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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On Music in Public Places

I've just skimmed two articles that more or less claim music in public places is irritating. If you want to check them out, they are Fran Lebowitz's "The Sound of Music: Enough Already," and Andrew Mueller's "Can't Stop the Muzak. " You'll have to find Lebowitz on your own because my copy is in a textbook, but here's the link to Mueller: http://www.andrewmueller.net/scroll.lasso?ID=178&story=CAN'T%20STOP%20THE%20MUZAK_full_story

So anyway these two articles have got me thinking about whether I enjoy hearing music when I'm out and about, and I'd have to say mostly yes, I do. On the other hand, when I'm feeling down and blue and lovesick I don't want to hear the love songs --- so I probably pop out of a store more quickly than I would have. And when I'm in a music store, it's kind of hard to get the feel of the music I'm considering when I've got rap blasting in my ears. I think those stores in particular would fare far better by playing a mix of styles in fairly rapid success. You know, first 50Cent, then Barry Manilow, then Jack Johnson, then Carly Simon, then Disturbed, then Mick Jagger, then Travis Tritt. You get the picture.

One good point that Lebowitz makes is about other people's clock radios. Personally, I don't like to wake up to a morning show --- well, maybe if it's Rick and Bubba's "The 7 O'Clock Song." Nor do I want to wake up to "My Humps, my humps my humps my humps, my lovely lady lumps" or anything with vocals really. If I'm a guest at your house and you must have your clock radios set to wake me up with music, please make it classical or piano or acoustic guitar only, turned down very low. Now that would be kind of nice.

Music in restaurants? Only if I can talk over the music without yelling. And match the music to the atmosphere, the food, the clientele, the weather --- I mean, if you are going to be a d.j., make it mean something. Mexican restaurants nearly always get it right. It's nearly impossible to leave a Mexican restaurant in a bad mood --- if a spinach burrito with pico de gallo doesn't cheer me right up, the lively music does.

I'm going out to lunch now; we'll see what's playing.

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