Hearken to the day when you would get on an elevator and Muzak would be playing in the
background. It would either put you on edge, or mellow you out. Either you
thought it was a poor imitation of real music, or you let it sweep you away.
Some folks didn't think it was real music. The intended effect was to
soothe people. It made people relaxed enough to forget about their dreary world
and spend money. It was piped into stores and phones-on-hold, it was piped into
businesses and offices to set a mood. The mood was meant to be "inviting".
I confess, when I first heard Muzak, I hated it. I still don't really care for it.
But, it's close sousin, Easy Listening, is enjoyable. Muzac represents the lowest
common denominator in music, it was put there for purely commercial reasons;
either to get you to buy something, to shop longer, to be more productive, or to
be calming. Muzac has been around for about 70 years. It was invented to calm
people down who were riding the elevators in skyscrapers way back when, to help
them not be so afraid of the heights and of falling to their death. The rest is history,...
,...if you think the "Muzac concept" is history, you're mistaken. Enter the waiting
area of a restaurant, there's likely some upbeat tune playing in the background so
you won't mind (as much) waiting 15 minutes to be seated. Many "youth-targeted" stores
have some seductive tune playing at the entrance to draw people in (modern Muzac). I
feel sorry for the poor folks that work in the stores that play the endless Muzak loops,
especially at Christmas-time (Death by Muzac). Most Muzak is wordless and worthles,
VelveetaCheese of music.
But Easy Listening is a different story (links), even though it's an extension of the Muzac concept.
It's meant to set a mood, and the mood is usually romantic. I liken it to the kind of music
either to slow-dance to, or to hang out in a swanky lounge to. Dim the lights, pour some wine
or make a martini, grab a swizzle stick and enjoy. I listen to Easy Listening records all
When I listen to Muzac or "Easy Listening", there's the nostalgia factor. It's definitely
feel-good music. Follow the links up above to see "floating" album covers from a handful
of Easy Listening artists, many of them have web sites. Some of the artists I like quite a
bit, while others are not exactly favorites of mine,... but quite a variety.