Music

Sylvan Esso’s Frustration With The ‘Radio’ Gave Them Their Biggest Hit To Date

All the hosannas about the rise of streaming obscure a very important fact from the average music internet reader that actual artists are all too aware of. Radio — particularly the terrestrial kind — still rules. And looking at that relationship sideways surprisingly gave the “Coffee” indie-poppers in Sylvan Esso their biggest hit to date.

While premiering their video for the song “Radio,” the group explained the inspiration for the sarcastically chipper and earnestly angry song to Vulture.

“Part of it was anger at the pop machine, but part of it was also anger at myself for buying into it so hard,” vocalist Amelia Meath said. “Getting on the radio is like trying to join the Mafia.”

However, the song had a bit of help from an unlikely place. Nick Sanborn — the other half of the duo — revealed that disgruntled radio workers really helped the song get airtime.

“We thought they were gonna be upset about it or not put us on because it’s critical [of them],” he said. “But it turns out, they’re all sick of it, too. It’s crazy.”

The band did have to make concessions to get “Radio” on the radio. Meath said that she had to bleep out the phrase “folk girl” because it sounded too close to obscene, as well as an actually obscene line about oral sex. Sanborn didn’t seem to mind, though.

“Making a radio edit of it makes the joke funnier,” he said.

Check out the video for “Radio” up top and read the band’s thoughts on iHeartRadio over at Vulture. For more Esso, check out the singles “Die Young” and “Kick Jump Twist.”

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