You probably know by now that I’ve been getting into some pretty unusual things on YouTube, from videos about abandoned places, to videos in dead or dying shopping malls, to videos of vaporwave music, and my latest thing, recognizable music that sounds like it’s being played over the sound system in an empty shopping mall.
I know: “John, you’re crazy!” I mean, why would you want to listen to this stuff? Mall sound systems don’t exactly have the best fidelity, and playing songs in an empty mall creates a lot of echo. Even the best songs don’t sound really good with those conditions. However, listening to them this way creates an atmosphere: it brings you back to the days when you used to hang out at the mall, go into Tower Records and check out the CD’s and tapes, go see the crazy things they sell at Spencer Gifts, then grab some lunch, maybe a slice of pizza and a Coke at Sbarro or Chinese food at Panda Express before you browse the books at Waldenbooks and the clothes at American Eagle, not necessarily buying anything, because you didn’t go to the mall to shop, you went to hang out…
I told several of you this already, but when I was traveling, going to the mall in a strange city was a night’s entertainment for me. I didn’t need anything, and I wasn’t shopping, although I might go back to the hotel with a book or a crossword puzzle magazine. Somehow, eating dinner at a food court with twenty or so other people scattered around at different tables made it not seem quite as lonely. By the time I’d go home, it was 9:30 or so and it would be close to bedtime.
There are several producers (I guess you’d call them) who have worked out this art form. Most of the videos I’m going to share with you were created by a YouTube user named Cecil Robert, who has a whole playlist of the “empty mall” videos he’s created. He has another playlist of songs that sound like they’re playing in the next room, and lately he’s been making videos of songs as heard from outside a club.
If you get a chance, read some of the comments that people have left behind on these videos. One of the comments I read on the first video talked about liminal space, a threshold between something that just concluded and before you face whatever is going to happen next. It’s an emotional stage, bringing up all kinds of different feelings: melancholy, nostalgia, peace, and feelings you can’t quite put a finger on. See what you feel as you listen to these; I’d be interested to hear your reactions to these.
I’m just going to give you the names of the songs here.
- Toto, “Africa”
- Tears For Fears, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”
- The Plice, “Every Breath You Take”
- Billy Joel, “Piano Man”
- Simple Minds, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
- Lipps Inc., “Funky Town”
- The Beach Boys, “God Only Knows”
- a-ha, “Take On Me”
- ABBA, “Dancing Queen”
- Blondie, “Heart Of Glass”
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for July 1, 2019.