Sunday, May 27, 2007

Good ol' Radio

I've been spending more time in my car lately. Not necessarily driving -- sometimes I'm just sitting. If there's a good song or program on, I'll just sit and wait until it's over.

Friday night I pulled into my driveway at 12:30 AM. I was really tired, but I was enjoying the Marie Antoinette soundtrack I burned that day, and I kept wanting to hear what came next. So I stayed in my car a good ten minutes until I decided I should go in.

Movie soundtracks are one of my favorite things to listen to. Not the "various artists" kind, although a lot of those are really good (Reality Bites, Garden State), but I'm talking about film scores. My all time favorites are Gosford Park, The Village, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I even have soundtracks to movies I've never seen before, like King Kong and Henry V, but James Newton Howard and Patrick Doyle are two of my favorite film composers so I'll listen to anything they write.

Lately though, I've been listening to The Age of Innocence and Iris. I've never seen Iris, but Joshua Bell does the solo violin for that soundtrack, and after the article I read about Joshua Bell a couple months ago, I wanted to hear some Joshua Bell so I raided my mom's CDs.

There's a great radio program on KBYU FM called "The Perfect Score". It's produced out of BYU Idaho actually, and every Saturday at 4 PM they play an hour of various film scores, based on a theme. Yesterday the theme was war movies, I think. One time they did soundtracks from movies about the sea or something weird. They did music from The Perfect Storm, Pirates of the Carribbean and The Little Mermaid. I just remember thinking how precious it was that they included The Little Mermaid.

I listen to KBYU FM a lot. I pretty much listen to it all day at work, and I'm becoming more familiar with their regular programs like "Thinking Aloud" and I'm beginning to listen to their "piano puzzler of the day". It's a nationally syndicated program where they disguise a familiar tune in the style of a famous composer. For example, a couple weeks ago, the tune was "I'm getting married in the morning" from My Fair Lady in the style of Erik Satie. It's kind of cool. I'm beginning to look forward to these programs as I'm working at my desk. I remember when I listened to the Abel Hour every day at 11 AM at my desk too (Abel and Jon, I kinda miss you guys).

I really like radio. I try to listen to it in the car. Unlike CDs or even my iPod, I get to be surprised at what comes next. I think these days we almost risk robbing ourselves from new experiences because with iPods and TiVos our lives are so programmable to our tastes. Don't tell me I can put my iPod on shuffle and be surprised, that's not what I'm talking about. And I'm not saying iPods and TiVos are bad. I'm just saying sometimes I'll hear something on the radio that I never would have chosen to listen to at that particular time, but because I didn't choose it, it reaches me in a way I didn't expect. And sometimes it really touches me, leaving a lasting impression. But do I end up listening to a lot of crap inbetween the good stuff? Yes, I do. So that's when I turn the CD player on, but by the time I think "Let's see what's on the radio now" I usually hit the end of a song I wish I heard the beginning to. It's a gamble.

Another radio program I try to listen to is "Showtunes Saturday Night." I never listen to Kosy 106.5, but I have it programmed in my car just for that particular show. I love Broadway Musicals, and it's kind of fun to play "name that musical" and see what comes up next. When Saturday rolls around I secretly hope I'll be in my car between 8 PM and midnight so I can tune in and see what they'll play. Last Saturday after a BBQ I had to hit the grocery store, so I tuned in. I pulled in to Smith's Marketplace in the middle of "Stars" from Les Miserables and so I just turned off my engine, turned off my lights and sat in the parking lot until it was over. It made me teary. I don't know why. I also teared up on the way home when they played "I'm Not that Girl." Great song. Great musical. In fact, that song just came up on my iTunes as I write this. It doesn't always make me cry, but for some reason, it did that night.

And then last night I went to an awful BBQ where I just didn't belong. I wasn't happy to be there and I was nearing miserable, so I finished up my conversation, hopped in my car, and I turned on Showtunes Saturday. I felt at home again. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it's nice having something to turn to that will center you. Music can really center me. It's funny because when I'm listening to something I really enjoy, I tend to drive more slowly. Instead of speeding through yellow lights, I slow down. I'll even take the long way home, or I'll go to Smith's Marketplace instead of Albertsons because it's further away. It's worth it to me to have those few extra minutes in my car to listen to my music.


Thomas said...

This is a fantastic post. Thank you for letting me know more about you and your thoughts.

I love the radio. For Christmas I gave myself XM radio. I love it, I can choose what style of music I want to listen to and, as I drive all over Jersey, I get to be enjoyed.

Some of the stations are Broadway, Movies, Standards, etc. It is great.

Again, thanks for sharing.

SRA said...

The few times I've listened to "Showtunes Saturday Night", I've really enjoyed it. It's fun to cruise down I-15 from up north listening to "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Thanks for being a bud yesterday & ferrying me around. You're great.


Ilene said...

What a fun Laura post. Dan has XM radio (like Thomas) and they have a station that only plays movie soundtracks. The statopm also play clips of audio from the movies between songs. We have a lot of fun listening to that station. Another plus with satellite radio is that if you want to listen to a song again, you just hit a rewind button and it will play it again. Kind of like TiVo for the radio.

Ilene said...

"station" is what I was supposed to type. Not "statopm".

Saule Cogneur said...

Oddly enough, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve found that music is about the only thing in my life that can make the world right again. Though I don’t typically like it, driving alone is nice sometimes. You can turn up your favorite CD, and somehow, nothing else matters.

When I’m tired of my ipod music, I play a game with the radio. The object is to be listening to something good constantly. If I play with 6 stations, I’ve found I can win about 50% of the time. It’s odd but fun, and it helps pass the time.

joN. said...

personally, i love the knowledge that when an awesome song is on the radio, i'm actually sharing the excitement with (hopefully) several others. for that reason, the same song just seems to sound better than if i pulled out the cd.

i'm the king of radio. i cycle through 15 standards

91.7 (utah county only)
96.7 (utah county only)
98.3 (utah county only)
98.3 (salt lake county only)

yeah, i know i put one down twice, but it's a different station in different areas. also, anytime anyone's in utah county, be sure to check out my faves down there too. the dj lady for 98.3 sounds just like the target cashier on saturday night live.

abel said...

I miss doing the show, Laura. Maybe one day it will start up again.

What about the Gattaca soundtrack