Where do you find sexy radio? If you’ve ever watched any channel formerly known as UHF in Washington for any length of time in recent years, you’ve seen commercials for 97.1 WASH-FM. It is not sexy radio. The station brings you soft rock for 11 months a year and Christmas music for one. The holidays bring frequent playings of Christmas Shoes, and that should tell you something about January-November.
So should the TV spots. Several 3-D, low-budget animated people sit in an office, bored and downtrodden. One surfs to a screen showing the call letters and somehow this action starts the radio. The glittering sound of Barry White’s Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe cascades into the room, and the workers stand up at their desks to dance. It is “Washington’s at-work station.”
And the song there is important. With my itchy station trigger and my lack of love lost for soft rock, generally the only two songs that make me stop on WASH-FM are All I Want for Christmas Is You and White’s You’re the First, the Last, My Everything. The latter is overplayed in the world but not as much as Can’t Get Enough is overplayed. Besides, heavy bass plus disco orchestra are a good thing. They’re like a vitamin. They’re not a whole meal, but a tiny dose is healthy.
But what should the station play today — what should it play, my friends — but a third Barry White song. It popped up in passing and there it was. The song was a deep soul groove, deeper and deeper, “deeper and deeper” as Barry’s gut utters, an act of spinning musical hypnotism: I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More, Baby.
And it’s a bedroom song. It’s a certain kind of bedroom song. It’s a late-nite jam, reserved for a time when you are beyond musical criticism. Hearing it on WASH-FM, it’s the most unintentionally format-inappropriate song I’ve heard in five years. Barry doesn’t sing too fast, he stops … to talk … at points … and the rise of the music waits for him all the way. Read the lyrics and listen. Oh my.
It’s not a song you want to hear with your dentist, your orthodontist, your opthamologist, your cubicle mates, your accounting department, or anyone else with whom you might possibly share listening to “Washington’s at-work station.” You can’t enjoy it. You don’t want them to enjoy it. But Barry wants you all to enjoy it. At work.
And he is your colleague. He is with you now and until the end of time. He is your colleague in love, the Walrus of Love. He sits next to your desk, singing to you of his love, and hums when you must concentrate. He is a great supporter of you and your work. And while it might be hard to understand the depth of this love, if your office plays the song, baby … the Walrus approves.