Pop Music In The Dentist’s Chair

Yesterday I went to get my teeth cleaned. As is always the case, the whine of the rotating toothbrush the dental hygienist was using was accompanied by the drone of pop music over the office sound system. For some reason the radio at that office is always tuned to Sunny 95, one of several pop music stations in Columbus.

Why Sunny 95? Who knows? Maybe the station encourages dental office listeners, or maybe there are studies showing that dental patients are less likely to focus on the fact that there mouth is hanging open and a stranger’s hands are inside if they are forced to listen to bland and mindless songs and equally insipid DJ chatter on a generic FM pop music station.

I don’t listen to pop music radio stations, and there’s a reason for that: they’re uniformly awful. The forced, allegedly humorous banter between the DJ team is always intensely annoying. The music sounds like it is computer-generated and is instantly forgettable — except, apparently, if you have to listen to the station all day. One song began as the hygienist was pricking away at my gum line with a sharp, cold, metal instrument and she instantly blurted out “I hate this song. They play it all the time.” The song, which I had never heard before, was about a girl on fire, and it certainly did suck.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to listen to such drivel for an entire working day, and suddenly I was intensely happy that my exposure to pop FM stations and the crappy music they play is limited to 40-minute increments every few months. When I left the office that morning, my teeth buffed clean and my gum line tingling, I happily got into my car, turned on one of the Sirius XM Classical stations, and left the pop music world behind.

A Sirius Fan

When we bought our Acura SUV, we got a complimentary subscription to SiriusXM.  We accepted it, of course — it was a freebie — but I was skeptical that I’d ever pay for radio.  After all, why pay for something you can get for free?

I’ve since become a convert.  I like the variety of the news, comedy, sports, and music stations, and I like the commercial-free music stations.  I particularly appreciate the service when I’m driving from city to city, because I don’t need to worry about losing a signal and searching for a new one.

I’ve programmed the car with my favorite Sirius stations, so I can find them with the push of a button, and I’ve experimented with some of the other stations, too.  I tuned in to the Sirius POTUS station before the election, because I thought it was a pretty well-balanced presentation of the election-related news, and since the election I’ve been listening faithfully to the three Sirius classical music stations — the Metropolitan Opera station, Pops, and Symphony Hall, where they play longer pieces.  I also like the fact that the display screen tells me what’s playing, so if I like a piece that I haven’t heard before I can find it at the library.

From my perspective, there’s a lot to like about SiriusXM.  I never thought I’d pay for radio, but it’s worth it.