Going Commercial

March 20, 2008 at 11:54 pm 1 comment

“Can’t Get it Right Today,” Joe Purdy

Is it just me, or are the songs on commercials getting a lot cooler? I don’t remember a time in the past when so many commercials would leave me thinking about the song that was playing in the background. Sure, there’s nothing too radical to be found in television ads. They do tend to be on the cutesy side, but there are lots of good indie songs lurking in TV ads these days.

Luckily, when I hear a cool new song in a commercial, and I simply must know what it is, the answer is never more than a Google search away. Thanks to Old Navy, I love Ingrid Michaelson’s The Way I Am. Yes, I’m satisfied with my current insurance company, thank you, but I did appreciate finding Hem’s Half Acre in a Liberty Mutual spot. I also like Landon Pigg’s Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop, which is playing behind a DeBeers commercial. Mind you, actually watching this or any diamond commercial makes me want to vomit (somehow the simple arithmetic of three months salary plus big shiny rock equals everlasting love eludes me, go figure.) But still, if you close your eyes while the ad is on, the song is nice.

Sometimes a commercial features a song I already know, but that lots of people don’t. I’m always glad the band is getting exposure and the cash they need to keep doing their thing. So what if they’ve gone commercial? They’re getting paid and people are hearing their music. This is what I thought when I heard Kings of Leon’s Red Morning Light on a Ford commercial. Or when I saw Iron & Wine’s Such Great Heights hawking M&Ms. Ditto on Ambulance Ltd’s “Anecdote” in a Sprint ad. Love that song.

When I heard Of Montreal’s Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games on an Outback steakhouse commercial, I cringed. They changed the lyrics from “let’s pretend we don’t exist” to “let’s go Outback tonight.” Yikes. Maybe it’s the altered lyrics that rubbed me the wrong way (or the stark contrast between the old and the new lyrics: from existentialism to Bloomin’ Onions!)

Another downside is that sometimes a commercial gets played so much that it takes your newfound love of the song and beats it out of you. This is what happened to me with Feist’s 1234, and I’m afraid that Yael Naim’s New Soul will be next. Still, after many years of ignoring commercials completely, this new crop of ads have me paying attention again. They found my weak spot– good music. The evil geniuses on Madison Avenue strike again.

“Either Way,” Wilco

Entry filed under: Music. Tags: , .

All Aprons, All the Time Peep Show

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March 2008

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