Top 40 Mentality

Top 40 Mentality

Why Do DJs Always Play The Same Songs?

I call it the Top 40 mentality- the tendency to want to hear the same few songs over and over again by the same bands. We all know this mentality dominates mainstream radio and classic rock stations (how many times do we really need to hear Hotel California or Stairway to Heaven?) but the same mentality is common in counter-culture music scenes as well.

I used to go out every week to a goth-industrial night at a local night-club. You could always count on them to play the Cure at least once a night. No problem there, but here's the thing- it seemed like it would always be either Love Song or Just Like Heaven. It was the same thing with other artists. When they played Nick Cave, it was always Red Right Hand. When they played Depeche Mode, it was always that maddening song about “what makes a man hate another man.” (You're telling me you don't know, Depeche Mode? Really? Well, I'll tell you what makes a man hate another man. It's hearing that song for the thousandth time!)


But I digress. It's not that I don''t like Love Song or Just Like Heaven. They're both really beautiful songs. I just don't understand why no one ever plays any other Cure songs, just those two. Now that I think of it, I've even heard Love Song being played in the supermarket!


I asked the DJ about all this once, since he's a really good friend of mine. He told me they'd get deluged with requests every single night, and always for the exact same songs. So it wasn't the DJs who had the Top 40 mentality, it was the audience. We have met the enemy, and he is us!