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There’s Music in the Air, Whether You Want It or Not

Do you like music? Let's hope so, if you plan to visit America. Everywhere you go, you'll hear somebody else's choice in music.

Right off the plane, you get the airport's selection, say from Abba:

"You are the Dancing Queen, young and sweet . . ."

Then it's into the rental-car company's van, which pipes in Dionne Warwick's musical message:

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love . . ."

Out of the van and into the rental-car office, where the Shirelles greet you:

"Tonight you're mine, completely . . ."

To your vehicle -- and some peace and quiet. But don't roll down the window in traffic, because the guy next to you did, too, with thumping bass that makes his car pulsate:

"Come on, come on now. Big Mac attack . . ."

Mercifully, you reach your hotel lobby, only to hear Mantovani's plucky rendition of "Sunrise, Sunset."

In the gift shop, more tunes! This time, perhaps, it's the Four Tops:

"Sugar pie, honey bunch! . . ."

Up the elevator, accompanied by Frank Sinatra:

"The summer wind came blowin' in . . . "

Down the hall, where "Sunrise, Sunset" still burbles along on the overhead speakers.

Aah! Your room at last: Tranquility before getting away to dinner at a place that thinks the Supremes would go nicely with your salad:

"Stop, in the name of love! . . ."

Back to your room, where the housekeeper has thoughtfully set the radio for you! "Lara's Theme" from "Dr. Zhivago" is zinging along merrily.

Psychologists call this musical barrage "audio architecture," designed to put you in the mood to buy more and eat a lot. You may call it "noise pollution." Just imagine what it does to salespeople who have to listen to Britney Spears all day long!