In an effort to have more posts in a single calendar month since the frigid, truncated month of February, I present to you, the hypothetical reader, an in-depth analysis of the music played at the department store known as Kohl's.
Re: Absurdity and obscurity of this post, consider me a recently-liberated employee of the reasonably-priced clothing store. Having just finished my last day before my next endeavor (i.e., studying abroad in Italy. i.e., if humanly possible, even less updates than now!), I couldn't help but reflect on the music that the store selectively played.
Perhaps a slice of unimportant minutiae for some (read: typical) employees, also consider me an atypical employee. I took careful notice of the music every day I was forced into this working establishment. It really wasn't all that careful of notice, however, since the store recycles its songs essentially every day, just in some different order. Y'know, to keep shit fresh, yo.
YES, THAT MEANS I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HEAR NICKELBACK EVERY TIME I WORKED! Better yet, because of the seemingly randomized nature of the playlist, it was always such a pleasant surprise to hear Chad's dulcet tones out of the blue. Indeed, a breath of fresh air from all of the other shit.
Of course, I jest, I could never take a Nickelback joke quite that far. As expected for a family-oriented, PG-rated, well-established department store like Kohl's, all of the songs are inoffensive and relatively tame in both musical and lyrical nature. God forbid they offend any of their dedicated clientele, which could accurately be summed up as a majority of "middle-aged housewives in varying shapes and sizes." Alas, that means none of Nickelback's better cuts, like "Animals" or their more recent couldn't-be-more-obvious sexual romp "Something In Your Mouth", were played ad nauseum. It was more along the lines of their "attempt to be crossover and adult contemporary."
Think for a second. Nickelback, who can't even do their main genre any justice whatsoever, attempting to do adult contemporary. Let that sink in. Then, realize I had to hear one or two of these gems every fucking day. If you couldn't tell, I don't like them all that much.
Moving on, because God knows I could blab about those Canadians forever (they don't even have flappy heads, the assholes.) To sum up so far, yes, they played a share of generic, throwaway adult contempo shit that truly was forgettable and unnoticeable. I think it's a requirement. Can't have music that distracts the precious customer from the pseudo-deals over which they're salivating.
Although debatable, I'm not entirely a cynical asshole. There actually were some bright spots in the redundant radio. There were a few tolerable '90s jams, for one. Sugar Ray's breakthrough hit "Fly" could be heard in the store. Unfortunately, it was the utterly neutered version without Super Cat. Is a quasi-rapping black dude too offensive for Kohl's? Like, really? I guess this version is actually on the studio album, but I had never heard it before. Again, "neutered" really sums up the track well. As does flaccid. Other '90s songs making the presitigious Kohl's cut were Matchbox 20's ubiquitous "3 a.m.", No Doubt's "Just A Girl", Barenaked Ladies' magnum opus "One Week", and OMC's "How Bizarre." That last one there. What a treat.
In general, though, most of the songs were relatively recent, and a couple were actually solid. One of my favorite songs of 2009, "Daniel" by Bat For Lashes, for whatever fucking reason, infiltrated the monotony of Kohl's radio and truly and quite literally was a bright spot, considering the job and other songs. My Morning Jacket's "Thank You Too" was there too, but to be honest, it's not their best song by any means, and upon first hearing it, I did a double-take, thinking it was just another shitty AM radio classic. "Walking on a Dream", by Empire of the Sun, a random song I don't mind, is also there, and totally out of place, as well.
It's been shot, castrated and ripped apart for a few years now, but Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" is too classic to say it sucks, and clearly one of the best songs in Kohl's rotation. A brain dead DJ could think of "Crazy", but "Daniel"? Baffling, I really wish I knew the qualifications for songs played there.
A trifecta of Coldplay songs made its way to the Kohl's radio waves: "Yellow", "Viva La (fucking) Vida" and surprisingly "Life in Technicolor II". Like Gnarls, Coldplay is an obvious safe bet. "Life in Technicolor II" was certainly a pleasant surprise and choice among the Coldplay songs. The good news: Weezer is on there, too. The disappointing news: It's "Island in the Sun". I have absolutely nothing wrong with it. But, Jesus, could you imagine "We Are All On Drugs"? Although, considering the no-balls version of "Fly" eluded to earlier, it would probably be the awful music video edit.
In order to pass time (ahem), I utilized one of my favorite discoveries of the year: Verizon's Song ID app. It's a totally free application and it is free to use, and it tells you the title, artist and album of a song playing at any given moment. Impressively, it picked up the songs from the Bose speakers overhead, so I could put a name to the songs I loathed so much.
In reality, I discovered three songs worth illegally downloading from the cyclical song list, and two of them are borderline "well, they're not awful" choices (Ben Lee and Jem). The third is pretty legit and another head-scratcher, Iggy Pop's "The Passenger", from all the way back in 1977, much more elderly than anything else being spun.
Then, there was Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry", essentially negating any positives that could have been ascertained.
To wrap this bullshit up, for every halfway decent song, there were about four bad-to-awful ones, and even the decent songs that you'd look forward to among the sea of horseshit would start to deteriorate in quality because you'd hear them every fucking day.
I do not anticipate ever returning to Kohl's as an employee, unless it is to specifically hijack their satellite radio. So concludes my mind-numbingly excruciating analysis on the most bogglingly random topic about which a music blog could babble. Sorry to waste your time. We return you to your regularly-scheduled hiatus, already in progress.
/Breaking the fourth wall in every post like it's my job