Residents of a small city in New Zealand are beset by drivers blasting Celine Dion songs late into the night. The loud music comes from cars that have been modified by local enthusiasts who participate in “siren battles” that run on any given day of the week from 07:00 PM to 02:00 AM, according to the AFP.
The siren battles are part of the car culture in Porirua, where enthusiasts gather to compete and drivers win by playing music at ear-splitting levels that can drown out rivals. A “siren king” is crowned at the end of the battles, but the object is not to outdo opponents simply by outputting the most sound.
They “love Celine Dion”, the mayor said.
“They like anyone with a high pitch and great tone in their voice,” she said.
In Porirua, people have had enough of hearing the power ballads, including “My Heart Will Go On” and “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”.
The contests start as early as 7 pm and can go on until as late as 2 am, the mayor said.
“It’s really loud music. They only play a quarter of the song, so it’s like having a turntable and it comes screeching out.”
Songs from Celine Dion have high treble and low bass, which is allegedly best for evaluating the quality of the home-wired systems that drivers use. These consist of your average custom subwoofer cabinets for the lows, but owners add what look like megahorns (wired in series) to handle the highs, as footage from this Re: News video report shows.
Drivers will play 30 seconds of a song, just long enough to judge whether one car is louder than another. If the cars play at comparable levels, the two will try to drown one another out in order to determine the winner of the battle.
The loud music has become a problem for the city of Porirua, which is home to 60,000 residents. The battles take place near downtown, but residents say the noise reverberates because the city center is “like a basin.” Some residents have taken the issue up with the city, and a petition asking the battles to stop has garnered nearly 300 signatures. Porirua’s mayor is meeting with police to find a resolution, per the AFP, but until then the siren battles will go on and on.
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