Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters

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Advertising co-opts your soul.

One of the things I've been doing with myself recently has been trying to fill in my music collection with stuff I've missed over the years, mainstream and slightly less so (I can't get into pretentious super-indie stuff because most of it is below everyone's radar due to suckage. When music writers overwhelmingly push a small band like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah I sometimes check it out and often I like it, but I can't be bothered digging through tons of sludge to get to the gems.) I've purchased odd combinations of CDs (Give me some Paul Simon and throw in that cheap Eminem Greatest Hits disc while you're at it) and mixed it up some, but nothing really made me sit up and take notice until my Nick Drake CD arrived. Now Drake is an artist whose work I've been meaning to get into for awhile, but I've avoided it because his music is somewhat challenging and depressing and he was a brilliant artist who flamed out and died at 26 (Some say suicide, the alternative story being that he just accidently gobbled too many antidepressants. Neither of those options screams 'happy ending.')

Drake's CD came with one of those stickers that advertises what songs are on the disc, for people too lazy to flip the CD over and read the track list on the back (these people probably ought not to be buying a Nick Drake CD anyway. They probably to be heading over to the N*Sync section of the record store to browse classics from the Spice Girls and 98 Degrees) I glanced over the sticker as I pulled the cellophane from the case, and nearly dropped it in horror. Right there in big black writing on a yellow background was an advertisement that the disc I was holding contained the song "Pink Moon," as seen on the Volkswagon commercial. Now it's insulting enough to be told that the CD you are holding, entitled Pink Moon, contains the song Pink Moon, but for it to be advertised as "As seen in the Volkswagon commercial?"

It's not just that it's a crass appeal to the type of people whose taste in music is decided by movie soundtracks and television shows (as featured on "The OC"). It's not just that it's a crassly commercial move to label an album with a reminder of your "favorite Volkswagen spot." It's that this particular album was written by a man so depressed he couldn't walk at times and whose music was totally misused in the commercial. It goes beyond disrespect. They didn't even try to understand what it was they were selling, just how they could sell it. It's the final reduction of art to nothing more than a tool of commerce.

Somewhere there's an executive out there who said to himself "Hey, people love Pink Moon in that new VW commercial, let's get that on the CD case!" I hope never to meet that man.
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