Reviewing the music playlist from my old job
A deep dive into my psyche as a 17–19 year old footwear sales associate and the music that played in the store
As many American teenagers I worked in retail while I was in high school and in my first year of college and the experience wasn’t exactly amazing to say the least. I made almost no money and in my two years of employment only received a raise of 38 cents, bumping my hourly wage from $8/hour to $8.38/hour. I did work with some great people though and I suppose that made the experience worthwhile.
One thing that stands out in my mind whenever I look back on it was the generic music that played over the speakers of the store. Every time I walk into another retail store and hear songs that remind me of it I’m thrusted right back into those footwear shelves once again, stacking and straightening boxes.
The music wasn’t really appealing to me but eventually as you stand there throughout your shift you find solace in the few songs you did enjoy in the repertoire. I don’t have the full playlist of songs so I have to go off of my memory for this one. So, let’s dive right in to this list as I review the songs I remember from my old job.
One Republic: “All The Right Moves” & “Stop And Stare”
I remember “All the Right Moves” being one of the songs in the playlist that annoyed me the most but I didn’t know OneRepublic also did “Stop And Stare.” Both songs were pretty wack to me but the former was probably the dumbest sounding one to me because I hated how high dudes voice sounded on “All the right friends in all the right places, so yeah we’re going down” or whatever he sang. God it was so stupid. I think this band is just as bland and boring as Imagine Dragons even though they’ve been around longer.
Ellie Goulding: “Lights”
I actually kind of enjoyed this song when it came on back then. It wasn’t bad and at least had some sort of pulse to it, plus I thought Ellie Goulding’s vocals were actually decent. I can’t say my opinion of the song has improved but it hasn’t deteriorated that’s for sure.
Corinne Bailey Rae: “Put Your Records On”
This song was alright, decent singing, got you in your feelings a little bit. Definitely not a favorite of mine but in the quiet moments on the sales floor I’d hear this and tap my foot a little. Corinne Rae Bailey was also kind of cute to me, just sayin’.
Stone Temple Pilots: “Plush” & “Interstate Love Song”
Another 90s alternative haven amidst the sea of poppy bile that the playlist would continuously spew out. When either of these songs came on I’d usually sing along even though STP isn’t my favorite band ever. I definitely think they were just as good as the other grunge bands they used to get lumped in with. “Interstate Love Song” is actually a favorite of mine and “Plush” is probably one of the most instantly recognizable guitar riffs from the 90s.
Semisonic: “Closing Time”
Okay picture this: the store closes at 9pm and it’s currently 8:58 and this song comes on. Absolutely priceless. This isn’t a bad song to hear amongst the bubbly crap that came on throughout the evening even without the gimmick of playing at closing time.
Verve: “Bittersweet Symphony”
I guess it really was a bittersweet symphony for these guys knowing they broke up immediately after this song. This one I was always kind of indifferent about, it wasn’t that great of a song but it was a welcome one I suppose. Definitely not the one I was looking for though you know?
Imagine Dragons: “Radioactive” & “I Bet My Life”
This is where my hatred for this band came from, just from hearing these two songs nearly every shift. I swear there were even more Imagine Dragon’s songs on the playlist but I just can’t remember them at the moment. Just an awful awful sound this band has and I had to deal with them while trying to sling shoes to people. It was a dark time in my life.
Nelly Furtado: “I’m Like A Bird”
This song was kind of sappy to me but I didn’t mind hearing it I suppose. There were plenty of times where my coworkers, if I was ever lucky enough to be scheduled with someone in footwear that night, and I would over exaggerate singing this song to each other. It made for some fun.
This song got old very very quickly. I thought it was okay the first few times I heard it, it kind of brought the mood down a bit and was decent background music but after while I started noticing when it came on and decided I didn’t like it anymore. I think I remember some of my coworkers sharing the sentiment. Muse is not a good band in my eyes.
