I don’t know where I was specifically — in a restaurant, maybe, or a mall clothing store — but I do know that’s where I heard “Love’s a Real Thing” by the Super Eagles.
Never heard of the Super Eagles? No reason you would. They’re from Gambia, for one thing, and had their greatest success in the ’60s and ’70s.
And yet here I was, hearing this catchy tune in the most unlikely place: a public place.
(Quick update: My wife tells me we heard it at Osteria La Buca on Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue.)
It’s not the first time I’ve been taken with a song that aired over the speakers at some store. (Mostly) gone are the days of syrupy Muzak, when you’d be subjected to inoffensive versions of “Cecilia” in a clothing shop. Now I hear songs I never would have discovered otherwise — at Starbucks, at Kroger (!), at hole-in-the-wall boutiques and restaurants. Sometimes these places are running a satellite radio channel from SiriusXM; other times they’re airing some employee’s Spotify playlist or old CD collection.
Ironically, the one place I never hear anything surprising is on terrestrial radio (with the occasional exceptions of college stations or the rare independent). Which is why I long ago gave up on terrestrial radio, at least here in the Atlanta market.
But still, I’m glad. Between iTunes and streaming services, we now have access to millions of songs. Thanks to a combination of human curators, clever algorithms (which aren’t as clever as humans) and Shazam, I’m able to listen to — and download — songs that may never have crossed my radar a few years ago.
Don’t take it for granted, kids. You’re living in a world of amazing artistic access.