Hold please

I was on hold. I’d been waiting for a while, but was kept company by a selection of songs by New Zealand artists. First there was Dave Dobbyn’s “Slice of Heaven”, then Bic Runga’s “Sway”, the Exponent’s domestic violence classic “Victoria”, then Crowded House’s “Weather With You”.

It was then it dawned on me. This wasn’t just any old selection of New Zealand music. This was the first “Nature’s Best” CD – the 2002 two-disc compilation of classic Kiwi tunes – being played on random.

In order to make the wait a little less tedious, I went to Wikipedia, pasted the track list into a document and was going through it, ticking off the songs as they played. As the tracks were being played in a random order, it was a special surprise as to what would come up next. Would I be treated to “She Speeds”? How about some Chills? Or maybe Darcy Clay’s “Jesus, I Was Evil.”

Sadly the next couple of tunes were “Whaling” and a bit of “April Sun in Cuba” before my call was finally answered.

I’ve been put on hold to “Nature’s Best” at many New Zealand government departments and corporations. I guess it’s an easy, relatively inoffensive choice for hold music that lets the company feel good about “supporting New Zealand music”.

It could be worse – last week I found myself trying not to hang up while some grunt-infested Nickleback song played. The trouble with “Nature’s Best” is that there’s no music on it from this decade. It’s all neo golden oldies, and it’s about time that the corporations and government departments of Aotearoa start thinking about supporting contemporary New Zealand music (the “More Nature” compilation covers music from 2000 to 2005) instead of mindlessly defaulting to “Nature’s Best” as their hold music. Otherwise that Nickleback’s going to start sounding really good.