Music for TV Dinners is a compilation of music composed by artists working for KPM, a British firm that developed a niche for providing music scores for commercial and industrial films during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
“These sixteen production library compositions, used variously in educational shorts, commercials, television shows and feature films, constitute some of the most invisible, yet best remembered, musical melodies in American culture. Even stranger is that most of this music was produced by the British KPM company. Further examples (including EMI and Pye’s contributions to the canon) can be found on UK anthologies such as “The Sound Gallery” and “The Sound Spectrum.” The collected composers and arrangers construct brilliantly memorable productions whose purpose is to serve as musical beds beneath narration or to signal mood and plot shifts in films and television programs.
Though not designed as firmly for the background as true Muzak [tm], there is still an unnerving contextual shift in compiling these tracks for foreground listening. Though originally used in more subliminal contexts, these tunes have been drawn on in recent years as a simple way to evoke nostalgic moods, with or without irony in mind. In addition to appearances on boomer throwbacks like Nick at Night and Ren & Stimpy, these titles also appear in films like “The Hudsucker Proxy” and “Natural Born Killers.” The most recognizable tune (at least, for 1960’s television viewers) will be Wilfred Burns’ “Stop Gap,” which served as the theme to “Truth or Consequences.” You can’t help but feel that Bob Barker will step out in front of the curtain at any moment.
As calculated as this music may be, its composition, arrangement and performance hold tremendous charms. This is more mood music than easy listening, in that its purpose is to attract your attention and shape your experience, rather than provide any sort of sedation. Many of the musical cues will haunt you with inscrutably faint memories of products like Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion and Midol. This is an excellent volume for listening or for adding unique musical cues to your home video.”
“For, ahem, more mature listeners such as myself, the tunes will absolutely remind you of your childhood shopping trips to Sears/JC Penneys to buy school clothes, and of the game shows on the old black-and-white teevee. The tunes are perfect for vacuuming/ironing/washing dishes to.”
“Better Title: Music For Happy Shoppers!”
“Wrap my World in Foil and Heat It Up”
“Yeah, Baby, Yeah!”