Yesterday, I was eating lunch at On the Border with my husband. For some reason, I had this nagging feeling that something was different about the restaurant since we had last been there, but I could not put my finger on it. I took a good look around and noticed that one of the walls was painted a very pleasant shade of blue and was decorated with clay sun-happy-faces, each illuminated with its own personal spot light. I asked my husband it that was new. He didn’t know. Then I had this familiar feeling — what’s with the Banana Republic music in here. Which led me ponder why a Mexican restaurant would want to have the look and feel of the Banana Republic and then, what exactly is the Banana Republic sound?
Music is everywhere it seems, with the exception of work. I guess, though, at work some of us filll in the silence with our own soundtracks pumped in through earbuds and headphones from personal MP3 players or our computers. Only recently, though, does it feel that the ambient music at a place is as much about brand as the company’s logo. Thinking about the Banana Republic sound, here’s what comes to mind: Imogen Heap’s “Loose Ends” and the Geico Caveman song. Ah yes, the Cave man song … you all know the one. It’s played at the airport where the caveman is on the moving sidewalk and wincing at a bad caveman poster. Anyhow, it seems to me that Banana Repblic sound is at the light side of electronica with a distinctly feminine feel (I’m not quite sure what makes me say that, but it is what I feel). What’s more is that this music seems to be very in-tune with me, so much so as to prompt me to buy Imogen Heap CDs. Obviously the winner here is Imogen Heap and her record company. But what about the Banana Republic? Does it prompt me to buy clothes? I suppose it’s a matter of providing a comfortable environment for me to shop with music that says this store is for me — it works at a very emotional level. Oppositely, I’m repelled by music that is pumped in a store that sounds teenagely-poppy — say like Albecromie Fitch. Automatically, my brain says, you’re too old for that. However, I have observed shoppers my age and older in there. Perhaps they are longing to still be very young … hmm. Sadly, enough, the sound imminating from that store has kept me from entering, so I have no idea what kind of clothes they even sell.
It seems to me a lot of thought goes into music selection at some stores and I wonder about those people who spend their time crafting the playlists each week for these stores. Is this a paid position? Can I get this job? Is this a service provided? Satelite radio or a CD from corporate? Hmm … And then there’s the local Marie Callender which seems to have some jokester creating their soundtrack. I’ve heard such woeful songs as the Cransberry “Linger” and a few songs from “Jagged Little Pill.” The music is soft, but it doesn’t exactly feel homey and warm.
What about your personal soundtrack? How is that part of your personal brand identity?
Here are my most recently played songs on my iPod:
Glamorous (Fergie), Heretic (Trinity Blood Soundtrack), Neko-Mimi Mode (Tsukiyomi Moon Phase Soundtrack), SOS (Rhianna), U & Me (Cassie), Sow into You (Roisin Murphy), Do it (Nelly Furtado), and GBI — German Bold Italic (Towa Tei)
I sorta feel I’m too close to the subject to figure out what my music says about me. Obviously, there is something to the “Jen Brister” brand, because those that are close to me can pick out songs that sound very “Jen Brister” instantly. That is what my husband said of the music played at On the Border yesterday, and yes, it was quite true. BTW: My favorite song is Bjork’s “HyperBallad” followed closely by America’s “Horse with no Name” — for those of you who know the songs, make of it what you will :).