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Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Kommercial Kinks

This just makes me anxious and upset. I adore the Kinks. Ray Davies and the rest of the band can do what they want, and they obviously have the right to some financial security after what they contributed to rock and roll (especially Ray, who after getting shot stopping a mugging, certainly deserves a pass) but man do I wish they didn't want to sell their music to TV commericals.

The Doors may suck, oh God how they may suck, but I have to credit Doors drummer John Densmore for being so steadfast in his refusal to sell out. Whatever cash the Kinks are getting for selling their music to ads, it doesn't make up for how much their tunes are devalued in the process. The companies who co-opt these memories, converting pop art into commerce, invariably justify the practice by saying that their ad teams are sincere fans, that it's cool for a song like "Picture Book" to finally find an audience 35 years after being unjustly neglected. Yes and no (except for the yes part.) The Hewlett-Packard commercial rendered "Picture Book" meaningless (Davies' thoughts on photography circa 1968 were pretty clear—see "People Take Pictures Of Each Other" from the same album as the similarly depressing "Picture Book") The bubbly pop music bed is an ironic counterpoint to the bleak central lyric, "Picture book/when you were just a baby/those days when you were happy/a long time ago." In the commercial it's flattened out into a mindless pitch to buy a computer printer.
"The song captured the overall spirit of the spot," says Eric Korte, VP/music director of Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.
Yes, and "Born in the USA" is the perfect GOP campaign song. Damn it, Ray. You've sold the right for some asshole ad fuck at Saatchi & Saatchi to tell the world what your song is about.

I agree, but do you really need to be a potty mouth? I have a bar of soap with your name on it.
Yeah, I swear a lot, don't tell my mom.
Don't worry, dear, I already know.
You know, I know you know. But we both knew that.

b ythe way, thank you for doing my laundry all those years.
You are very welcome. Just don't make me come down there and toss you into the Maytag when it's on spin cycle.
For some reason the kinks thing doesn't bother me as much - maybe it's because they're alive and I like them so I like to see them get paid.

It bums me out even more when it's hendrix or even worse, bolan. There's a truly execrable add campaign for JC Penney's right now that features a number of versions of "get it on (bang a gong)" that is driving me crazy. Everything about it sucks and bolan isn't even alive to get any money from it. Revenge of Rolan Bolan?

Anyhow, to me the worst part of all this pop song recycling is that there are lots of kooky jingles that never get written. I like ad jingles; they are typically kind of insane. Now that every other ad on tv (I counted last night during survivor) has a licensed pop song in it we miss out on a lot of jingles. That's why local ads are the best - they can't afford to pay to license a big name song.

Mossy Nissan!
Mossy Nissan!
Mossy Nissan Moves You!


T. Rex and J.C. Penny. That makes perfect sense.

Yeah, at least a living artist can choose to sell out. Using dead people's work is disgusting.

Speaking of which, have you seen that bizarre political ad for NC Republican Vernon Robinson (the self-proclaimed black Jesse Helms), where he uses the theme and title of staunch liberal Rod Serling's Twilight Zone to decry gays, judges, secularism, fellow black people and basically everything that isn't racist fascism? He also steals a clip from Leave It To Beaver (I can only assume the show's rights-holders would want no part of something so hateful and polarizing).

By the way, awesome scientific method on your ad survey. Not quite as rigorous as when Benjamin Franklin wrapped aluminum foil around his penis to attract lightning, but pretty cool.

Ben Franklin is my hero. I especially love the way he stole his friends' jokes and posted them online as if they were his own.
That was a pretty ruling move on Ben Franklin's part. He's totally the cool ruler with the foil in his manties.

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