Drinking Coffee to Write Articles about Music to Drink Coffee to

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The following article is rather a lament than an essay.

First precondition: I love to spend my spare time in coffee-houses. It is not only about the coffee, the whole atmosphere inspires me. I use the time to chat, draw, read or write something and to also take part in social life. How developed a coffee-house-culture of a country is, shows much about the style a sociotope is designed. A more detailed article on the coffee-house and its importance I published some time ago.

Second precondition: As you know, I am very specific about music, which means, it matters to me. There is a lot of music out there, which I don’t like at all, and there is some, which I adore. I try to escape the shiny world of pop whenever I can.

The dilemma: I cannot avoid being exposed to superficial pop-music while sitting in a coffee-house. This really bugs me. Okay, there might be some old-school ones without any background sound (like many Viennese coffee-houses) and some play classical music. But they are rare nowadays.

The radios seem to play always the same 20 songs, in no particular order. Additionally, more and more coffee-houses have now one, two, three screens, where a video is played to the music, which worsens the dilemma even more, as I cannot even escape the music visually.

I have to admit that I got used to most of the pop songs played up and down and to death not only in coffee-houses, but bars, shops, elevators etc. I hardly can distinguish them from each other. From time to time a really ridiculous lyrics line catches my attention and makes me cry smile or laugh, lines like “all that she wants is another baby, yeha” (Ace of Base), “I’m trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful: Damn you’re a sexy bitch” (Guetta), and “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier” (The Killers).

But, there are certain songs that cause me physical pain. First and foremost this is “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night” by Black Eyed Peas. Never-ever could I forgive them for what they did to my well-being. With this atrocity of a song I discovered the five stages of being traumatised by music:

04 1.) Surprise (“Oh my god, what is that now? And why do people do as if they liked it?”)

12 2.) Disgust (“If I hear this song only once more I will vomit!”)

03 3.) Despair (“Why me? Why do they always play that when I am here?”)

10 4.) Capitulation (“Okay, Earth is so big, there must be also place for me AND this song…”)

5.) Confrontation (“I definitely have a trauma from this song. I am facing it and will be writing an article about this song, just to show THAT IT REALLY DISGUSTS ME!”)

If you don’t know this song, please, do NOT go to YouTube now and listen to it. The consequences cannot be foreseen!

There is another of these painful songs, I didn’t really know how it is called, but today I found out over YouTube. It is “Somebody that I Used to Know” by Gotye (feat. Kimbra). There is a naked guy (a Wiki-research showed that this must be Gotye, not Kimbra) with such an annoying voice (for the refrain). He seems to imitate Peter Gabriel’s voice, but doesn’t make it quite right, and sends me instead a chill through marrow and bones.

All this made me think a lot about how music is put onto scene nowadays. What’s it worth, when we are exposed to it at every possible occasion of our daily lives? Aren’t we already so over-saturated by the ever-same music? Of course, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and there is no accounting for taste. But, that everyone has the choice to listen only to the music he/she likes is simply not true, unless you live in a cave. At least now I understand the feeling a non-smoker must have in a smoking bar.

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About André Savetier

Since 2011 André Savetier is actively working as a music journalist with an expertise on contemporary new wave music phenomena. His scientific specialization is anthropology of music and anthropology of popular culture. Savetier remains intrigued by the interplay between the aforementioned social phenomena, the told (and untold) legends of music and its roots.

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