Saturday, May 22, 2010

Even Muzak Has Its Time and Place

Muzak is terrible right? Too artificial sounding, they pick the worst songs or compositions ever and on the occasion they take a classic they ruin it! But I was thinking just recently, that even muzak has its time and place. Sometimes its the perfect last piece of the puzzle when you fantasise about your own demise, sometimes its the music that completes the filmishness of your life..... because if your horrible moment in time was a movie, it would have to have horribly bad, depressing music to illustrate just how mundane and terminal your life situation is. Even if this is an over reaction, at the time its what you were feeling.

For instance when the Mr Whippy ice cream van's 'music' broke down for three weeks, I didn't think Greensleeves could get any worse, but believe me, it CAN. And it was the summer school holidays so he was driving around my neighbourhood for hours each day.... and one afternoon I was buried in paperwork and in tears, I considered giving the kids a $50 note just so the van would be stopped long enough for me to finish - magically when the van stops so does the music - and I realized, that my life is god's movie.... and that my situation was funny. Or at least I was so tired and overwrought that I thought it was funny, and laughed like a madwoman... and you know what, the next day he had new music... because my moment had passed.

I also had to fill out the War and Peace of hospital surveys..... as a former patient of the burn unit they wanted to know all about my current pain, my pain during my stay, how satisfied I was with the information about my condition and care given to me..... and the options were very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, neither satisfied nor disatisfied, I would have liked more information, and this I WOULD HAVE PREFERED NO INFORMATION. Instantly, I imagined the doctors and medical students gathered around a patient's bed rattling off information about their condition, and the patient daydreaming about Hawaii while a really bad rendition of The Girl From Ipemana played in their head, totally obliterating the sound of the gory details about their treatment and prognosis.

So I began to realize that muzak can serve a purpose.

Doesn't bad music in a bad situation (for instance the world's smelliest and slowest elevator, or being put on hold by customer service) make you feel like you have more to complain about?

Let's not forget the reason these companies do this to us..... to pacify us..... sure some of us can still go off like a firecracker when we finally get to talk to a human being, but a lot of people are simply reduced to zombified shadows of themselves, they are unable to put up resistance to bad service, to articulate a winning argument, to raise their voice....

So the next time I hear a really bad Fur Elise while on hold..... I'm not going to think that Beethoven must be rolling over in his grave, I'm going to laugh until I cry.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Songs I Absolutely Cannot Sit Still For

There are songs that give me energy, songs that no matter how tired I am in the morning if they come on when I'm least expecting it I have to jump out of bed instantly, and songs that I absolutely have got to jump up and down to!

Back in 1996 I absolutely had to jump out of bed when Savage Garden's "I Want You" would come on (cringe now!) and the Bodeans "Closer to Free".

A couple of years ago it was Mika "Grace Kelly" which has now been so totally over played I might not feel the same way for a very long time.

Nika Costa "Everybody Got Their Something" is still huge for me, I have to groove when I hear it.

Of course Fatboy Slim features, he gives me energy to clean the house, yeah for the slow meticulous jobs I need accoustic girl voices I can sing to, but for vacuuming/dusting/scrubbing toilets I need to dance around a bit. Instead of Christopher Walken coolly parading through an empty hotel, picture me wielding a toilet brush to Weapon of Choice. Vacuuming and dusting are the territory for Wonderful Night, and Brimful of Asha.

David Bowie "Rebel Rebel" is my song for getting ready to go out at night - putting make up on while singing and dancing.

"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley is great for any instant energy boost, but I love it in the car, just like the first time I heard it.

"Laid" by James, is still a great song for belting out at the top of my lungs as long as the neighbours don't hear the part 'but she only comes when she's on top' (how embarrassing).

Prodigy "Breathe" and "Voodoo People" carry memories of cleaning house with the young people I looked after in teen rehab. Saturday mornings were clean up day and these were essential listening.

Iggy Pop "Lust for Life" makes me want to run around the block a few times.

I guess upon reflection I might be an easily excited person, and music can flip the switch between quietly creating and wanting to burst out of my own skin.... that is why when I am creating I put on accoustic girl songs so I will sit through the entire session serenely!

I'd love to know what your own energy songs are....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Rainy Day Butterflies

Just decided to seek out more of what I call 'rainy day butterflies' from my music collection. These are songs I think are great for rainy days, or teary days, they may be sad, but they also have soothing and beautiful elements that make them special.

My Rainy Day Butterflies:

Bell, Book and Candle - Eddi Reader
We Build Bridges - Liz Durrett
The Sea a Dream - Liz Durrett
Isabelle - Gregory and the Hawk
Boats and Birds - Gregory and the Hawk
Hometown Glory - Adele
Pills - The Perishers with Sara McLachlan
Je ne'en connais la fin - Jeff Buckley
Now We Are Free - Kelly Sweet
Keep Breathing - Ingrid Michaelson
Farewell - Rosie Thomas
Hush Hush Hush - Paula Cole
I'll Find A Way - Rachel Yamagata

I'm always seeking more rainy day butterflies, from any vintage.