I don’t watch a lot of commercials, since almost everything I watch (aside from sports) is from my DVR, but even with the small amount of commercial breaks I tolerate, I’ve noticed that a lot of the music I listen to has been showing up in advertisements. Some music snobs look at the increased presence of indie rock in commercials with disdain, rejecting artists that choose to allow their music to be used in ads as sell outs. To those people, I can only say: grow up.
We live in an age where many music fans get their music without paying for it, where radio playlists have been reduced to about 25 songs a day, and the channels on television that used to play music videos now play reality television instead. So if a band feels the need to get a guaranteed pay day for their efforts, while taking a shot at exposing their music to a wider audience, who are we to begrudge them (of course, there are some that can’t enjoy any music that is exposed to wider audiences, and to them I repeat: grow up).
So inspired, I decided to make a playlist of songs in my collection that have appeared of late in commercials. I call this mix “Commercial Songs that Aren’t Necessarily Commercial”. Click on the link to see the full track list, along with clips of the commercials in which they appear.
1. Pink Moon – Nick Drake
2. The Funeral – Band of Horses
3. Sleeping Lessons – The Shins
4. 1234 – Feist
5. For the Actor – Mates of State
6. Paper Planes – M.I.A.
7. Music is My Hot Hot Sex – CSS
8. Shut Up and Let Me Go – The Ting Tings
9. North American Scum – LCD Soundsystem
10. Flathead – The Fratellis
11. Objects of My Affection – Peter Bjorn and John
12. Mr. November – The National
13. Picture Book – The Kinks
14. Gravity Rides Everything – Modest Mouse
15. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
16. Viva la Vida – Coldplay
17. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song – The Flaming Lips
18. The Sun is Out – The Apples in Stereo
Okay… I’ll admit The Flaming Lips one is a bit embarrassing (Kraft? Really?), and we’re all sick of the UPS ads, but the rest are solid uses of music in decently crafted advertisements. I’d say the Pink Moon Volkswagon ad is the best in terms of perfectly melding the mood of the song with the mood of the commercial. I’m also not too proud to say that I was introduced to some of these songs because of these commercials, so mission accomplished (well, at least for the ones I actually spent money on to listen to, that is).
Also, this list is by no means definitive. I left some songs out in order for the playlist to fit onto one CD (which I have burned to give to a friend, which was the other impetus for this list). I already have some songs waiting for a sequel playlist that should probably be ready in another two Apple product launches.
You can listen to most of the songs on this playlist over on last.fm here: http://www.last.fm/user/andythesaint/library/playlists/4383_commercial_songs_that_aren%2527t_necessarily_commercial