Home > Music > On-hold music with a meaning?

On-hold music with a meaning?

I’ve been having an ongoing tiff with my bank. Because I don’t want to besmirch a global financial services company to the two dozen people who read my blog, I won’t give their name. But it sounds kinda like “Watch ova ya.” (Which my wife actually thought was the connotation the bank was going for. That, my friends, would have been spooky)

Anyhoo, the good people at… let’s go with Namless Banking Conglomorate… stopped sending my wife and I montly statements about two months ago. I called to inquire about this, and they mentioned that they had the wrong address. I gave them the right one, and you’d think everything was cool, huh? Nope, called again, and my record was flagged as “not wanting mailed statements.” OK… told the guy that wasn’t true, and all was well. Allegedly.

Well, my wife mentioned this weekend that they STILL weren’t coming by, so I called again a few minutes ago. After punching “0” on the phone repeatedly to get a live operator, I found myself on hold. The song? “Back Stabbers” by the O’Jays. Now, NOBODY loves a good O’Jays tune like me. Even a Musak version. Well, that’s not true, but I was able to shut out the lame symphonic rendition with the funkier one in my head. Kinda like musical self-inflicted brainwashing.

But, think about it… I’m talking to the company that administers the few hundred dollars that I have to spend in this world. And I hear “Back Stabber” when I’m on hold? It’s like when Homer Simpson called to report that his daughter, Maggie, was lost, and they played “Baby Come Back” while on hold. If there is any relationship that is in need of zero back-stabbing, it’s the bank. I’m still reeling about the time when Nameless Banking Conglomorate merged with that other bank, which I’ll refer to as First Onion. Damn corporate fat cats.

There is a good side of this story, however. Beside the fact that the customer service dude said that my statement should be coming in the next few days (if you believe that, make sure to catch all those straight male figure skaters on the Olympics tonight), I typed in the O’Jays into the allmusic.com site as I was waiting. The All Music Guide is like IMDB for music. And, oh, what I found about this song.

“Back Stabber” was on the same album as “Love Train.” What a great album. But, why couldn’t I hear “Love Train” instead when calling Nameless Banking Conglomorate? It made me think… what other songs would be good choices to hear on hold with your bank. Short list, I’m thinking:

* “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg. Sure, it glorifies getting f**ked up on a mixture of gin, juice and a little chronic. But it also states that Snoop is also all about keeping “my mind on my money, and my money on my mind.” I expect nothing less from my bank. Without getting lifted to do so, of course.
* “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Hell yeah, they should kiss my butt while I wait to talk to a call center in India. What better way than one of the greatest love songs of all time. Sing it, Gladys.
* “Pennies from Heaven” by Frank Sinatra. Sure it’s a little “on the nose,” but when you have a hundred bucks in a savings account collecting .05% interest, it’s fitting, no?
* “Informer” by 12 Inches of Snow. Don’t know why, really. It just sorta popped into my head. Plus, it has that line about “lick your boom boom down.” That always makes me giggle. Silly white man doing Rastafarian rap.
* “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. Once you hit the five-minute waiting period, they should throw this one to you. It’s just uplifting. A dare-to-be-great kinda song. Another option would be “Never Surrender” by Corey Hart. When I call Dell next time, I demand to hear both of those.

I’m sure there are others… feel free to submit your own. Operators are standing by.

Categories: Music
  1. Lil-Bit
    February 13, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    You know, I’ve been waiting since the mid-eighties for someone to ask me this question. I had the unfortunate circumstance of turning on the radio in 1985 at the tender age of 15 and caught Heart’s “How do I Get you Alone” mid-song. I thought it was a bank commerical. “How do I Get You a Loan? A Loan! A Loan!”

    6.75% financing upon approval of credit.

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