Listening to the KROQ 1991 playlist in the car this week, it occurred to me how many of the songs I was completely unfamiliar with. This is likely due to the fact that I spent the entirety of 1991 in the Republic of Korea. For those of you under 35 years old, let me explain why this was significant. Back in 1991, Korea did not have a blanket of high-speed internet as they do now. In fact, they barely had reliable telephones or television stations. 1991 was a time before the commercial internet, before DVD box sets (or even DVDs of any kind), way back in the dark ages of information technology. So, that year in Korea was a year where the only American pop culture I knew of was filtered by the Armed Forces Korea Network. Civilian readers, AFKN was like swaddling pop culture in a giant blanket of blandness. I could not understand, when I returned in 1992, why people were singing a song about logs being “better than bad.” I’m pretty sure the most cutting edge thing I heard on the radio that year was “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in such a short time.
Twenty years later, I have a tiny device on my desk which looks like a miniature television set. This device is connected to my wireless router and streams Facebook updates, Gmail inbox listings, news feeds, silly games and LOLcats. Most importantly, it also streams KROQ (or KNDD, KDGE, 91X, etc.). I’m living in BFE Texas, where the best radio station around plays the same regurgitated pap that every post-Clear Channel era “best of the 80s 90s and today” channel is running. But, I am no longer beholden to the filtered geographically-dependent view of pop culture.
Alex just likes the robot clock.
Livin’ in the future, man!