Today for our TunesDay song, let’s consider an entire genre of them. The unfortunate thing is that no two people would agree as to which songs qualify for this classification so I’m going to talk about one which does for me. You can take it from there with a song of your own choosing.
I was driving back from a meeting yesterday afternoon when Tom Waits‘ Jersey Girl came on. Of course, it was the live version by The Boss which I’ve loved from the moment I saw it live in 1981 as Bruce opened the new arena in the Meadowlands. Danny Federici‘s organ sounds like the calliope on the boardwalk – the carnival referred to in the lyrics – and the backing vocals sound like a great doo-wop group singing on some corner as their sound drifts up into the night air. The song gives me goosebumps every single time I hear it – every hair on my arm stands up. It’s a strange and wonderful physical reaction brought on by the power of the music. Which is, of course, the business point.
We should all be trying to achieve that reaction in what we do. In many ways, goosebumps – piloerection for you scientific types – is a reflex left over from our animal pasts. It’s something that happens in response to strong emotions such as those music inspires that touch us deeply. It’s an obvious goal for any of the arts – film, culinary, or otherwise – but why not, say, industrial design? I imagine some people had that response the first time they handed the first iPhone or saw a high-def plasma TV for the first time.
Maybe shoes move you. Maybe it’s a brilliantly written analysis of last month’s sales. Whatever we produce, I think I’m putting the goosebump standard up there with the Dylan standard I use when discussing musical acts (will my grandchildren listen to and discuss this artist and if not, are they really worth the time?). Sure it’s a lofty goal – but why not set the bar high?
Touching people’s emotions in ways of which they’re maybe not even conscious is a guarantee to success in business and life. How are you going to do that today?