Listen to this track by post-new wave British multi-instrumentalist and pop singer-songwriter Nik Kershaw. It’s his 1986 non-hit “Radio Musicola” as taken from the album of the same name. This was a follow up to some very successful singles of over two years before in “Wouldn’t It Be Good” and “The Riddle”, although with far less impact on mainstream radio.
Perhaps this is of little surprise. This is not to say that the song itself isn’t as popstastic of those it followed, and not just a little funky too, pulling from Kershaw’s background as a jazz-fusion guitarist. But, this is also a classic ‘biting the hand that feeds’ tune, a song about the homogenous nature of radio that was developing at the time.
Perhaps more importantly, the song touches on the trend by the mid-80s that saw fewer and fewer political statements being made in pop songs on the radio. Additionally, other songs on the record attacked the underhanded practices of the tabloids, expanding the themes of professional integrity (or lack thereof) in the media, yet couldn’t have won Kershaw many friends there.
The chart results of this song, and the album off of which it comes were perhaps predictable, too. The album spent a millisecond in the charts in the UK, and here in Canada, not breaking the top 40. Yet, in some ways, Kershaw’s point was proven, even if his star had fallen. Read more