"Officially Appropriate Emotions"

Andrew Sullivan quotes an old Atlantic article on the soundtracking of our public spaces:

“Perhaps it was Hollywood that taught us to expect life to come with background music, a constant melodic commentary on the movie of our lives. But we are soundtracked nowadays with relentless demands for only the most obvious and officially appropriate emotions. You should be as bright and bubble-gummy as the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” when you shop for a new pair of blue jeans. You ought to be as sophisticatedly ironic as Frank Sinatra’s “They’ve Got an Awful Lot of Coffee in Brazil (The Coffee Song)” when you go out to eat. There’s something wrong if you aren’t as moody and melancholy as the Cowboy Junkies’ whispery version of “Sweet Jane” when you sit in a midtown bar.”

For the record, I love that version of Sweet Jane. But I don’t know if that makes it okay that it’s piped in to where I’m shopping. There’s that first moment of perhaps elation, that a song I like has been given a stamp of approval by some (probably well-paid) soundtrack playlist producer. But then I can’t help feeling that putting that song on the playlist does damage to the very same song.