He Wrote the Songs That Will Make Young Mexicans Cry


A little birdy chirps up this terrifying story of cultural re/mis/appropriation gone horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. Or right, especially in you're really into "Mandy" (who, lest we forget, "came and gave without taking"):

Las Cruces radio station KXPZ 99.5-FM is playing…all Barry Manilow. All day and all night.

Barry 99 is dedicated to Barry Manilow, the prolific singer/songwriter who has produced 44 albums since his self-titled debut in 1973.

"This has never been done before. It's a totally unique format," said Mike McKay, executive vice president of Bravo Mic Communications, which in April purchased the station from Rio Grande Christian Broadcasting of El Paso for $1.4 million.

Whole story here.

My cynical take? Las Cruces is less than 50 miles from the border with Mexico. This is part of a psy-ops designed to circumvent concerns over building a physical fence between down there and up here: Instead build a series of Manilow-only stations across the Southwest, creating a sonic barrier every bit as punishing as the feds bombarding the Branch Davidians with repeated playings of "Achy-Breaky Heart" (where's the ACLU when you really need them?). Here's hoping that the all-Manilow station doesn't end in a fiery conflagration and the murder of children. But if it does, will it really surprise anyone?

My actual take? As the Las Cruces Sun story points out, Manilow is "the No. 1-selling adult contemporary artist– his record sales total 65 million worldwide" and he "scored another hit with 'The Greatest Songs of the Fifties,' released Jan. 31 on Arista Records," which topped the charts in February. Barry may not poll well with critics and rock fans, but in a robust cultural marketplace that makes space for more and more crap–big and small, good and bad, etc–more power to him and his all-Manilow radio station.