Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'll Take a Tall, Non-Fat Joni

Cross-posted over at newcritics.

Hear Music, the record label owned by Starbucks has recently announced that Joni Mitchell will release her newly recorded album “Shine” in September of this year following in the footsteps of Paul McCartney. This has come as a shocking disappointment to some of her fans. Not this one.

Let’s face it. We boomers are no longer the main demographic of the MSM. We thought the 70’s would never end, and for some of us, they haven't. Many friends and acquaintances that came of age in the late 70’s and early 80’s still wallpaper their lives with the likes of Steve Miller, The Eagles and Wings either from their greatest hits CD’s or the ever-popular classic rock radio format. We think that Lenny Kravitz and The Black Crows are new bands. When an artist like Joni Mitchell releases a record, where would anyone beyond her most ardent fans even be alerted to its existence? Most 40-through-60-somethings spend more time at the doctor’s office than at the local record shop, and quite frankly, who can blame them? I recently wandered into an FYE (I was killing some time at the mall while my wife was towel and contact-paper shopping) and couldn’t endure more than five minutes of the nastiness that came oozing like napalm through the aisles. Some gangsta rapper was informing all of us in the store (in case we missed it) to his current condition (he was HORNY LIKE A ROCKSTAR!) ad nauseum. Indeed, had I been able to suffer that particular brand of voluntary torture for a few more minutes, it was doubtful that I would have found anything I’d be interested in anyway.

Where can I go to hear something new that I might actually like? Starbucks seems as good an answer as any I’ve heard in a while. Never mind the corporate greed that imbues every city and suburb here in The United Stores of Generica. Never mind the pretentious suit-clad investor-class wannabes that come in for a triple-non-fat-grande-mocha-sotte-voce-cafe-americano-frappacino in between cell-phone calls to their brokers, masseuses and bored spouses. Never mind the privilege of paying $3.79 + tax for .25 worth of over-roasted coffee, steamed milk and hot water. The fact is, I’m more apt to be there and hear a new Joni song than almost anywhere else I go, and this then, is a good thing.


Blogger Anita said...

a few months ago (or perhaps more), the music critic of The New Republic wrote a truly viscious review of the Starbuckization of music.

he mainly railed against the (easy listening) jazz compilations of such artists as miles davis. he seemed to imply there was a spoon feeding going on, in addition to a sinister corporatization of the works of 'the great masters.' there were letters to the editor written in response that said (and i paraphrase here of course), 'hey but at least people since they don't go to record stores any more, will be getting a taste of the greats and, if they are so inclined, will look for more.' i tend to agree that that might be the case.

yes, we can say it's sad that people's musical selections are being driven by starbucks, that the busy boomers are getting some of the froth but not a whole lot of the real stuff. but really, that's their own lazy fault.

consider this (something i heard anecdotally from a friend who manages a couple of artists whose music is being sold exclusively through starbucks): starbucks sells more copies of The New York Times than any other retail outlet in the U.S.

i, as many people are, am torn by the starbucks phenomenon. i always TRY to go to my local "muddy cup" or "clthonic cafe" but i always somehow end up at starbucks 7 out of 10 times i am out.

i say, "fight the power" ... or not.

7:55 AM  
Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Very well said.

9:17 AM  

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