As you will gather from reading this blog, I’m a great fan of classic rock music, and nothing would give me more aural pleasure on walking into a pub than hearing Brad Delp wailing “I see my Marianne walking away”.
However, I recognise that what is music to one person’s ears may be an unholy racket to someone else, which is why in general I prefer pubs without piped music.
If there is to be music, though, the pub should at least make some effort to tailor it to the tastes of the customers. I’ve noticed a growing number of examples of pubs playing modern hip-hop/R&B music to a clientele whose average age must be well north of fifty, if not sixty. A point I’ve made in the past is that, all too often, music in pubs is played for the benefit of the bar staff, not the customers.
I fully accept that one generation may not share the previous one’s musical tastes. If that style of music floats your boat, fair enough, but it is clearly inappropriate for the more mature clientele that is typical of so many pubs. I find the widespread use of artificial-sounding “treated” vocals particularly grating.
If you have to have background noise, then either Radio 2 or an anodyne music station such as Smooth Radio is likely to cause the least annoyance. Anything, of whatever style, that is too intense doesn’t suit the generality of pubs.
There’s also plenty of music being made today in other styles. I remember a few years ago being in a pub in Hastings which was playing some cheerful, jangly indie-pop. I asked the barmaid who it was and was told that it was The Kooks. Not really my cup of tea, but to my ears much preferable to hip-hop. And also quite local.
Also see The Ultimate Curmudgeonly Jukebox from 2010. “I make no apology for liking Magnum, and for liking Sam Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter.” Talking of which...