in innovation. Cinemagic devotes ten to fifteen minutes to a single movie, interspersed with memorable dialog snippets from the movie itself. They don't just play James Horner and John Williams either -- Michael Giacchino and even a little Phillip Glass has been known to slip in every once in awhile. Slightly related to 27 is 28 - On Broadway, but I usually only stop there when I'm changing channels off of 27 and see a song I recognize.

5) 47 - Ethel / 43 - XMU:
These two stations are tied for my rock needs (although I'll sometimes slip down to 41 - Boneyard for hard rock and hair bands). 47 bills itself as Modern Rock but tends towards more somber groups like Muse, Coldplay, and Radiohead. 43 is the College Rock station and features up and coming artists, thankfully low on homogenous frat rock content.

4) 5 - 50s on 5:
This is where I go for simple, unpretentious music when I'm disillusioned with the dross to gem ratio of current popular music. They can get a little Elvis-heavy on the weekends, although I guess there's no better place to be Elvis-heavy than here. This is the default station when there's nothing good on any other station.

3) 150 - XM Comedy:
Features uncensored portions of stand-up routines from classic comedians and up-and-comers. You can never laugh too much, and this is a good way to brighten the day. The big downfall of this station is that there are commercials on it, and as Mike said on August 6, 2004: The only downside is that they say there are no commercials but there are some on the best channels -- and not, like, good commercials either. Stuff like "tax shelter in Nevada! Listen to my tape while you sleep to stop being so lazy!" Those are real examples. After ten or fifteen minutes of uninterrupted comedy, you get three or four minutes of commercials, which means I change the channel quite often.

2) 26 - Flight:
This station plays popular music from the 90s and today -- safe stuff like early Dave Matthews, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Smash Mouth. The music's not old enough to really evoke nostalgia, but it's comfortable enough for enjoyable listening.

1) 29 - UPOP:
This is the station I'm generally listening to in the car -- a world-based popular music station. They have weird portions like the random hit from Madagascar (the country not the movie) or the all night "Iron Otaku: Music of Japanese Animation" special on the weekends, but I hear lots of fresh music by listening in, and I'm especially interested in the UK Top 40. They've got a great DJ (Mark Daley) in the afternoons, and a really horrible one (Ted Kelly) in the mornings. The latter is completely enamoured with his own voice and talks too much. He always likes . . . to say a few words at a time . . . so you can't listen . . . to the music playing . . . underneath, a maddeningly trait that kills his timing. I still tune in, because this is where I'm exposed to the most new music that I actually have an interest in, like Scissor Sisters, Muse, and KT Tunstall.

Honorable Mention) 24 - Christmas Classics:
24 is normally the Easy Listening channel, but in just a few weeks, they'll be switching over to peaceful holiday tunes and carols, which means I'll have it on in the background at home until all my guests go crazy. Christmas music is key.

Happy Birthday Anna and Booty!

Clinton foe: 'Whew' she was hideous before 'work'
White, nerdy, and here to stay
LICKY LICKY

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