I am a big fan of most types of music.
I am not really sure if there was a eureka moment that made me such a lover of music or if it was a more gradual exposure and realization. Whatever the reason behind it, the music bug has certainly stuck.
I worked as a music critic for several years and there was nothing quite as fun as getting that big package of CD’s from the record company each week. Some of the music was good and some was definitely not. But those packages from the record label definitely exposed me to music that I might not otherwise have discovered.
I am also a firm believer that music needs to fit the environment to be the most effective. Otherwise, the music can be a distraction and take away from the experience.
When I am listening to my iPod I have certain playlists for certain moods. There is the fast working out list, and the unwinding at the end of a long day list, etc.
I love going to hear the symphony, although I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I would like. And of course I also enjoy going to sporting events. Each of those areas have their own type of music that people expect when they go there.
When I am at the symphony I want to hear the brass and the strings. When I go to the game I want to hear the organ playing “charge.” Try to picture the reverse and it just doesn’t fit.
The same goes for one’s experience in a restaurant.
While I don’t think that every Italian restaurant needs to play a constant loop of Frank Sinatra songs as many seem to do, I agree that there is certain music that helps fit an Italian atmosphere.
The same can be said for Mexican restaurants. There is a certain Mexican restaurant that I frequent at least once a week that plays authentic Mexican music. As an added bonus at Christmas time they even play Mexican Christmas carols.
Does the fact that they play Mexican music alone make their food taste better than a restaurant that plays easy listening? No, of course not. But by paying attention to the little details like choice of music it makes me think that they are paying more attention to details in the kitchen as well.
Speaking of easy listening, one of my biggest pet peeves are restaurants that phone it in by playing the easy listening radio station instead of a CD or other playlist or satellite music service.
By simply turning on the radio and allowing commercials for their competitors to be potentially played in their own establishment it shows a lack of attention that causes me to wonder about what other corners they may be cutting.
To be fair not every restaurant that plays the radio is guaranteed to have bad food but they are taking away a part of the diner’s experience.
There is a local Pho restaurant that I enjoy going to that plays the easy listening station instead of more traditional instrumental music, like one would find at many other restaurants of the same type. Every time I am there and here the soft rock classics it distracts me from what I feel I should be hearing while eating that type of food.
Musical faux pas in restaurants are not limited to the piped in music variety either.
I have recently rediscovered my love of live, local music. Fortunately for me, there is no shortage of venues nearby that provide that.
Name a genre of music and chances are there is a barbecue joint, coffee house or other establishment nearby that has a band performing that type of music.
As a cautionary tale though, just because a restaurant has a stage it doesn’t mean that the music being played there will compliment the meal.
Case in point, while eating a delicious Greek salad and gyro plate last weekend at a Mediterranean restaurant I was serenaded by a one man band playing various James Taylor and John Denver tunes.
The man did a very good job on the songs and I was quite scared by how many of them I recognized. But, the east meets west food versus music combination hit some sour notes and left me far from being on a rocky mountain high or being in the mood to shout Opa!.
So, perhaps this stance makes me a music snob and one could argue that music is music no matter where it is played and food is food. Hard to say, what I do know is the affect music can have on me and the more the environment and the music compliment each other the happier I am.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go call my parents and let them know where they can hear some John Denver tunes while eating some Gyro.
Copyright 2013 R Anderson