Last Sunday, we took a road trip into New York City, but before we left, I read Beth Boyle Machlan's New York Times essay about the joys she sometimes gets driving with her kids, and surrendering their collective eardrums to the serendipities of commercial radio. She learns some of their songs, they learn some of hers... Everybody gives up some of the fierce control we all maintain these days over what we call our "playlists."
The woman I live with is right in that camp. I offer to hook up my iPod so we can all hear the songs that we like. She likes to find things on the radio. Before hitting the state line, we had already picked up Jonathan Schwartz on WNYC -- talk about joy -- but these are really two different states of listening: one where you control everything, and one where you and the people sitting near you and a DJ on the radio all collaborate on musical moments.
Questions or comments? Write below, email Colin@wnpr.org, or tweet @wnprcolin.
- Jim Chapdelaine is a musician, producer, composer, and recording engineer.
- Carolyn Payne is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher who is also the co-founder of the contemporary ballet company CONNetic Dance.
- Luis Figueroa is an associate professor of history at Trinity College.