Songs about songs are often a dicey proposition, but there's something about "Caroline's Radio" that rings true. It starts with the opening lines: "Caroline lives for the radio / Caroline lives for the evening show." Not to put too fine a point on it, but there have been times when, like Caroline, I was living for the radio--times when music was the only thing I had that would kick-start my emotions. I suspect this is a common experience among music fans. Friends, family, lovers, the color of the sky: these are the things that make life worth living, but they're also inconstant, subject to change. Music is music, though, every time you turn to it. That's why people fall in love with songs; that's why pop singers are able to become millionaires. That's why O'Rahilly started Radio Caroline in the first place, and why The Atlantic runs a feature like Track of the Day.
McCluskey conjures all this up with a quick sketch of a girl lying in bed, listening to tunes floating in from the dark. I'm not sure I can hear Cake or the Kinks in "Caroline's Radio," but I can hear a songwriter who understands the power of songs. So McCluskey's credentials are solid as far as I'm concerned.
On iTunes: Bubblegum Lemonade / "Caroline's Radio"