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I was contemplating getting a satellite radio subscription, so I thought I might check out XM Radio's free three day online streaming preview to see what I thought. Looking through the station list, Lucy seemed like it was most likely to appeal to me:

Lucy is all about the most important and well known songs in the history of Alternative Music. While Fred, Ethel, Squizz and other XM Alt channels go deep, Lucy is about the encores...the giants...the defining songs of the generation. Non Stop. Just music. Just the killers. 24/7.
I'm dying to know in which universe the song they're playing right now, "Steal My Sunshine" by Len, fits that description. It's a catchy tune, to be sure, and after being inescapable in 1999 I'm quite sure I haven't heard it in at least three years, but one of the "giants." Sadly, no. . . .

UPDATE: Fair enough: Sadly, no.

January 18, 2005 | Permalink


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» Where will it end? from Sadly, No!
First, James Wolcott did it. Then it was Matthew Yglesias. And now? Now, ESPN is doing it: Spivey (Atlanta): Is Belichick wearing his sweatshirt with the hoody? Buzzmaster: (1:29 p.m.) Sadly, no. JERRY: I see that Ziggy's back at the... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2005 5:34:35 PM

» Where will it end? from Sadly, No!
First, James Wolcott did it. Then it was Matthew Yglesias. And now? Now, ESPN is doing it: Spivey (Atlanta): Is Belichick wearing his sweatshirt with the hoody? Buzzmaster: (1:29 p.m.) Sadly, no. JERRY: I see that Ziggy's back at the... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 1, 2005 5:35:38 PM


dude, Sirius is much better than XM. Football versus baseball... that's all you need to know.

Plus Howard Stern starting next year. What more can a guy want?

Posted by: right | Jan 18, 2005 4:11:46 PM

You would have to be a far greater Canadian chuvanist than I to consider that "Alternative"...

Posted by: Scott Lemieux | Jan 18, 2005 4:12:33 PM

No Sadly, No! link?

You risk incurring the wrath that turned James Wolcott into a quivering mass of...James Wolcott.

Posted by: Royko | Jan 18, 2005 4:22:41 PM


Posted by: Josh | Jan 18, 2005 4:23:18 PM

Many recent events have coalesced recently to make me feel old. Postings about classic music I haven't even heard of (does anyone else find the phrase "surviving Beatle" unbearably depressing?) doesn't help.
Thanks a lot.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Jan 18, 2005 4:28:51 PM

The Sirius rules...

Right is right...what's left?

Dude, XM is the spawn of Clear Channel. Don't look back...

Posted by: rickhavoc | Jan 18, 2005 4:45:47 PM

The Washington Post had a story this morning on the death throes of rock radio. Lucy’s playlist helps illustrate why this is not exactly a surprising event: sell a bad product, and your business will suffer.

I attribute the decline in music to the general comfort level of 20-somethings, all rich and fat and happy with their ipods (at $400 a pop, they’re everywhere). Contented people make bad music.

Maybe we should bring back the draft ...

Posted by: ostap | Jan 18, 2005 5:06:40 PM

I attribute the decline in music to the general comfort level of 20-somethings, all rich and fat and happy with their ipods

It stands to reason that 20-somethings with iPods listen to less and less radio since they have plenty of music to listen to and share on their own, thus the death throes of rock radio. Boomers, meanwhile, are trying to either relive their glory years, switched to "light adult rock," or spend their days in the car listening to "finance talk" on AM radio.

Posted by: Constantine | Jan 18, 2005 5:10:48 PM

I got XM back in April, mostly because it was the the only satellite radio service that had Air America at the time. My buddy got Sirius a few months later, and I must admit that I think Sirius is better. There are more good Public Radio channels and it added Air America a few months back. I'm less familiar with the Sirius music stations, but I must admit that I'm disappointed with the XM music stations. The "indie" station, XMU, tends more towards flavor of the month bands/sounds, but only the bad ones. (Lots of The Faint and Keane but no Joanna Newsome or Devendra Banhart). Lucy plays some "classics" but just as many WTF songs. Bottom line. . .I'd go with Sirius unless you were a big baseball fan who couldn't get your favorite team's games locally.

Posted by: johnnanney | Jan 18, 2005 6:29:30 PM

Pardon my ignorance, but why do you want satellite radio if you don't drive (I presume you don't, given your NY upbringing and where you live in DC, but I'm sure I could easily be wrong about that)? There are all sorts of cool-ass music sources you can get for free streaming on the internet, so why go to the trouble?

Posted by: me | Jan 18, 2005 7:20:35 PM

I haven't checked out Sirius so I can't make the comparison, but Fred, Ethel, and Fungus are generally the mainstays of the XM dial in our household. (Well, when we're listening to music and not Air America, BBC, or something like that.)

Posted by: Jonathan Weinberg | Jan 18, 2005 8:59:35 PM

Eh, just download "More More More" from Andrea True Connection, and you'll never bother listening to "Steal My Sunshine" again.

