Thursday, September 15, 2011

Music at the Grill House: My Current top 50

So I started to think about what kind of music we will be playing at the restaurant today. Music sets a certain tone for a place, and as much as decor it can add or subtract from the experience of dining. So the questions you have to ask are; What do you want the music to say about the place? How does it affect the dining experience? What music is your target crowd comfortable with, and what are they not comfortable with? Lastly this is a place I have to spend a lot of time, what type of music can I stand to listen to day in and day out?

So the first thing to consider is what we want the music to say about the restaurant, and how does it add to the atmosphere we are trying to create? We are a Grill House with an American theme, or at least a very western theme. If I want to speak to western music than I have several options; rock, country, blues, pop, etc. It rules out hindi pop and the like which you hear on the streets of Kathmandu. I want it to feel like that when you get out of the elevator and step through the door you've stepped out of Nepal and into a western country. The fact that it's a grill house, in my mind rules out pop and dance tracks as well. It's not a club, and it's not for teeny boppers- a grill house asserts a certain amount of testosterone and masculinity something pop and R&B lack.

This brings us to rock, country and blues. I'm passing on country due to my unfamiliarity with the genre as well as the lack of it's appeal to the world at large outside the US. The tricky thing with western rock is that it can be loud abrasive and can often contain explicit content which in my opinion would distract more than add to the atmosphere of the restaurant. While I don't want elevator music, I want it to be heard, I just don't want it to distract, and thus the selection of which songs to play should try and avoid anything too caustic with overdrawn guitar solos, odd noises and inappropriate language. To show the sheer diversity of this genre though I really would like to try and grab singles that span through the the last 40 years or so covering everything from acoustic to electronica to fusion.

What about the crowd at the restaurant, what are they comfortable with? Well foreigners will recognize and be fairly comfortable with at least half of the list if not more, I picked almost entirely from songs that achieved some degree of commercial success. For many foreigners from English speaking (and often non-English speaking) countries these will be songs that they can recall growing up with, or listening to back home in the not too distant past. For people from the subcontinent it will be a mixed bag, and they have a tendency to like pop over rock, though I think the novelty and authenticity of it may play well. I do have some worries that older Indian ladies may not like it, but then they are a small segment of our focus, and you can't please everyone.

Without further rambling here is the list I came up with today to work as a guide for a soundtrack in alphabetical order:

American Pie (Don McLean)
Anthem (Rush)
Around Here (Counting Crows)
Back in the Saddle (Aerosmith)
Black Hole Sun (Sound Garden)
California Dreaming (Mamas & Papas)
Cochise (Audio Slave)
Come As You Are -Unplugged (Nirvana)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)
Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins)
Don't Stand so Close to Me (The Police)
Dust in the Wind (Kansas)
Even Flow (Pearl Jam)
Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone)
Everything in its Right Place (Radio Head)
Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Free Fallin (Tom Petty)
Gloria (Van Morrison)
Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
Hotel California (Eagles)
Hurricane (Bob Dylan)
Imagine (John Lenon)
Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots)
Kashmir (Led Zeplin)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
Lazy Eye (Silver Sun Pickups)
Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet)
Nothing Else Matters  (Metallica)
One (U2)
Paint it Black (Rolling Stones)
Parabola (Tool)
People are Strange (The Doors)
Rocket Man (Elton John)
Rockin in the Free World (Neil Young)
Sleep Now in the Fire (Rage Against the Machine)
Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple)
Smooth (Santana)
Society (Eddie Vedder)
Southern Cross  (CS&N)
Steady As She Goes (The Raconteurs)
Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
Sweet Child o' Mine (Guns n' Roses)
Three Libras (A Perfect Circle)
Uprising (Muse)
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
When I Ruled the World (Coldplay)
Wish You Were Here (Incubus)
Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)

There are a few songs on here that are required of any overseas location with expats, namely Hotel California, and though I think it may be a bit cliche, I had to include it. One of my larger concerns is the almost complete lack of female artists, aside from Fleetwood Macs Landslide there isn't a female voice to be found. I wracked my brain to come with some options that would be their for their musical quality and not just token chick bands but I came up blank. Aretha Franklin, Hole, Portis Head, or Dusty Springfield's Son of  a Preacher Man, all occurred to me as top contenders but either seemed out of place or in the case of Hole- just second rate. Maybe a reader can shoot some suggestions, in fact I'd love any suggestions from anyone who would like to comment. To be honest, I stopped caring at all about music some time around ten years ago, and aside from listening to it when I go running or anything athletic I couldn't be bothered to put it on. So,  as I'm certainly not the expert any thoughts from others is certainly welcome.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to find some fitting songs in the repertoire of Regina Spektor. Otherwise, maybe K's Choice?


Related Posts with Thumbnails