Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong; Revised and Expanded Edition

Capa
University of Michigan Press, 26 de jan. de 2004 - 329 páginas
It's campy, it's cool, empty, intrusive, trite, and treacly. It's Big Brother singing. Call it what you will -- elevator music, Moodsong ® easy listening, or Muzak ®. For a musical genre that was supposed to offend no one, it has a lot of enemies.
Musical cognoscenti decry its insipid content; regular folk -- if they notice -- bemoan its pervasiveness; while hipsters and campsters celebrate its retro chic. Mindful of the many voices, Joseph Lanza's Elevator Music sings seriously, with tongue in cheek, the praises of this venerable American institution.
Lanza addresses the criticisms of elites who say that Muzak and its ilk are dehumanized, vapid, or cheesy. These reactions, he argues, are based more on cultural prejudices than honest musical appraisal.
Says Lanza, today's so-called mood music is the inheritor of a long tradition of mood-altering music stretching back to the ancients; Nero's fiddle and the sirens of Odysseus being two famous examples. Contemporary atmospheric music, Lanza argues, not only serves the same purpose, it is also the inevitable background for our media-dominated age.
One of Lanza's premises, to quote Mark Twain, is that this music is "better than it sounds." "This book will have succeeded in its purpose," he writes, "if I can help efface...the distinction between one person's elevator music and another's prized recording."
Joseph Lanza is an author, producer, and music historian. His most recent book is Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique.
 

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ELEVATOR MUSIC: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong

Comentário do usuário  - Kirkus

Philosophy and history of American background music by pop- culture historian Lanza (Fragile Geometry, 1991—not reviewed). Lanza focuses on a variety of different types of what he calls ``moodsong ... Ler resenha completa

LibraryThing Review

Comentário do usuário  - quietbliss - LibraryThing

A book that delves into the history of muzak. It's one of those areas of culture that is unavoidably pervasive and intrusive, yet most people say they just tune it out. The questions I always have are ... Ler resenha completa

Conteúdo

1 Probing the JellO
1
Mood Musics Antiquity
6
3 The Canned AvantGarde
14
The Birth of Muzak
22
Mood Music and Early Radio
31
6 Ghosts in the Elevator
38
Background Music in the Movies
55
8 The Moodiest Years on Record
67
The Rise of EasyListening FM
167
12 Violins from Space
183
13 Metarock
194
14 Elevator Noir
208
15 Whos Hearing Things?
216
16 The New Sound of 1984
222
Channeling the Phantom Band
230
Revised Expanded Annotated and Selective Discography
243

Illustrations
132
The 101 Strings and Mystic Moods Orchestra
133
10 Walls Talk
148
Bibliography
305
Index
317
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