Thursday, October 14, 2010

Supermarket Background Music- WTF?

Sometimes I have to wonder what people are thinking when they choose the background music for shoppers in their store. Presumably, the music is there as a sort of entertaining distraction that lurks in the background, setting a mood for the shoppers, presumably one that makes them more willing to spend a few extra bucks.

I realize that supermarket managers don't pick the songs. Background music is some sort of canned packaged program. It's not like a supermarket has a DJ that puts together a playlist. But as a side note, wouldn't that just rock? Can't you see it? "OK, shoppers, this next selection is the Beach Boys '409'; and speaking of which, we're having a sale on Formula 409 cleaner, available in aisle four!".

But I digress. In any event, this blog is precipitated by an experience I had recently at one of our favorite supermarkets, Market Basket, or as we like to call it, Basket Case. Carol and I have nicknames for all our supermarkets. There's Snausage's (Shaw's), Basket Case (Market Basket), and Try and Save (the local Hannaford's, that use to be a Shop and Save). And yes, that last name is taken from the Simpsons.

SO anyways, there I was at Basket Case, when over the speakers comes that 70's vintage, whiny, self-pitying shitfest known as "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. Can there be a more miserable song? And yet that is what was playing over the speakers. This is a song they expect to put people in a receptive mood?

And this isn't an isolated incident. They've also vomited forth "Killing Me Softly" by Roberta Flack. When that song came out in the 70's, I recall really disliking it. Now, more than 30 years later, with more maturity under my belt and a refining of my musical tastes, I can safely say I totally loathe it. A miserable, miserable song, in my humble opinion. This song doesn't inspire me to shop. This song inspires me to jam cucumbers in my ears, then go on a homicidal rampage.

There are others as well, but the titles just aren't coming to me. I think my brain is trying to be merciful.

Stores really need to pay more attention to the song packages they buy. The atmosphere of the store should be conducive to make me want to stick around and buy stuff, not vomit on stock boy and hurl myself through the store's plate glass window.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's Me On The Toilet- An Open Letter to the Writers of Glee

Dear Sirs or Madames
Lately, through no fault of my own, I have been exposed to your television show. Now, from the little I knew about it before this exposure, I had a reasonable idea that it wasn't something I'd be too interested in. I know that a handful of people whose opinions I respect like it, but that was scarcely reason for me personally to spend time watching it.

Recently, I managed to overhear parts of an episode, in one of those "captive audience" situations. Furthermore, someone close to me recently sent me a Youtube link to a segment of one show where "Losing My Religion" was being featured. I'm a rabid REM fan (that is to say, I rabidly enjoy REM, not that I'm a fan of REM turning rabid). The reason that this person sent me the link in the first place was "Hey, it's REM. You LIKE REM."

Yes. Yes I do. Which is why I disliked the Glee treatment of what is most likely one of REM's most beautiful songs.

But anyways, I'm getting ahead of myself. After being forced to hear a good majority of one episode, I am forced to conclude that it indeed really is not my cup of tea. And some of the songs featured made me want to jam screwdrivers in my ears ("Don't go breaking my heart"? Come on, really?).

However, the biggest issue is the use of REM songs. I don't know who's in charge of giving that kind of permission; whether it's the band, their manager, or perhaps even the record company. But I haven't felt so embarrassed for the band since their ill-advised cameo performance on Party of Five.

So please, I beg you, in the name of all which does not suck: Keep your hands off of REM songs.

As for my friends and associates who like the show, I am mystified as to why they do, but I won't hold it against them. Just like I have friends who for some Godforsaken reason think Sarah Palin walks on water, or some who deny the existence of God, so I apparently can have friends who think this show rules. It's possible that people can co-exist in peace and harmony despite disparate tastes in television and music. It's called celebrating diversity, or adversity, or perversity, or something like that.

By the same token, I hope they will think no less of me that I'd rather hear a plate of beans negotiating its way through the digestive tract of a cow than listen to another minute of your program.

Thank you for your time. Once more...hands off of REM. And if you EVER touch "It's the End of the World as We Know It", I will personally strangle each and every one of you.