Walk into a restaurant that is viewed as somewhat “hip,” “cool,” or “trendy,” and you’re likely to hear a pulsing background music that is some infernal cross-pollination of contemporary jazz and European house music. It’s never a tune you know – just a THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP – with layers of electronica providing a rhythmic counterpoint to the bassline. Go to Vivace (or frankly, any of the Urban Food Group restaurants), and it’s there. I remember when Charlie Deal invited me to the friends and family night of Grasshopper a couple years ago, and that’s what was playing – and on a very short loop, too. Loved the food, but I wanted to shove a chopstick in my frontal lobe to ease my harmonic pain. My oldest son and I have a running joke about this quasi-melodic phenomenon, calling it the “Trying Too Hard to Be Cool Music.” I can almost imagine Mike Meyer’s old Saturday Night Live character, Dieter, grooving to this sound.
So, I ask myself, why, oh why, is this dreck played? It’s techno-Muzak, as far as I’m concerned. I just couldn’t figure out why this music is so ubiquitous in restaurants. And then I asked my secretary, who is way cool, way young and stylish, and totally into electronic house music. She told me that it’s exactly the type of music she wants to hear when she’s having a drink or eating with friends. It IS hip and fashionable.
Damn, I’m old.