CARELESS: “1. Taking insufficient care; negligent: a careless housekeeper; careless proofreading; 2. Marked by or resulting from lack of forethought or thoroughness: a careless mistake3. Showing a lack of consideration: a careless remark4. Unconcerned or indifferent; heedless: careless of the consequences.” — American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Searching for stock music is agony enough. Getting the right mood, tempo, breaks and length is like lining up stars — an Olympic task if you’re not God. But describing music must be an even more daunting chore. One can’t use keywords such as “businessman,” “beach” and “yoga” like you can to describe stock photography. So writers for stock music libraries must get creative:

A bit wild, careless, spiteful and with a little bit of blues-rock feeling as well.

The supremely refreshing and relaxing sound of the stream is only accompanied by occasional distant birds, singing carelessly and taking absolutely no notice of you.

Careless, feelgood music.

Ooh! Cue vibraslap. Careless is not the same as carefree. Careless means negligent, sloppy — not something you want in music unless it’s your kid’s elementary school orchestra. Do not confuse it with happy-go-lucky or sans souci.

But wait! you say. Look at the fifth and six definitions in AHD4:

5. Unstudied or effortless: danced with careless grace; 6. Exhibiting a disposition that is free from cares; cheerful: a careless grin; a careless wave of the hand.

Aha! Lexicide loses again! Well, I give you that definition 6 seems to cross over into carefree territory. But I did a news search and found only correct uses across the board. So if you want to tell your clients you take a careless approach to account management, go ahead and be careless. Just don’t come running to me when you misplace those purchase orders.

— Otto E. Mezzo

Reference withheld to protect my stock music supplier from ridicule.