Discover Songs


Here on the Bryant Park Project this week, we're trying to help you, our faithful audience, and, well, help ourselves, frankly, work through the grief of the loss of this fine program. Obviously, we're the last few shows, and we've been going through the five stages of grief, through one of our regular features, The Best Song In The World Today. On Monday, we expressed denial, yesterday, it was anger, and today, it's bargaining. I'm joined by producer, Caitlin Kenney.

CAITLIN KENNEY: Hey, Alison. Yeah, I'm here to talk about the third stage of grief. Bargaining involves, you know, a little bit of denial. You know that the end is coming, but you just hope that there's something you can do to change it. Maybe if you just try harder or be better, you'll be saved. It's really just total and utter desperation, down on your knees, begging and pleading, please don't let this happen. And I think ABBA said it best.

(Soundbite of song "Take a Chance on Me")

ABBA: (Singing) If you change your mind, I'm the first in line. Honey, I'm still free. Take a chance on me If you need me, let me know. I'm going be around. If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down...

STEWART: Caitlin, I'm down the whole "Mama Mia!" of it all and everything, but I'm really not sure this is the best bargaining song. I mean, this is sort of the best, I'm desperate, please help me, please take pity on me...

KENNEY: (Unintelligible) just ABBA?

STEWART: Well, you know, not really just ABBA. It's just - I'm thinking that - when I think about bargaining, I think about, I'm going to do something, I'm going to change something to get something else, to reach the desired goal of wanting you to want me. I mean, I think Cheap Trick says it best.

(Soundbite of song "I Want You to Want Me")

Mr. ROBIN ZANDER: (Singing) I want you to want me. I need you to need me. I'd love you to love me.

I'll shine up the old brown shoes, Put on a brand new shirt, I'll get home early from work, If you say that you love me...

KENNEY: Are you kidding me? ABBA lyrics are way better. "Gonna do my very best, and it ain't no lie, if you put me to the test, if you let me try." Now that's real bargaining.

(Soundbite of song "Take a Chance on Me")

STEWART: No, that's real begging! Mine is about offering an exchange.

(Soundbite of song "I Want You to Want Me")

STEWART: "I'll shine up my brown shoes, I'll put on a brand new shirt, I'll get home early from work if you say you love me." I'll do something to get you back!

KENNEY: ABBA talks about, we can dance together, we can sing together. I mean, this is real bargaining.

(Soundbite of songs "I Want You to Want Me" and "Take a Chance on Me" overlaid)

STEWART: Somebody drank the "Mamma Mia!" Kool-Aid.

KENNEY: OK, wait, wait, wait, wait. Let's stop here for a minute. Maybe, just maybe, you have a point. Maybe it doesn't have to me you or me. Maybe, in the true spirit of bargaining, we can find some common ground here.

STEWART: I'm OK with that, absolutely.

KENNEY: We don't have a lot of time left, after all, and I sort of see your point.

(Soundbite of laughter)

KENNEY: And I do love Cheap Trick. And we aren't the only ones dealing with this. The thing is, the people on our blog, they're the ones doing the real bargaining on behalf of us. They've come up with a lot of ways to save the show, a lot of practical ways.

(Soundbite of song "We Can Work It Out")

KENNEY: Sarah Lee suggested making it an hour long instead of two. That could work, save us a lot of time and energy, too.


KENNEY: Jen said she was ready to put on her camouflage and fight The Man against this injustice. Talk about girl power. And such hope! Janet listed the number for NPR listener services, which is 202-513-3232...

(Soundbite of laughter)

KENNEY: By the way, if you happen to be by the phone. And she said that listeners should tell them again and again what they think about canceling the show.

STEWART: Well, thanks, Janet.

KENNEY: Yeah. And Megan Shanley, she used the blog to write an angry letter to the, quote, "higher-ups," expressing just exactly how she was feeling and how upset she was. And even a lot of people offered up their money.

STEWART: That's serious.

KENNEY: It totally is. Rob King pledged 50 dollars, and Andy Orr offered to organize a personal fund drive, or, as he put it, a money bomb.

(Soundbite of laughter)

KENNEY: If that's not love, I don't know what is. And of course, we can't forget the Radio Sweethearts and their campaign, ala "Ferris Bueller," to save us, giving birth to the Save the BPP Facebook group.

STEWART: Well, thanks to all of them for trying to bargain with the big guys.

KENNEY: They're trying. They really have a lot of good ideas, and you know, I get it. I don't want to let go either. I haven't cleaned my desk or my inbox or anything, because I still have hope that we can be saved. I really believe in everything we've done here. And maybe all of us together, maybe we can really do something. You know, there's a chance, and I'm just not ready to let go. So, maybe the real submission today for The Best Song In The World should be "We Can Work It Out" by the Beatles.

(Soundbite of song "We Can Work It Out")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) We can work it out. We can work it out.

Life is very short and there's no time For fussing and fighting, my friends. I have always thought that it's crime. So, I will ask you once again.

Try to see it my way...

STEWART: "We Can Work it Out" by the Beatles, The Best Song In The World Today, expressing the third stage of grief, bargaining. Are your fingers crossed over there, Caitlin? Is that what I see?

KENNEY: I'm hoping, I'm hoping.

(Soundbite of laughter)

KENNEY: I'm nervous, but you know, we can. We can work it out.

(Soundbite of song "We Can Work It Out")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) We can work it out. We can work it out.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Now, most of the time when you bargain with this nameless, faceless, higher power, you don't get a response. But in the case of the Bryant Park Project audience, well, I've got to say, the interim CEO of NPR is a brave man, and he ventured into our blog to respond to some of your offers, your bargaining offers. As for the people who wanted to give money in some way, the response, which you can read on our blog, was, "Many offered to contribute directly to BPP. It's unclear (that's the word people use when they don't know the answer) that this would work."

(Soundbite of "Price is Right" loser horns)

STEWART: All right, so that's not going to happen. For those of you who raised the possibility of - that we might just be a web-only show, and just kind of drop the multi-platform, just be on one platform, the response - again, you can read it in context on our website from the interim CEO - is, here's the quote, "Some of you have raised the possibility of continuing BPP solely as a website. The suggestion is a good place for future consideration, but for a variety of reasons, not something we're able to undertake today with our existing resources."

(Soundbite of "Price is Right" loser horns)

STEWART: So, the bargaining phase is officially over.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I think that's what we can say. We're moving onto depression, and that'll be on tomorrow's edition of the Bryant Park Project.

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