In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
(Allen Ginsberg, “A Supermarket In California”)
With the unfortunate invention of piped-in Muzak, background music has become a fixture of our daily lives in rather incongruous places. Getting our teeth cleaned in the dentist’s chair and waiting on hold on the telephone are examples that spring to mind. But surely the most annoying use for Muzak is in the supermarket. At all hours of day and night, shoppers gather under harsh fluorescent lights to scrutinize the potential contents of each other’s refrigerators. This dismal chore must be accomplished with the accompaniment of moldy oldies or bubblegum pop music so heinous that it makes the lettuce wilt in shame. There’s something about the supermarket’s neon artificiality and seductive consumerism that makes anyone on the periphery of society feel ill at ease. I was surprised and delighted to discover a mini-genre of what I call “supermarket ballads.” Imagine a hopped-up Iggy Pop or bleary Joe Strummer wandering around the local Save-A-Lot late at night, dazzled by the mirage of affluence and plenitude, lusting after suburban soccer moms and composing anguished yet hilarious masterpieces of alienation and commodification. It’s a safe bet you’ll never hear these songs over the loudspeakers while doing your grocery shopping, so download them now and remember to bring them along on your ipod.
The Clash - Lost in the Supermarket (Mp3)
Screeching Weasels - Supermarket Fantasy (Mp3)
Eugene McDaniels - Supermarket Blues (Mp3)
Lemonade Market - Supermarket Woman (Mp3)
Iggy Pop - Supermarket (Mp3)