I caught a cab at the weekend. The driver was listening to Magic radio. Virtually all London drivers listen to this station or to Smooth FM. Magic promises to ‘play more of the songs you love, keeping the UK in a good mood whenever they listen’. It offers the biggest and most comfortable hits performed by major recording stars. Smooth FM is similar. This station will provide ‘your relaxing music mix’. Like Magic, it plays big hits by big names.
I asked the driver why these are the preferred stations. He told me that it’s not for the passengers. It’s hell out there on London’s streets; the atmosphere is intense and aggressive. The drivers need this music to keep them calm. Many of the songs have a low tempo; they slow the drivers down. My driver told me that when he’s not ferrying passengers he likes listening to the frantic pop of Capital Radio. When he is driving he likes the Carpenters and Lionel Ritchie.
There’s another reason too: these soft songs are made of tough stuff. They may not be aggressive, but they are certainly durable. They became hits for a reason and that’s because they bear repeated listening.
He was a nice bloke. I felt calm too.