Song abuse

February 4, 2007

Don't you just dispise it when advertising companies take your favourite songs and use them to make their products stick in your mind? Message to them: I'm not going to buy your products if you ruin my favourite songs.

Pink Floyd's brilliant Great Gig in the Sky forever reminds me of Nurofen. The Velvet Underground's Venus In Furs makes me avoid Dunlop tyres, while I'm Sticking With You keeps me away from Hyundai (amongst other reasons, obviously).

It's not just commercials. TV channels keep advertising their own programmes with inappropriate songs too. The beeb was using Sia's amazing Breathe Me for something today and Channel Five were abusing Sufjan Stevens' Chicago recently.

Stop it. It's not big and it's not clever.

(Note on the links: Most of the videos linked above are the audio recording I'm talking about, but someone else's visuals. Minimise them for maximum effect. Except Sia. That's the original video, and well worth leaving on screen while the song plays)


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  1. Anonymous says:
    February 4, 2007 @ 22:27 — Reply

    > Stop it. It's not big and it's not clever.

    Not clever, but somtimes cunning a little bit sneaky. By connecting their ads with catchy pop melodies they get their "jingle" played every day on the radio, reminding the listener of their product. So every time you overhear Girls Aloud singing "Love Machine" you get an irresistable urge to buy a half-price lawnmower.

  2. CMU says:
    February 5, 2007 @ 04:55 — Reply

    I don't care much if they wreck Girls Aloud songs. That's a small price to pay if they steer clear of decent stuff with actual artistic merit.

  3. Rockvole says:
    February 5, 2007 @ 13:58 — Reply

    I wonder if there is some opposite effect to this where when a song gets associated with something popular they stop playing it on the radio? Like the top gear theme tune, I never heard it on the radio ever in the UK and assumed it was made for top gear. Turns out over in north america they play "Jessica" quite a bit on the radio and top gear is only shown on unheard of british telly channels.

  4. Ciz says:
    February 5, 2007 @ 17:02 — Reply

    We get Top Gear in OzLand, in fact it was on telly last night. The radio stations never play "Jessica" either, only Kylie or INXS, 24 hours a day, every day.

    You rarely hear the F1 theme tune, Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", on the Radio either, even on Radio 2. Which is a shame.

  5. CMU says:
    February 5, 2007 @ 17:39 — Reply

    See this is exactly what I'm talking about! The Chain is the fulcrum of the semi-concept album Rumours, and is all about the internal stress in the band caused by them all sleeping with each other's partners (who are also band members).

    No-one hears the rest of the album though, or even the full song, just the solo in the middle. The artistic value of the track is diminished because it is so strongly associated with F1.


  6. Ciz says:
    February 6, 2007 @ 03:01 — Reply

    It's the same story with anthropomorphic amphibian, Crazy Frog. People only ever hear the popularised "bedarbedarbedarbedarbedar brrimm" chorus. The rest of the song's lyrics, like the unforgettably emotive "bedom bohm bom", and the climactic "WHEEEEEEEEEE!" finale are never given the exposure they deserve. Other forgetten album classics such as "Who Let the Frog Out" or "Crazy Frog In The House", remain forgotten treasures.

  7. Tenacious P says:
    February 8, 2007 @ 14:53 — Reply

    I don't suppose you're particularly a fan of the artist Moby (his genre being techno and all) but his album Play which was multi-platinum and quadruple molybedenum had every single track on it licenced out to adverts and products, all of which I can't remember except BP.

    Meing quite fantastically rich already (apparently techno pays quite well) he gave all the money to environmental concerns like Greenpeace.

    So it's okay to sell out if you're already rich. Or have music only a select few listen to.

    PS. The Crazy Frog's version of Unchained Melody is pretty emtinve.

  8. CMU says:
    February 8, 2007 @ 15:30 — Reply

    I'm not averse to the artists making a buck or two by selling out to the advertisments. It's the fact that they will use songs that have their own life and meaning, not just for the artists but for the people who listen to it and love it. For the people already exposed to the song it may envoke deep emotions when heard, and that is belittled by it's use in adverts. People never exposed to the song in the first place however miss out on the full experience of it, and just think it's something to make them think of a particular brand of drink etc.

  9. Ciz says:
    February 8, 2007 @ 21:53 — Reply

    With all that money, Greenpeace should've been able to afford a decent Philippine coastal map and avoid destroying a World Heritage coral reef. Vandals.

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