Back in university, nothing made me happier than doing my radio show. One hour a week, I’d get behind the microphone, speak my mind and play my favorite tunes. I originally concocted the name Chaos In A Box for my show. It was my weekly slice of heaven. But, there has been one lasting effect of that show on my life. Whenever I buy a new CD, I quite often find myself thinking, “I can’t wait to play this on the show!” But, there is no more show. It’s just me. But I’m still filled with the desire to share the latest tunes I’ve uncovered. This can be as simple as cranking up the stereo loud enough for the neighbors to hear. At its most severe, I sat down at my parents’ new computer and used their burner to make a mixed CD for Chuck and L. I just want to share my songs.
My latest acquisitions are ones I’m dying to share. I’ve warmed up in Japan enough to start exploring more and doing some shopping. Shinjuku, the region of Tokyo I wind up in when I say, “I’m going to Tokyo!” is a great place to browse for tunes. You’ve got HMV, Tower Records, and Virgin Music all within walking distance of each other. It was in Tower Records that I bought my first CD in Japan. I wish I could tell you that it was some burgeoning, not-yet-discovered underground artist, but no. It’s the soundtrack for The Powerpuff Girls. I heard about this CD back home, and was dying to get it. Its complete title is The Powerpuff Girls: The City of Soundsville. It’s the score album for the cartoon; nothing but the background music. I love it. That cartoon just has such catchy tunes. Of course, once I converted the price to Canadian dollars, I discovered that I paid the same that I would have if I special ordered it. Oh, well. At least this way, I don’t have to wait 6-8 weeks for it.
And then, there’s the second CD. I will admit, as I go to all those big music stores, I go to the world music section, hoping that there will be a little section labeled “Canadian.” I’m not asking for much. Just a few discs by Great Big Sea, The Tragically Hip, and Prozzak. But, no such luck. Sure, you can find large Canadian bands, like the Barenaked Ladies, but they’ll be mixed in with the generic rock. So, my quest for little Canadian groups was going unabated.
Then, as I was walking through Kumagaya Station, my gaze and ears drifted towards this one kiosk that had been set up. Some local record store was clearing out stock, and this place was loaded with CDs for only 500 yen each. I decided to check it out. It was mostly classical music and 1940s big band, but I soon found a box full of pop music. As I dug through it, my jaw hit the floor when I found a single, solitary copy of Martika’s Kitchen.
Who out there remembers Martika? A Canadian one-hit wonder from about 12 years ago. I remember her because, about 12 years ago was when I first got cable television. I was watching a lot of MuchMusic, and they were playing her constantly. But still, all these years later, I still occasionally find myself humming her one hit, Martika’s Kitchen. Let me print a few lyrics for you:
C’mon, get some, in Martika’s kitchen, baby
You bring the noise, and I’ll bring the smile
It’s been so long, since you been down to the kitchen, baby
My desire’s running longer than a country mile
So true, you can make all my wishes
So true, you can make all my dreams
And if you’re good, babe, I’ll even let you break the dishes
Come on, get some, in Martika’s kitchen.
Sexual innuendo like that just blew my 14 year old mind. There was nothing cutting edge about this song. It’s fairly generic pop of the era. It just so happens that my 14 year old mind liked it.
I could never find that CD back when it was popular, and here it was, sitting in a Japanese discount bin. It was fate! It was kismet! I dug 500 yen out of my pocket and I bought it. I took it home, slapped it in my laptop, and heard Martika’s Kitchen for the first time in 11 years.
And that’s just one story of many. There are so many songs I have stumbled across in the 3 years since my radio show officially ended. In fact, I have so many memories of the summer of 1999, and all the songs that popped up that summer that would have definitely been on my first show that fall. There was, naturally, the Episode I score. Duel of the Fates would have played loud and proud on 101.5. The anthem of the summer of 1999 was All Star by Smash Mouth, which has undoubtedly been overplayed by now, but I still like it. 1999 also brought us the last great movie musical. I am, of course, talking about South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Oh, to have played What Would Brian Boitano Do? live and on the air.
I have the score for Chicken Run, which is, undoubtedly, one of the best film scores of the last 5 years. It’s just so fun and bouncy. I’ve nurtured loves for Nelly Furtado and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. If I still had a radio show, I would have played the soundtrack for Josie and the Pussycats to death, along with a few choice cuts from Shrek. There is just so much music I have that I want to play loud enough for the world to hear.
Of course, this would be unbearably cool if it were all struggling bands that haven’t been discovered yet, but no, with me, it’s obscure movie soundtracks, pop that’s 5 years past its “best before” date, and generous doses of “Weird Al” Yankovic. Somehow, that blend made my radio show #1. Although, no one really knows if I was actually #1 or not, but since the station manager was also a fan of the show, that’s what she’d tell people.
There’s so much good music in the world. It’s impossible for me to just pick one kind. As I sit here on the floor, surrounded by my CDs, I can’t help but think. There are times in this life where I would give it all just to have that one hour a week again. C’mon CBC! Hear my plea! Just give me an hour every week to do with as I please! Two hours if you’re going to make me run commercials. There is so much in life that exists purely to overcomplicate things. All I want is one hour a week and half-a-dozen CDs to play. That’s all I ask….