Friday Music — Commercial Edition

Hey there, Hi there, Ho there, folks.

This week, I’m doing one of those rarest of entries, a themed Friday Music.

WIth the sucktastic crapfest that is commercial radio, I pretty much find new music now by three methods: music blogs, college and internet radio, and television commercials. Over the past decade or so, ad agencies have gotten pretty forward-thinking in their use of music, and it’s now a regular occurance for me to say “what’s that song? I have to find it,” after a particularly good commercial. Thanks to the magic of Teh Intarwebs, searching for the info is pretty easy.

So, here are some tunes from current commercials that I like quite a bit:

Nike’s latest ad campaign poses an interesting irony. They’ve used a track by alternative hip-hop artist Saul Williams (who works with music production by Trent Reznor). Very cool. However, the song, playing over shots of almost exclusively African-American athletes is a song which just happens to be about a demand for the paying of Reparations to the African American community. (Of course, the song only uses the first verse, which makes it less obvious). Ranks right up there with using a song about heroin addiction as an ad for a cruise line (Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.”) Anyway– regardless of clueless (or intentional?) ad men, the song is AMAZING: Saul Williams – “List of Demands (Reparations).”

Korbel’s popping cork is backed by a track from a group I’ve featured before, Bitter:Sweet. This thing is brassy, Bondian trip-hop at its best. Love. Bitter:Sweet – “Mating Game.”

The Dentyne Ice commercial which features a CGI princess kissing a CGI dolphin and other retch-inducing images which have sod-all to do with gum…also happens to feature perhaps the strongest ear-worm on this list. Tracking down this song (which I *had* to do) is what led to this entire theme week. The group is a UK band, and this track is from their debut album. Ben’s Brother – “Stuttering (Kiss Me Again).”

JC Penny has a new ad campaign which uses a wistful, blue-grassy song which I really responded to — and I was pleased to discover that it’s a track from the new Robert Plant / Allison Kraus duet album. I love the vocal blend on this. Robert Plant and Allison Kraus – “Killing The Blues.”

In the same almost-country vein, an insurance company (Liberty Mutual) uses this song. Although I’m still not seeing the connection to their pitch, apparently all of their ads will be using this band’s music, which means that I’ll get to hear more, which is a good thing. Hem – “The Part Where You Let Go.”

Evil Telecom Assholes AT&T have a “heartwarming” ad about a dad on a business trip with a stuffed monkey. The song, however, is a brilliant bit of 30s-esque ukelele-strumming Americana. Amos Lee – “Sweet Pea.”

Not a new song, but a good one, used in the new M&M ads. I never expected to hear one of my favorite, but waaaay obscure (at least in the US) bands from the 80s in a commercial: The The – “This is the Day.”

Lastly, one of ‘s favorites, the ad focusing on the existential angst of not remembering which side of your Kia Spectra has the gas tank, accompanied by this bouncy lament: Joe Purdy – “Can’t Get It Right.”

There you go.

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