I guess it's compay Friday. "5" blogger and frequent Sound Taste commenter Kiko Jones has a barbed, thought-provoking response to my little Joe Strummer gush last week.
He points to how "The Clash’s music [has been] knowingly and wilfully defanged by their use in shilling jeans and luxury cars (!) in recent years." The latest of the offenses is the use of "Pressure Drop" in a Nissan ad (itself a Toots & Maytal cover). At first I didn't quite place the piece, since they only loop the guitar part and a bit of the hummed chorus. When I finally figured it out, a part of me died just a little. The worst hit of course, was the first one, hearing the dangerous guitar of "London Calling" on a Jaguar ad.
Not that I'm categorically against the use of cool songs in ads. I too have gone off to find tunes after hearing them in an ad (or, egads, a TV show). But it's when the song so obviously, um, clashes, with the product that I feel a little nauseous.
Rob Walker had a real interesting piece a few years back on how subversive music gets in ads. In short, the ad companies cherry-pick song parts, most people don't pay attention to lyrics beyond the chorus, and the bands signed off on it anyway. Sigh. I just change the channel.
Kiko also mentions Fender's $900 Joe Strummer Telecaster, a replica of Joe's trusty ’66 model. I'm not a guitar geek, but I always wonder -- what is it people think they're buying when they drop $2,600 on a replica Van Halen "Frankenstrat"? I think this is the textbook definition of fetishism, whether you're talking anthropology, sexual psychology or Marxism. But what do I know? I'm just a girl.