Monday, August 07, 2006

Muzak Attack

So I took my parents to this Chinese restaurant that we go to every time they come to town. After ordering, we sat there chatting, and I noticed that there was muzak being piped into the restaurant. Not smooth jazz, Kenny G./Dave Koz music, but honest-to-goodness muzak. (An aside: did anyone see that episode of Run's House where Rev Run has Kenny G. piped in to his "zen room"? How much do I want a zen room? A whole hell of a lot, that's how much. Just so I could SAY that I have zen room. A whole ROOM dedicated to zenning. It's only purpose, to zen. I need me some of that). Is it me or does it seem like muzak has fallen out of favor these days? I know that some of you may argue that it was never really "in favor," but relatively speaking, I think muzak has been on a huge decline. When I was a kid, I recall the soft sounds of muzak being played when my mom would take me to Kmart, where I would buy Now and Laters and ride the penny-horse in the parking lot. It was played everywhere: elevators, offices, stores. Now, in place of muzak, it's all about Enya when you're getting your teeth cleaned, and Josh Groban when you're waiting for a pedicure. I was in my supermarket yesterday and they were playing Il Divo covering Toni Braxton. Unbreak My Heart, sung opera-style? Really? I know there's probably some research out there that shows that Opera-Soul-Fusion makes people want to buy more Folgers, but that just seems silly to me. I prefer muzak in these types of situations. They are boring tasks, they deserve boring music. Do I really need to be whipped into a Fabio fantasy (which is what Il Divo music makes me think of) while I squeeze tomatoes? That's kind of icky. I'll take muzak over that any day.

The great thing about muzak is that it seeps into your brain and makes you realize that you know all sorts of songs that you would never cop to nor ever even THINK about on your own. As I sat in that Chinese restaurant, I realized I was singing along silently to myself: "If ever I'm in your arms again, this time I'll love you much better..." That's right, people. Peabo Bryson came rushing back to me. I don't recall ever being into Peabo Bryson. I don't really even recall who Peabo Bryson is. Yet, there I was, knowing the words and going right along with the muzak as I ate my bean curd sheet roll. Next up, was this one: "Just once. Can we figure out what we keep doing wrong, why we never last for very long..." Oh yes. James Ingram. How do I know this stuff? I need to be studied in a lab for the brilliance that is my brain. And finally, I heard this one: "Words get in the way...there's so much I want to say..." MIAMI SOUND MACHINE. Don't you just get a thrill thinking the words "Miami Sound Machine"? I was so proud of myself. I know shitty 80s music like I know the alphabet! I haven't heard these songs in twenty years and yet they are RIGHT THERE, in stasis in my brain, ready to be reactivated at the drop of a hat. I feel like a savant. I wish that Name That Tune was still on tv so that I could go on there and kick some ass. I want Peabo to know that his music has apparently been absorbed into my bloodstream, never to leave until I depart this earthly realm.

They say we only use 10% of our brain's capacity. How much of this is to store information that only the power of muzak can unlock? Boggles the mind.

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl


Melinda said...

My friends and I used to play a game wherein we would flip through the music channels on our digital cable and see who came name the artist and song in each category the fastest. Girl, I cleaned UP in the "Soft Rock" category. I'll take you on any day. :)

Anonymous said...

I blame those music infomercials that are on late night tv for our collective knowledge of gems such as Peabo.

zmuzak said...

Yes, the kind of Muzak you mention is on the way out (and has been for several years). It has been replaced by playing the original artists version of songs, and tailoring the songs to the perceived customers of a business. The kind of instrumental Muzak nowadays is usually found in older stores that haven't converted over to the new satellite technology. Long live these stores and long live Muzak!

pagan said...

Bless you Libby Girl, I thought that I was the only one! I find myself not only remembering the lyrics to songs, but they also trigger interesting memories. Like the one involving a sailor, a docked Naval Ship and the officers quarters . . . (Whoa-oh here she comes watch out boys she'll chew you uu-up.) Amazing how they manage to turn anything into Musak. Quite a talent.