This is the first in a series of rants on the horrible tape loop of muzaks played overhead in pharmacies, grocery stores, and the like by Esteban Miguel. He’ll try desperately to digest a meager burrito to his beloved Radiohead in a fast food joint, and search for the nearest bottle of aspirin thanks to the bastardization of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in a local drugstore. You get the point.
It can be a disjointing experience. You could be going about your business and be in the most innocuous place in the world and then something recognizable tickles your ears. While walking through a CVS last month in Needham of all places, which is essentially uber-suburban Boston, I heard this unfamiliar male voice singing in hushed tones a familiar tune. The voice reminded me of some, in my opinion, pretty boring singers/bands like Five for Fighting or whatever else the yuppies are listening to these days. After pausing to solve the riddle of why this song sounded so familiar, with a soda in hand, it clicked: It was a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Maps.
I eventually applied what I learned in journalism school to find out the band covering the song was called Rogue Wave and I guess their reputation isn’t as bad as I would’ve first assumed. Nonetheless, it’s always amusing to find tunes I would consider a bit out of the mainstream – most of which I’ve listened to hundreds of times in my car or on my home stereo – suddenly appear in random places.
Just a few days ago, “Optimistic” by Radiohead started coming over the speakers while I was finishing up a burrito at a Chipotle. I mean. Chipotle doesn’t even try the best they can. That burrito was decidedly sub par. Seriously Thom Yorke, you’re allowing a Mexican food chain to use a Kid A song to sell lukewarm burritos. From the same album you reportedly wanted to call No Logo!
It all makes me wonder about the personal attachment most music fans have to music, especially music that may be popular on some level but isn’t really Top 40. Some of these instances remind of when I heard the jerk jock down the hall playing Like A Friend from Pulp on his stereo when I was in college (a small Catholic college in New Hampshire in which Dave Matthews Band was the only band anyone seemed to really like).
I eventually learned he just happened to have the Great Expectations soundtrack and had no idea who Pulp was. But I took pride in that I liked Pulp while no one else heard of them and just the possibility it would play on THAT guy’s stereo irked me at first.
I guess CVS or Chipotle give me that same feeling when I hear MY music on their stereo systems. I guess I shouldn’t be so selfish.
For good measure, here’s a taste of the Rogue Wave cover just for some context.