Muzak

You never much hear “real” Muzak anymore. I mean the genuine article, the whiny instrumental versions of currently and formerly popular songs which used to be everywhere from elevators to malls to supermarkets. Like “The Sounds of 1000 Strings Play the Rolling Stones” or whatever. They wouldn’t even play the original version of a song if it were a Lawrence Welk polka; it would be re-recorded to eliminate anything which even resembled an edge or an actual emotion…

It used to be lots of fun — a bit of a game even — to see just which songs you might hear in a surreal instrumental version while walking down the produce aisle at Kroger or ducking into Belk’s for some underwear. Some of the more bizarre ones I personally remember include “Funkytown”, “Stairway to Heaven”, and that Robin Gibb classic “Boys Do Fall in Love”, which wasn’t really a very big hit even in its original version and probably didn’t really merit the Muzak treatment…

Muzak is all about different formats now, generally presenting the blandest elements of any genre from adult contmporary to alternative rock to hip hop. But once in a great while, you can still find “Muzak classic”. I found it today at the Burger King on Bayshore Boulevard, and of all things, what should I hear but a cheesy instrumental arrangement of an Elvis Costello song. And it wasn’t some latter-day ballad like “Every Day I Write the Book”. It was “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”…

Very strange…

You never much hear “real” Muzak anymore. I mean the genuine article, the whiny instrumental versions of currently and formerly popular songs which used to be everywhere from elevators to malls to supermarkets. Like “The Sounds of 1000 Strings Play the Rolling Stones” or whatever. They wouldn’t even play the original version of a song if it were a Lawrence Welk polka; it would be re-recorded to eliminate anything which even resembled an edge or an actual emotion…

It used to be lots of fun — a bit of a game even — to see just which songs you might hear in a surreal instrumental version while walking down the produce aisle at Kroger or ducking into Belk’s for some underwear. Some of the more bizarre ones I personally remember include “Funkytown”, “Stairway to Heaven”, and that Robin Gibb classic “Boys Do Fall in Love”, which wasn’t really a very big hit even in its original version and probably didn’t really merit the Muzak treatment…

Muzak is all about different formats now, generally presenting the blandest elements of any genre from adult contemporary to alternative rock to hip hop. But once in a great while, you can still find “Muzak classic”. I found it today at the Burger King on Bayshore Boulevard, and of all things, what should I hear but a cheesy instrumental arrangement of an Elvis Costello song. And it wasn’t some latter-day ballad like “Every Day I Write the Book”. It was “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”…

Very strange…

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