Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Wave" Bye Bye

You know how something can be so inoffensive, so bland, so nondescript that it winds up offending, grating at you and standing out like a sore thumb? The guy in the cubicle next to me has a radio just barely at audible level which plays "The Wave" all day.

I'm not sure you know what "The Wave" is. It's a "smooth jazz" format station. In Las Vegas, where I just was, they call it "The Oasis." I suppose in Alaska they call it "The Hot Spring." They playlist tends heavily toward R&B with something that you might define as jazz every couple of hours. For example, that remake of TAKE FIVE that someone cleverly arranged in 4/4.

Remember PICK UP THE PIECES by the Average White Band? That's odd. The Wave does! Not only do they play it on a daily basis, they also play a plethora of inexplicable covers by series of faceless saxophone artists. I'd have never imagined that there was a PUTP subculture out there. This daily basis thing is important - they play EVERYTHING on a daily basis. I know I'll hear two Anita Baker songs in the course of a work day, and about nine versions of Pick Up the Pieces, and a little Steely Dan, and some Hiroshima, and yes, Kenny G. It's like a country music station playlist, only more limited. It's not like there isn't enough material to fill out the genre - oh how I wish that were the case! - it's that the programmers have decided that familiarity breeds comfort. They've smoothed jazz to the point that you can skate across it.

They don't play any Miles Davis or Chet Baker or Ornette Coleman, perhaps out of fear of attracting the late greats' attention and causing unnecessary grave-spinning. My feeling is, for god's sake, let the spinning begin! I'm weary of David Sanborn. I'm no longer enamored of Enya. Maybe my problem with the station is that when I listen, I perpetually feel like I'm about to get a massage that never comes.

When I get home tonight, I'm going to pack the iPod with speed metal.

3 comments:

Matthew said...

curious who owns the wave...do you know?

Danielk said...

Doctor Evil?

Just kidding - CBS radio.

Skot said...

And CBS Radio is owned by?

That's right.

Moo-ha-ha.