Monday, July 7, 2008

What's the Sound of Classic College Radio?

I'm always running across blog posts that reference the beloved "college radio sound" from back in the day. These references are usually to the 1980s and 1990s and are made by members of Generation X. Just for fun, I'll share a few that I found this week.

On his Route 1 blog, Erik writes about Camper Van Beethoven:

"I can always count on CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN to put a smile on my face. I smiled at the band's quirky songs when I heard them fresh in the early days of college radio, and I am smiling now, hearing 'Take the Skinheads Bowling' and 'Eye of Fatima' and the other great tunes...'

And, Mike has a more negative take on the college radio sound of days gone by as he writes about the Blake Babies on his blog ShanleyonMusic:

"...I came across the entry for Juliana's band Blake Babies' second album,
Sunburn. I was thinking...that Juliana became a much better songwriter post-Blake Babies, at least as far as hooks were concerned....imagine my incredulous surprise when the allmusic guy says that not only was Sunburn the best Blake Babies album, but the last great college radio album, leading up to Nevermind. Geez, now I know what so many people my age don't mind blandness...

I hear a lot of songs at work on satellite radio by people who probably came of age when that album came out, as well as other nice, safe but unadventurous college radio bands. And these bands don't have a hook or a clever lyric to save their lives. And they owe it to bands like that."

What era do you think the "college radio sound" refers to? Is it different for each generation or do the 1980s resonate for many people as the college radio heyday?

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