Sugar Ray: “Fly”
It’s just so 90s it hurts. My opinion of this song has greatly deteriorated over the years. I will say I liked it back when I was working there but now I kind of don’t. Sugar Ray had better songs. I think there were some on the playlist but I don’t remember.
No Doubt: “Just A Girl” & “Don’t Speak”
“Don’t Speak” is the better song and you all know it. In all seriousness I wasn’t a huge fan of No Doubt, I don’t think anyone really is anymore, but I guess these were songs I could at least bare with when they came on. I was really into punk rock at the time so anything that came close was satisfactory.
Jordin Sparks: “Battlefield”
This song actually kicks ass. Good vocals, lotta heart. I’m not a huge fan and some times it did get a little tiresome hearing the repeated “Battlefield” chorus. Despite all of this I didn’t mind when it came on.
Santana & Alex Band: “Why Don’t You & I”
I think it’s kinda hilarious that this was always the version of the song that played on the radio rather than the one with Chad Kroeger from Nickleback. I mean this is the version I’ve heard more, maybe I’m wrong. Either way both songs a re awful.
This song was EVERYWHERE back then and tried to make the most mundane things seem epic. You can’t make walking through your local mall sound epic unless you’re Paul fucking Blart. If you actually listen closely to the whole song you can see how boring it truly is.
Fun.: “We Are Young” & “Some Nights”
The only good thing about these guys was they put Janelle Monáe on the first song. It was pretty funny seeing them just fade away after these two smash hits. I hated this band so much because they were everywhere in 2012–2013, I knew it was temporary because a band like this just doesn’t have any longevity but the time dragged on so slowly. It was painful.
Blind Melon: “No Rain”
I’ve gone through a weird tug and pull with this song whenever it came on. One day I liked it then the next day I didn’t like it and vice versa. It was weird but I think now I can honestly say this song is a classic and I do enjoy it whenever I hear it.
Train: “Hey, Soul Sister” & “Drops of Jupiter”
I’m sure this joke has been done before but I’m going to utilize it myself for the first time in my own printed history: hearing these songs made me want to jump in front of a train. Also, Pat Monahan looks far too old to be making this kind of fucking music. It’s just too cute for a dude in his 40s, now 50s, to be making. Hang it up dude.
Dave Matthews Band: “The Space Between”
Didn’t know this song was by the Dave Matthews Band. If I did I probably would have liked it even less back then.
John Mayer: “Daughters” & “Waiting On the World to Change”
Never really cared for John Mayer, “Daughters” was kind of creepy sounding song in my opinion. “Waiting On The World to Change” was an okay an inclusion on the playlist but it wasn’t doing it any favors. Overall these just elicited an “eh” from me whenever they came on.
Oasis: “Wonderwall” & “Champagne Supernova”
Obviously the two of the best songs on the playlist. It’s Oasis for fucks sake. In all seriousness I’m not a huge Oasis fan but I can admit I like these songs. I will say I like “Champagne Supernova” more so than “Wonderwall” only because the latter is so overplayed.
Matchbox 20: “Unwell”
Like the Dave Matthews song I didn’t know this was a Matchbox 20 song when I used to hear it back then. I just heard it as another generic pop song and didn’t care to find out who did it. I guess it’s an okay song overall but I can’t really form an opinion on it.
This is hands down the weirdest song included on the entire playlist. I do not know who wanted it on there or why, the only one I can find is someone who played the game “Robot Unicorn Attack” fooled someone into adding this to it. I always thought it was the weirdest sounding track anytime it came on, it’d usually result in me and my coworker both staring at each other in confusion. It just sounds so 80s but this came out in 1994. This playlist was so strange.
In conclusion, the playlist that was at my old job was fucking weird as hell. I suppose a lot of the eclectic choices is due to the fact that the store existed from the 90s all the way through to the 2010s, that’s why it kept songs from all those decades. I can’t say I loved any of the songs on it, I definitely didn’t find any favorites that I listen to repeatedly. Over the years though anytime I hear any of these songs they do bring back a lot of memories of that place and the people I worked with there. Hopefully they enjoy reading this.