The Muzak Kollection
I hear a lot of Muzak at my current job. I found it curious at first, but haven’t followed up on my thoughts about it for now. Muzak is omnipresent, yet unrecognized. It is everywhere, and influences us whether we realize it or not. Here are the main features of most Muzak songs:
- Mid-tempo: Mid-tempo is key to keeping customers strolling through the stores at a leisurely pace. Too energetic, and customers will respond accordingly.
- Middle of the Road: Pop/rock accessible to anyone and everyone, with no alienation save for those disillusioned with the man, man.
- Squeaky clean content: Nary a innuendo or cuss word to be found.
- Emphasis on mids and highs: Store speakers are not made for music. Songs with less focus on bass and more on vocals are typical.
This is the recipe for the banality that is Muzak. What fascinate me is how songs arrive in this infamous pantheon, and motivates me to write about them. Each entry in my new series with examine the songs’ context, how they fit into the standard Muzak traits, evaluate whether or not they’re actually good.
We’ll start tomorrow with the white whale, Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration”