Brrrr – cold, isn’t it? Need a laugh on the first Monday of the year? Here’s one – Xfm’s top songs of all time. In the past half-century of popular music, what did the listeners to 104.9 decide was the finest piece of musical sound ever captured?
Yup, The Killers. Not even The Killers’ the best song, as someone said to me. Not only that, there’s three Oasis songs in the top 10, only three songs are judged to be finer than Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire, and Ian Brown’s F.E.A.R. is, according to Xfm and its listeners, superior to anything the Stone Roses ever did. Ooops.
It’s strange how Xfm manages to persist in keeping its “alternative” sheen that it had when it launched in September 1997, when its main output is has been anything but since it was bought and relaunched by Capital Radio a year later. Fact is, it’s just a mainstream rock station with a few token nods to something more satisfying than “landfill indie”. In other words, it’s Absolute Radio.
Which might have been fine 12 years ago when Capital sought to buy Xfm and relaunch it as a clone of Absolute’s past incarnation, Virgin, but now there’s a hell of a lot more competition out there. There’s even Compare My Radio, a whizzy little tool designed by Absolute’s techies, which will tell you how little most UK stations are actually playing.
The backers of NME Radio, which is run by Xfm’s original founder and cleverly has as little as possible to do with the magazine, must be chinking plastic cups of watery Red Stripe this morning, as their station has just gone digital nationwide. And with 6 Music starting to sound decent again thanks to the wonderful Lauren Laverne, Xfm must be wondering looking at their poll and what the point is…