Spending Every Dime to Keep You Shopping in the Line: Grocery Story DJ
Many of my dreams jobs do not exist, and never will (or perhaps a few were made obsolete because of technology), and I get that, I’m a romantic but also a realist. Near the top of the list is Grocery Store DJ: I would love to compile market research on styles of music that make people hungry and combine it with the soft rock aesthetic that I so personally enjoy. Trips to the market or drugstore soothe me not just because of store brand pharmaceutical, delicious snacks, and visually pleasing aisles of colorful shapes, but also because of the jams that frequently get pumped in to set the scene. Snarky recently mentioned Jewel’s Intuition, and I hear that one a LOT while food shopping, along with the queen, Anita Baker (I’m not mad about that).
The grocery store where I regularly shop now has fancy hip muzak pumped in — I’ve heard Rufus Wainwright and The National come on while pricing salsas and breakfast cereals, which was a bit strange. And one grocery store chain lost my business because they only played Smokey Robinson frozen food commercials and a Melissa Etheridge cross-promotional song about how she is inspired to raise money for breast cancer or something, I don’t know, it was just overall distasteful and did not make me want to buy anything, despite having favorable opinions about both of those people. When I go to the grocery store, I instead want to be caught singing Hall and Oates simultaneously with a stranger as we come around the aisle.
So, because it may soon become an extinct experience, I decided to remember specific moments when favorite songs that were once lost for several years got returned to me because I was making my way down the aisles and heard their notes streaming through the fluorescent light glow.
Number one, with a bullet:
It was 3 am, I was standing in the drugstore aisle with a package of oreos and a box of uristat when I recognized the phrase “woman, don’t you know with you I’m born again.” This was pre-mp3 downloading, pre-every song is on youtube — it was the 90s, people — so I had to scour record bins to find it and was pretty unsuccessful for a few years, though my digging did eventually pay off. I think a week after finding it on vinyl, I downloaded it on limewire, to give you idea on how long it took. I repeated a similar cycle years later in trying to find the karaoke track. My friend Liza custom ordered it for us to sing it. (Yes, I have custom made karaoke discs, what?)
If I don’t hear this next song at the grocery store, I get a little concerned that armageddon is coming, because I’m nearly batting a thousand on it. I sing along every time. I like this newer live version because Patti Austin’s voice has gotten sexier and James is rocking some dapper tails.
My experiments have shown that this is the most popular Hall and Oates song for making you throw soup cans into your buggy.
This last video goes out to my patron saint of all grocery store jams, Anita Baker. She was recently skewered all over the internet for her off-key rendition of the American national anthem at the NBA finals, and look, it wasn’t fabulous. It was probably a poor decision on her part to accept the offer, given that she is a strong gorgeous alto and that song is well out of her range, but it wasn’t that terrible either, and c’mon, who cares in the grand scheme of things when we’ll always have Sweet Love?
Anita, you’ve had a rough go of it lately with your divorce this year, and I know you want to jump back into your career and start healing. Take your time, we’re here. Many of us wait ten years for Sade’s albums, I don’t mind doing the same for you if it means doing it right.
The rest of you: post what songs you hear all the time while food and drug shopping. Or what songs would make you want to eat and medicate more — I’m always doing research for my pretend careers.