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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

There’s an anxiety that overtakes me the moment I step into a department store or the like. Beyond the bright lights and hoards of people, I find myself most irritated with the music, whether blasting from overhead speakers or a mere whisper in the background. Either way, corporate music playlists drive me insane.

We’ve all heard songs on the radio that sound like “Forever 21” or “Gap” songs, and it’s never a positive association. Think about those cookie-cutter pop songs that sound indistinguishable from the previous, lyrics about “tonight” or something like that. Or worse–in my opinion, at least–covers of classics. In general, I am not a fan of covers, except for some special cases, like “The Man Who Sold the World” Nirvana rendition. I don’t want covers to sound like the original song, but I also don’t want to hear “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse sung in that whispery tone. You know what I’m talking about, right?

It’s even worse around Christmas time, especially considering that the only Christmas song I like is “Last Christmas” by Wham! which must be one of the most covered songs of all time because I heard six different covers over three hours.

Don’t make me hate “Last Christmas,” it’s all I have.

The word associated with “corporate music playlists” is “soulless.” They’re just songs that feel tailor-made for the monotony of walking to a store, trying clothes on, walking to a different store, trying more clothes on, walking to a different store…

When music is made for this easy consumption, for background noise, it ends up pushing out some cool and novel songs from the radio, or Spotify and Apple Music playlists. Yes, when a person goes looking for an artist or a particular vibe, they can find those hidden gems, but all of the gems shouldn’t be hidden, right?

As a person who listens to music not as commonly played, it can be hard to connect with people over music tastes, even though I love to do so. This isn’t a hit piece against pop music, just against those songs that everyone hears and immediately tunes out, maybe due to overplaying or how irrelevant it is. Things like the aforementioned Spotify and Apple Music help people find underground artists or underrated songs all the time. If only that same quality was shared with corporate music playlists, which would make a day of shopping far more enjoyable.

Eliza Disbrow

Washington '26

Eliza Disbrow is a sophomore at the University of Washington with a plan to major in European Studies with a double minor in Spanish and business. Eliza is a writer, covering a variety of topics, from music, to books, to anime. Beyond Her Campus, Eliza serves as the co-vice president of the University of Washington Euro Club. In her free time, Eliza can be seen taking in the sights of Seattle on any of the available forms of public transportation, normally with a book in hand and headphones in her ears. She plays guitar and bass, mainly as an excuse to play either Fall Out Boy or Ghost to family and friends.