Oh Radio

Oh Radio

It suddenly occurred to me that I hardly ever listen to the radio anymore. I used to love listening to the radio. When I first moved to Sweden back in the mid-90s, there weren’t so many commercials on TV or radio stations. It was bliss. You could listen to close to an hour of music without interruption. There’d be one long commercial break so you had time to go to the bathroom, take a ciggy break if you smoked, or make more coffee and fix a sandwich. And in the early days when I couldn’t speak or understand Swedish, Sveriges Radio (their version of NPR) broadcast news from the US in English twice a day and even rebroadcast some programs from NPR.

Then something happened a few years later. Many Swedish radio stations started doing that annoying thing of squeezing in commercials between every 3-4 songs. Often the difference in volume was so high it felt like, during the commercial breaks, your radio was jumping up and down on your shelf or tabletop.

It also began to feel like every single station was playing the same music–and I didn’t like any of it. I eventually stopped listening to the radio. Instead, I listened to my collection of CDs and stopped worrying about new music. Sometimes I’d watch ZTV or MTV Europe to see if there was anything worth checking out. Occasionally something would jump out at me like Mando Diao, Saybia and Mew. But mostly I ended up listening to the same music I’d liked when I still lived in the US.


It went on like this for a while.  I found some online radio stations I could listen to, which was great. I found more new music to listen to–and not so many damned commercials. Can you tell I don’t like commercials very much?  Nowadays, I subscribe to different bands’ YouTube channels (like Mew, Lianne La Havas, Robyn, etc). But even with signing in, I can’t always escape the commercials. Some you can skip after a few seconds, others refuse to be skipped.

Lately, I’ve been listening to Chance the Rapper. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was seeing him on SNL that did it. I liked his performance of “Same Drugs” and now I’ve been listening to it a lot on Spotify. I have the feeling I’ll be listening to a lot more music and watching TV less. There’s a certain orange man I hate seeing on my TV screen, so Spotify and YouTube will be my saviours the next 4 years.

So now I wonder…everything changes so quickly these days, how will I discover new music in the future? And when will I ever listen to the radio again?

Why Music and Books Rock!

Why Music and Books Rock!

girl lying on grass and relaxing with book and music

Credit: Depositphotos

by Carrie Elks

For me music and books go together like… Fred and Ginger, Gin and Tonic, um songs and words? Anyway, whatever the best comparison is, that’s what turning on the stereo and settling back into the sofa with my Kindle in my hand means to me.

When I was a kid this involved the mix tape (remember those?) For those of you under the age of *ahem* 35 or so, this curious thing was the forerunner of the iPod (remember those hehe?), and involved hours of trying to cue your record player up with the tape recorder, pressing pause whilst simultaneously trying to put the needle on the vinyl, then swearing profusely when you only realized halfway through the record that you’d forgotten to hit the record button.

Thankfully, nowadays things are so much easier. In our house we’re fully connected, able to operate the stereo from an app on our phones (it’s a Sonos system, for those of you that are interested) and play either something from our extensive music collection – all digital of course – or use Spotify.

I have to admit I’m a late convert to the Spotify app. At first I thought it was just a way to access music, but I’ve found it offers so much more. Click on the ‘moods’ offering any day and I can find the right playlist to fit how I’m feeling right then, or even better, I can match my music to the emotions of the book I’m reading. They also have playlists that change daily, from Monday Motivation to Feel Good Friday (which I’m listening to right now as I type this blog – go Bryan Adams!), and these usually contain a mixture of oldies but goodies, plus a few more modern tunes to mix things up.

Of course, it also gives me a chance to catch up with the latest releases, in order to impress my teenage children. I have to admit feeling a certain sort of smugness when I can sing along with their favorite hits, making me the coolest mom in the town. Okay, I’m lying completely here. They’re nothing but embarrassed when I start to sing, but hey, this is my blog and my fantasy. Give me a couple more seconds and I promise not to shame them any more.

One of the best playlists I’ve found for when I’m reading a heartbreakingly emotional romance book is the Most Beautiful Songs in the World playlist. I’ve put a link to it below. The next time you pick up a book, switch on the stereo and decide to shut out the world, I recommend this one!