We Want The Airwaves

Posted: April 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Would they still want them?

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of this phrase. We Want The Airwaves. As a song title, it’s fairly innocuous. A punk band wanting to cease control, flipping the status quo and challenging the culture. Though the Ramones are the most palatable punk band one can think of. Sped-up Doo Wop can do that for you. Even with titles like “The KKK Took My Baby Away.”

The Ramones were on Sire Records. They weren’t all over the radio dial, people were Yacht Rocking at the time, but their records were heard. If anything wanted the airwaves, it was pirate radio from underground hip-hop, dance, and perhaps no-wave.

But we we return to the simple phrase. We Want The Airwaves. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the mantra of the underground. It’s an idea of freedom, to have your message broadcast for all the world to hear. And to do it with great conviction and force.

Pop-Culture writer TourĂ© has the idea that we are more singularly tuned than ever. There is no collective Pop-Culture consciousness anymore. Something like LCD Soundsystem or the Royal Wedding or Big Love can come and go, and a large amount of people won’t get a whiff of it. There isn’t a monoculture anymore according to him, just pods that operate somewhat linked to each other. There aren’t airwaves to cease.

I’m not certain that’s entirely true, but he is correct that the monoculture is severely weakened and on life support. It’s very rare that there are so-called “water cooler” moments in the modern pop-culture spectrum. Save for the occasional viral video or maybe in sports, but that is a far cry from how things were not but 10 years ago.

It makes me curious as to what the Ramones in 1981 would do if they were transported 30 years later. Would they want the airwaves, or would they be perfectly satisfied within their niche? It’s a funny struggle. I mean they had a movie, two movies, for god’s sake. They straddled a fun line of mainstream and counter-culture, somewhat telling of what would come.

Yes, the Ramones were alts of their day. Older man who wears the Ramones seal t-shirt: you’re fine (As if you need my approval. Oi!). But their iconography was a part of something bigger. Everyone recognizes the seal and what it represents. I’m not certain that would be a priority for them if they emerged in the present day. There’s a connectedness felt now via the information age that you don’t require the whole spectrum to feel listened to.

The Ramones were seemingly Too Tough To Die, but it seems to me that they would rather niche, than fight.