Since forever, I’ve fantasized about running a men’s shop. I’ve also fantasized about running a barbershop. The ultimate mind-blow would be running a men’s shop that had a barber shop inside it.
A crucial component to the retail space experience is music. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been having a blast building a huge playlist of songs I would have playing in my fantasy men’s shop/barbershop. It’s called The Men’s Shop.
As an avid fan of music from a range of genres, my taste is eclectic to say the least. Before I digitized my collection of over 1,000 CDs years ago, I had them all alphabetized on shelves. When people asked me what kind of music I liked, I’d tell them that Barry Manilow was on the shelf between Madonna and Marilyn Manson. I’m all over the place.
A well-rounded musical appreciation is important. How dull would it be to just like (or know) one kind of music. I fear a lot of kids today have little appreciation of the things that came before their time and fall outside their age group’s purview. For myself, I was always blessed with a hunger, curiosity and appreciation of many things that came long before me, from places that were nowhere near a Top-40 list. When I hear something that catches my ear, I’ll obsess until I find it. (These days, I’m grateful for the Shazam app.)
The Men’s Shop playlist is a growing personal crosscut of so many styles, periods and sounds that shaped my life and my appreciation of music through my formative years. The range of genres is broad, including jazz, big band, rock, 80s alternative, R&B/soul, early hip-hop, classical and even a few selections from Broadway musicals. Some tracks would be identifiable favorites to some, while others will be more esoteric and unexpected. For the most part, I’ve chosen songs that have been around long enough to stand the test of time, which means there are very few current hits or so-called “instant classics” from recent years. With a few exceptions, songs here had to earn their place over time. There’s something here for every generation.
I’m still adding to this as I get time and inspiration here and there, and I don’t suppose it will ever be done. So subscribe, shuffle and enjoy. I’ll always be adding new surprises. And if you own a men’s shop or a barbershop, let it rip.
Cover photo by Rob Mandolene.