Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Caribou Coffee music

Have you ever been in a Caribou Coffee shop?
...and, if so, have you ever noticed that "fake rock" and "fake pop" stuff they play?
I don't ever recognize any of the songs
...and who ARE those groups and performers anyway? They don't sound like anyone I would be familiar with.

"Hey, Alice, listen...
generic 'power pop'...SOUNDS like a mix of Boston, Foreigner, Journey...
Wow! Now it's generic 'folk rock'...nasal-tone singer...imitation 'Bob Dylan'...or 'Arlo Guthrie'...
NOW it's generic 'alternative rock'...that's probably NOT Edie Brickell... it's generic 'singer/songwriter' fluff...
OH MY!!! NOW it's generic 'country'
...generic 'lounge pop' now...
OH MY! Hear THAT Alice? 'Generic BLUES!'"

I have a theory about what "Caribou Coffee music" is:
These days all of the universities and colleges offer courses in pop music culture "Song Structure", "Jazz Structure and Composition", "Advanced Songwriting", and all other such "popular music" and "theory of rock and roll" type of courses. (Your fundamental "101" fare).
All genres of popular music are "branded", pigeonholed, formulaically dissected and analyzed technically and literally
...and with all this literal analysis the music itself becomes "material". It loses all of it's spirit and all of it's nuances---all the "invisible elements"---the elements which REALLY give it it's "life". The ones you DON'T see merely viewing it in the academic and materialistic sense.

So you have all these music students graduating after taking these courses embarking on at least a part-time career as singers and instrumentalists
...they're good enough at what they do---but most of them lack creativity and originality.  The best they can do is either play "cover versions" or imitate other people's styles.
They'd probably be good enough to play the local clubs---if nowadays the clubs haven't been taken over by the "DJs" (DJs now are completely different from the ones of 30 years ago---they don't simply play records anymore. They do what's called "scratching")

So where are all these sub-mediocre singers and players to go with all their training?
In comes a corporate coffee store who wants to provide their customers with the usual "background music", but are obviously quite "skinflint" when it comes to the matter of "copyright fees" apparently these guys build their own sound studios, hunt down a few desperate down-on-their-luck singers and musicians of "so-so" aptitude and, for a one-time fee, hire them to write and record a few of their own original compositions.
And since work is so hard to come by most of them will probably say "Yes" ...extra money in their pocket.

Anyway that's MY (as-of-yet unproven) hypothesis on what-the-hell this "Caribou Coffee music" must be
...and who-the-hell these people are who perform it.

Caribou Coffee:
Their own satellite radio network---featuring their own programming, their own "original music" played by their own corporate headquarter in-house bands and singers.
Their motto: "If you recognize any of the songs or any of the performers, then we must be doing something wrong".
"If you know it we won't play it." 

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