Top Commercial Songs (take two)
This past summer I wrote about the top commercial songs. I liked that I could use advertisements to find new bands. And while I am still discovering artists this way, I’ve found recent commercials to be using bands I already know and love. This post is an amalgamation of both. You can stream most of the tracks at the end of the post.
J Ralph – One Million Miles Away – Volkswagen
Many people will trace the phenomenon of music being the signature of the commercial to Volkswagen’s 2000 Cabrio ad featuring Pink Moon by Nick Drake. I prefer this one. The 2001 spot features James Spader doppelganger Kevin Rahm (who currently resides on Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane) in a race against time.
Forever Thursday – How Can It Be – JC Penney
The transitions are visually a little awkward, but I see what they were working towards. And I totally dig the music. This commercial is several years old already, I’m surprised I haven’t heard more from this band.
The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build A Home – Chivas & Schweppes
I really really love the Chivas commercial. Everything about it, including appropriate voiceover. But when I was looking for it online, I came across another gem, using the same song, but for Schweppes. It is visually stunning. Here is that one, too.
Basia Bulat – Before I Knew – Subaru
Not much to say about this one, except that it was really hard to find.
Dawn Landes – Straight Lines – Chrysler
I totally love this song, which I had never heard before this commercial. I never remember what’s it’s for, or even that it’s a car commercial to begin with, so it might not be a total win for Chrysler, but oh well for them.
Annie Little – Fly Me Away – Kindle
While I can’t see myself ever owning one of these devices, I am a sucker for stop motion.
Matt & Kim – Daylight – Bacardi
I realllllly wanted to hate this commercial. And yet, I friggin love it. Who knew Matt & Kim could span eras so seamlessly? I think the flappers are my favorite. No, maybe the ballroom. Actually, it’s the poodle skirts. Damn. I just love the whole thing.
Langhorne Slim – Worries – Travelers Insurance
There is a disconnect here for me, in that the commercial is filled with whimsy, and whimsy is one thing I do not associate with Langhorne Slim. Almost as though the ad agency googled lyrics for “worries” and went with the result that had the right tempo. But it’s cute, I guess, if I didn’t have prior knowledge of the musician.
Marc Robillard – So Much More – Sun Chips
I don’t think this was originally a Super Bowl commercial, but that remains the first and only time I’ve seen it. I was just as intrigued by the message and thought behind the ad as I was the music. In the words of Sun Chips: “We created this time lapse video from photos taken every 15 minutes as the bag was decomposing over 14 weeks in a hot, active compost just like one you could use at home. So you eat the chips. The earth eats the bag. And we all live in a cleaner world.” I hate Sun Chips, but may just start eating them because of this spot. Success.
Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks – Volkswagen
Some of the best commercials are ones where you don’t even notice that a band you love is the background music, because it’s truly merely a supporting player. This Volkswagen spot was one of my favorites in this year’s Super Bowl. There were so many little interactions that made me smile, the least of which being the “Ha nothing, how you did that?!?” ending.
The Arcade Fire – Wake Up – NFL
I wanted to hate this commercial. After hearing The Arcade Fire over and over again in the commercial for Where The Wild Things Are, I was a little burnt out. But this Super Bowl spot is perfectly edited, from the countdown intro to the jumps between fans. I’m even willing to let it slide that they didn’t have Patriots fans, that’s how much I couldn’t hate it.
Sia – Breathe Me – Coke
I first saw this commercial during the Olympics opening ceremonies. It makes me a little teary-eyed, especially watching the Special Olympians receive their medals. However, knowing this song beforehand, I can’t fully commit to loving this commercial. I find it odd that an ad with such an uplifting message has song with such sad and almost dark lyrics.
The Hours – Ali In The Jungle – Nike
This commercial also played during Olympics opening ceremonies. I didn’t know the song or really the band, so I’m glad I remembered to search for it. The song is great, and I highly recommend looking into their other stuff. The commercial itself is a roll call of athletes both famous and not, and again, perfectly edited – Everybody gets knocked down, how quick are you going to get up? As for why I’m so drawn to this commercial, Nike says it best themselves: “…the road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure.”
The xx – Intro – AT&T
This one is titled “Record.” It took me typing that just now to understand the dual meaning. Maybe I’m just too visual. But kudos to Apolo Ohno on becoming the most decorated US Winter Olympian. The song is almost ruined by the prolonged voiceover at the end, but I like the band enough to throw it in here.
Lou Reed – Perfect Day (AT&T)
While searching for the Apolo Ohno commercial, I came across this one, which I almost forgot about. This may because I was totally thrown off that they used a song, highly recognizable from Trainspotting, with allusions to heroin. But to each his own, right?