Day the Muzak Died

I read just today that Muzak, that mood-altering company that pipes top 40 hits sans vocals through the buildings you frequent, got purchased 2 years ago.  Muzak, it seems, is no more.

A moment of silence, please.

And that’s enough.  It was hard enough over the years hearing greatly despised songs that seemed to be everywhere – “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” or anything by Barry Manilow.  But Muzak had an enormous repertoire.  You know you were thinking of the last rendition you heard of “Thriller” played on the vibraphone.  Or perhaps the “Like a Virgin” without Madonna’s lilting voice.  I distinctly remember hearing that one in an elevator. Harmonica, I think.

Muzak has always bothered me.  As a musician, the music is dumbed down to its most inoffensive form. The distinctive quality of  Stevie Nicks’ voice is left out. Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” sounds tinny and contrived without the metal element.  Some of these songs, like the Beatles’ “Yesterday”, are stand-alone jewels.  They don’t deserve to end up in Muzak, a swirling cesspool of musical mediocrity.

It’s like creamy peanut butter.  What’s the point?  Peanut butter is made from peanuts.  Chunks and irregularities are part of its charm.  Blending it until it’s creamy defeats the purpose.  I feel the same way about almond milk (almonds don’t have udders) and turkey bacon.  Calling something turkey bacon is just plain lying. I’m sure lying about bacon deserves a special spot in hell.

As a child, I have many memories of clothes shopping with my mom.  A musician herself, she would hum along to the songs on the PA system, aka Muzak.  I’m sure it was unconscious.  Then, to my ultimate embarrassment, she progressed to dancing to the music. She was not a good dancer, either. Stop it, Mom!  You have one job here!  Pick out some clothes for me. But not anything you think I might like.  It does not include shaking your groove thing!  Puh-lease (insert bonus eye roll here).

I do remember trying to hide from her.  I was/am still small enough to fit under the rounders of clothes.  She always found me.

I’ve also read that the company who purchased Muzak will experiment with scents and virtual “models” so you can try clothes on without even entering a dressing room.  I’ll take a chocolate-scented model, please.  But hold the tunes.


2 thoughts on “Day the Muzak Died

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