Sunday, March 23, 2008

When Does A Song Play Itself Back In?

I was struck by an odd thought moment right after I dropped off Kelly following Easter dinner at my parents' house. As I tried to make the wander through the parking lot, I did a quick radio search and found a station playing "Hey There Delilah" from Plain White T's. The song was just starting which didn't mean that I could wait a moment or two for it to end and move onto a new listen. And what did I do while the song played?

I drove my car and enjoyed the song.

It was after it was over that it struck me how funny it was that I was suddenly cool with the song again. It was so overplayed back in the winter of last year that it got to the point where I couldn't even really pull myself in to listen. The moment that I knew what song it was, the radio would be switched to something else. Yep... No "or" statement there. It was all about the "if/then" statement...

This kind of reminded me of the time that I had an odd moment with Nirvana while on the job. I spent about 2 years working at a local Tower Records and this was right about the time of the whole 'Alternative Revolution' happened. One of the main albums that remain in my brain from that period is Nevermind by Nirvana. As soon as that was released, we were playing it in the store over and over. It would seriously wind up being played at least 3 times per day, one turn for every work shift.

About a month into our love affair with Nirvana, the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" blew up like it did and you couldn't go anywhere without hearing it loud and clear. It was even getting played on KMEL, a local hip-hop/R&B station. Their playlist was all soul, rap, and R&B... and one song by Nirvana. That song was blowing up all over!

That blowing up left all of us back at Tower in the lurch. We had been playing that album since release and the song was quickly getting on our last collective nerves. It even got to the point that we (aka the floor employees) would play the album without playing the first song. It was just a big bloody pile of overplayedness. This led to the management actually decreeing that we were required to play the entire album if it was to be run on the store's CD player. It's fun when the boss has to be sure that we don't confuse the customers with the lack of the hit single.

It took us awhile to be comfortable with the song again. The initial buzz wore down and then it took a little more time to work back into our consciousness. We, and I, had just gotten to the point that the saturation was too much to take. The same thing happened with the song from Plain White T's. That song turned into everyone's dedication song to their loved ones (including females dedicating it to their boyfriends) and was played at every moment that needed some kind of romantic bit. The whole thing just got so out of control that the song went straight into the played out bin.

I'm not sure if this post works as a discussion about when a song comes back in but it does leave a person to wonder what ways the music moves from one stage to another. It seems like the public consciousness takes a very short amount of time to go "out" but then takes a very long amount of time to get all the way back "in". It's always good to be sure to get back "in" or you might wind up like Extreme and who wants to do that?