Monday, April 29, 2013

Jack Johnson "Friends"

There is no hard and fast rule about what makes a song appropriate to add, and what makes it inappropriate to add to rotation at MVY.

And that makes it hard to win an argument with my wife.

When she hears a song that she really likes, and finds out the MVY isn't playing it for one reason or another, she'll ask "Why?" then "WHY?" then "WHY?!?!" followed by, "That doesn't make any sense."

There is no hard and fast rule . . . there are a hundreds small and somewhat malleable rules.

The latest one we bumped up against had to do with Jack White.

The song "Friends" is a popular one around our house, in part because it plays in a promo during PBS' Kids programming, so my 5- and 3-year olds think its super-cool.

I love Jack White.  My wife loves Jack White.

Why doesn't mvyradio play Jack White?

Well, I think most listeners, and my wife, would agree that texturally and tonally, songs like "I'm Shakin'" or "Icky Thump" are just too rockin' and raucous for what we do.  A little too raw, a little too rackety, compared to the rest of the station's sound.


"But what about songs like 'Friends'?  That's not loud.  It sounds just like other songs you play."

Recently, one of the independent promoters who calls me, said something really insightful about the station:

"You're really brand conscious."

At first, I thought she meant that we were careful about the mvyradio brand.  But no.  She was talking about the brand of a band.

"Even if it's a good song, if it's the kind of band you wouldn't play, you won't play it."

There are lots of band who are not "MVY" type bands, who do record songs that wouldn't sound out of place on the station.  But if most of the time, the band's sound is outside of the station's scope, we won't play them.

The theory is this:  If we throw the station behind an artist, isn't not just because they have one good song.  It's that we believe that our listeners will like the band in general (not just one song), and that we'll be following this band for years to come.

Sometimes that theory works out.  Sometimes it doesn't.  Bands that you think are going to be good, or make records our audience will like, don't. 

We try to avoid one-hit-wonders, and really commercial artists who try one stripped down folk song, and hard-rocking bands that pull out a great acoustic number.

So yes, I went through this whole explanation with my wife and still got, "That doesn't make any sense."

There are plenty of examples of mvy-exceptions to the rule, inconsistencies she could point out.  But in the end, as much as I love him, we're unlikely to play Jack White regularly, even though "Friends" is a great song.

"Then why don't you play the Jack Johnson version?"

Well.  I couldn't argue with that.

We play load of Jack Johnson songs and his take would fit in nicely to the mvyradio mix.

So expect to hear this one on mvyradio . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

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