Posted by: digamma | Jan 18, 2005 9:32:02 PM

Well, I must admit I wasn't contemplating it with the greatest possible level of seriousness. But I've got some money together to buy something fun with and I'm exploring my options.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jan 18, 2005 10:55:09 PM

Our whole culture is in the shits. Most movies suck. Most TV sucks. Most music sucks. Most novels sucks. Most plays suck. And so on and so forth.

On the music end of things, there's a tendency now to scapegoat record labels and corporate radio (both of which suck, to be sure), but anyone who doesn't think there is a small army of A&R people desperate to sign to the next Nirvana is clueless. The fact is that for whatever reason the next Nirvana *isn't* out there waiting to be signed, anymore than for the most part the script(s) for the next Chinatown or the next Northern Exposure or the manuscript for the next Gastby or Streetcar are waiting to be bought.

American culture is going the way of Greek culture in the 4th century BC...straight down the crapper, and there ain't nothing anyone can do about it.

Prepare for a thousand years of video games and reality TV everyone.


Ha! Ha!

Posted by: Green Dem | Jan 18, 2005 11:08:48 PM

XM radio is a favorite in our house as well. My wife loves Fred and Lucy, I stick with Top Tracks and the 70s channels. The Jazz stations are mediocre at best and are very quiet, no hot jazz. Cant talk to the other channels or news, don't listen to them, but radio without commercials or annoying news personalities, YES!

Posted by: Al | Jan 19, 2005 7:44:03 AM

The trouble with satelitte radio is that you can't listen to a five or six stations battling it out on the same frequency -- the kind of thing you get on AM radio late at night, especially on those frequencies populated by several hundred stations (1230, 1340, 1490). You want to get a sense of what's really happening in America, you need to sit there and take in the jumble all at once, unfiltered.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 19, 2005 8:02:44 AM

Sirius has a 3 day trial too.
I have sirius and REALLY, REALLY like it, and I must admit that listening to Air America in the car, is the reason I got it :)

Posted by: MissM | Jan 19, 2005 9:00:37 AM

Len has a new album comming out in 01/2005...the record co must be spreading some $$$ and press around to stir up some buzz. I wish them luck.

I think both Sirius and XM will be subject to the same sort of manipulations and corporate influence that traditional AM/FM radio experiences. they'll just be able to mutter obscenely about it on satelite radio.

Posted by: JD | Jan 19, 2005 9:09:00 AM

Sirius STINKS.

Their equipment technology is at least a year behind XM. You can now buy a portable XM receiver so you can listen while working out or waiting for your flight (and record several hours of content), Sirius gizmos look like Raymarine fish finders from the Cabela's catalog. Also, Stern hasn't been funny in years and unless he's bringing back Billy West and Jackie Martling there is no reason to pay to hear him.

Posted by: Jimmy Robinson | Jan 19, 2005 2:53:54 PM

Disclaimer: I'm an XM subscriber.

There's no real difference in programming between XM and Sirius--aside from the basball/NASCAR (XM) and the NFL (Sirius) aspect. But who really listens to sports on the radio anymore? And--let's face it--NASCAR ain't a sport.

Both services offer a pretty comprehensive mix of rock stations but both could use an upgrade in their jazz and classical programming. Latin and world music seems to be fairly well represented.

Right now, you get about 130 channels from either service. Speaking for myself, I really only frequent about 25-30 of those channels.

XM is $3 cheaper per month and as mentioned by another commenter seems to be aligned with better hardware options.

This is one of those rare products/services I would rate as indispensable. Largely commercial-free, big selection of music, and portability are high on my list of priorities.

Posted by: Jadegold | Jan 19, 2005 7:40:38 PM

In the URL i put in above (click on my name), I link to a post I wrote earlier this week about the demise of WHFS. If you're interested in some reasons for the decline of music in general as of late, I really recommend that you read it. Some of the information there about "indies" will surprise the hell out of you.

I myself am an XM subscriber, and I couldn't be happier. Their technology is a lot better than Sirius both for listening and as well as their geosynchronous orbit strategy.

Also, while XMU occasionally plays some bad stuff, a great majority of what they play is really good.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 19, 2005 10:57:46 PM

Sirius is much, much better. It has the best liberal talk show I've ever heard on its "liberal" station (the show is called The Young Turks). It has more NPR stations. It has NFL radio (not just the games, but 24-hour NFL talk). And the music channels are programmed much better. I had XM for about 10 days in a rental car and it didn't compare. It is possible their technology is not as good as XM - this is not something I know much about. But the programming on Sirius is far superior in my opinion.

Posted by: Charlie T. | Jan 20, 2005 1:18:01 AM

On the other hand, it's hard to imagine Sirius--much less FM--airing a marathon of 5,002 album-rock classics, as XM did on its "Deep Tracks" channel. ;-)

Posted by: Wally Ballou | Jan 21, 2005 12:07:28 AM

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